Eric Bandholz is the founder of Beardbrand. His newsletter and YouTube channel have been great sources of healthy masculinity. Here is a newsletter he sent out today.



There is this Venn diagram for many men over thirty – one circle is for “friendships where you can be vulnerable.” The other circle is for “friends who live close to you.” Sadly, the circles do not overlap.

Over the years, I have developed many great friendships with incredible men. But as life happens, distance comes between those friendships. Suddenly, you’re back at square one and trying to build another strong relationship. Commonly, those new connections aren’t just right, and you can only keep it to surface-level pleasantries.

I’ve felt alone in this world many times. I needed a friend who could understand my work challenges, my relationship challenges, or my parenting challenges and could discuss them over a beer in person.

I had no release, and it only led to darkness.

Fortunately, right now, I feel I have it as good as it gets in today’s world. No, I can’t walk down a few houses to a good friend, but I have several in Austin. No, I can’t usually be spontaneous, but many are down to grab lunch at a moment’s notice.

I talked to my dad about how hard it is to have friendships as an adult man, and he shared a similar sentiment. I know this happens to men of all generations.


This past week, I went to Olympic National Park to sleep in a cold-ass tent for three nights and test our new deodorant prototype.

This trip is an annual event put on by my good friend, Will Roman of Chisos. It’s approximately 15 like-minded guys from Austin and around the States. I know about half of them, and I get to know the others. We disconnect from technology from families and spend much time sharing our current challenges (and a little bit of roasting each other). Basically, we can let loose, know that we’re in good company who won’t judge, and build stronger relationships.


Step 1: Many months in advance, find three consecutive nights in a beautiful park. We’ve found majestic environments create more intense experiences. It’s also nice to have a bathroom.Step 2: Set the values for the group and start recruiting people. It’s more enticing if you can handle food & water. Include a fee to cover those costs. Plan on a couple of last-minute cancellations.Step 3: Create an online document with trip details, gear needed, contact information, and attendee arrival/departure information.Step 4: Start an email thread for those committed to help start conversations and allow other newbies to get to know others digitally.Step 5: Meet up in nature and enjoy the time together. Have one or two hikes planned, and leave the schedule mostly open and flexible.Step 6: Repeat next year.


People don’t know if you’re looking for this type of experience. Sometimes, you need to take a risk and be the person to create the world you want to be part of. Most people will say “no,” but if you can get a few core people on board, you can leverage their friendships and network.

Be sure to set expectations. You can make the event whatever you want—friend roasting, spirituality, yoga, fitness, beer drinking, fishing, etc. (or maybe all of the above).

What’s important is that you do something like this regularly.

There’s no reason that you tackle the world’s challenges alone. These events will help you close that Venn diagram and can help you make friends who are physically and emotionally close.

Keep on growing!

Eric BandholzFounder, Beardbrand

    23 days ago

    This seems more like a promotion for his trip than anything.

    Look, making friends is easy AF.

    For friendships to form you have to have proximity, a shared experience, and continued interaction.

    In school you had these pretty easily, you were stuck there most of the year and experienced the same things, and you interacted all the time. Eventually you found common ground and boom, friends.

    Hard to do as an adult, but here’s how to do it.

    Get a hobby or an interest, then go to a meet up of that stuff. You like anime? Go to a con. Cars? Car show. Whatever.

    Then everyone there already has a built in ice breaker! Talk to them about that thing you’re all the for! Ask people about themselves, get interested in others! Everyone loves to talk about themselves. You’ll make more friends in five minutes getting interested in other people than you will in five years trying to get someone interested in you.

    If they seem cool by the end of the event, say “hey you seem cool wanna hang out some time?” And exchange contact info and then talk to them once in a while. Then hang out when you can. Introduce them to other friends you have, they will do the same.

    If they suck and are assholes, don’t hang out with them anymore