Be That Friend

A friend sent this to me. And because he is, for me, “that friend,” I’m putting it on a blog on which only one other guest has ever posted. It also makes sense since I just wrote about “Real Friends” last week. The “Bearded Brawler,” as he calls himself, takes a look at friendship and brotherhood, two of my most favorite things. Using four characters, he encourages us to seek friendships based on unconditional loyalty.

good will hunting

In today’s modernized society, men are lost trying to figure out how their friendships with other men are supposed to work. Manly relationships aren’t understood by many, because these friendships are not solely based in words said, but rather in deeds done. A man’s best friend may not ever text him, but you can bet he will be next to him when shit hits the fan.  Their friendships are based in a moral code for each other, what is sometimes referred to loosely as the “Bro-code.” I’m going to explain this manly code using characters from movies and literature to show what kind of a friend a man should be for another. Keep in mind, at the end of the day your friends are not those who say happy birthday to you on Facebook, they are the ones standing next to you when you are in need of friend.

Disclaimer: I’m a man. I’m writing this from a man’s point of view. That being said, I am not being sexist in writing this. I am simply trying to help guide men who think are not sure just how they are meant to act with their friends, or who their friends are. I never, nor will I ever understand the relationships women have with each other, which is why I’ve stuck with just writing to and about men. Lastly, even though this is aimed at helping men, it may indeed help women to understand the men that they relationships with.

Doc Holliday, Tombstone: Doc Holliday, sick as a dog, saddles up to face a gunfighter that would test him when he was in perfect health. Why? Because Wyatt Earp is on his way to fight this man, and has no chance. When Turkey Creek Jack Johnson asks him why he’s doing this, Doc answers “Wyatt Earp is my friend.” Turkey responds, “Hell I got lots of friends.” Doc then simply states, “I don’t.” There are two takeaways from this. One, there need not be a long, complicated reason why we do something for our friends, even if it means risking our lives. We can, and should, do it simply because they are our friends. Also, Doc Holliday chose quality over quantity when it came to his friends. It’s better to have one or two really good, trustworthy friends than a hundred shallow friends. Be like Doc.

Chuckie Sullivan, Good Will Hunting: Chuckie would “Take a fucking bat to [Gerald’s] head” if Will asked him to. Be the friend that Will could count on to do that. But there is another aspect of Chuckie that makes him a friend to be like. Chuckie makes two statements in the movie that show how much he cares for Will and that he wants him to succeed. One, “Every day I come by your house and I pick you up. And we go out. We have a few drinks, and a few laughs, and it’s great. But you know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds, from when I pull up to the curb and when I get to your door, ’cause I think, maybe I’ll get up there and I’ll knock on the door and you won’t be there. No goodbye. No see you later. No nothing. You just left. I don’t know much, but I know that.” And the second, “Look, you’re my best friend, so don’t take this the wrong way but, in 20 years if you’re still livin’ here, comin’ over to my house, watchin’ the Patriots games, workin’ construction, I’ll fuckin’ kill ya. That’s not a threat, that’s a fact, I’ll fuckin’ kill ya.” These two quotes show us that Chuckie knows his friend has the talent and skill to make it out of the slums, and that he needs to make it out for all of his friends who aren’t able to. Have the loyalty of Chuckie to take a bat to somebody for your friend, and be the friend who can motivate a friend by recognizing their potential and showing it to them.

James Coughlin, The Town: Ultimately James is not the type of man you want to emulate and some may argue that he ends up not being the kind of friend one would want. But there is one sequence of the movie where his friendship is something we should all strive for. His best friend Doug, whom he did jail time for, simply says to him, “I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it later, and we’re gonna hurt some people.” James’ response? “Whose car are we gonna take?” Be that friend. Be the friend that another friend can come to with any request, and be willing to do anything for your best friends.

Wiglaf, Beowulf: Wiglaf is the definition of loyal. When Beowulf fights the dragon he leaves all his men behind and goes to face the dragon solo. However, Wiglaf follows his king to help him face the beast. Wiglaf puts his life on the line for Beowulf when nobody else will, simply because Beowulf is his king and he is fiercely loyal. Eventually the two are able to slay the dragon, though it burns Wiglaf badly and its poisonous bite turns fatal for Beowulf. Be like Wiglaf. Have his loyalty to your best friend(s).

For a man, actions speak louder than words. The way we function in a friendship is no exception. Best friends never have to tell each other that they are best friends, or even really acknowledge to each other that they are friends. What is unspoken by the lips is clearly broadcast through actions.

– The Bearded Brawler