I hear this question come up sometimes when I speak in front of people who are new to the concept of a "men's group."
"Why do I need this? I have a poker group, what's the difference?
Maybe nothing, maybe a lot. It depends on the men’s group and the poker group in question. I’d say two things:
1) If your poker group is serving your need to be around healthy masculinity and helps you to show up as a better man in the lives of your family, friends, and community… then double down.
2) A men’s group brings a focused intention to being better men. Who you choose, how you interact, and the purpose of the meeting all play a big role in how we develop as men. If you’re like me, you want to keep learning and growing. I think a good poker group and a good men’s group could be the same event, could be different groups for different purposes, or could be diametrically opposed – causing a rift in your own identity around healthy manhood.
But assuming both are healthy situations, I equate this difference to having ten minutes with a grandfather and choosing what to do with him. Would you rather have a beer and ask for valuable life wisdom, or would you rather hit the lake for some quiet feel-good fishing? Neither’s wrong and both are valuable. Now I ask you, what would you do if you had 20 minutes?