9 (Highly Subjective) Skills That Every Man Should Master

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.

There is something inherently valuable about performing tasks for others with excellence, embracing new learning opportunities, and demonstrating your care for those around you through both actions and words. This brief compilation encapsulates elements that I personally consider immensely enriching in my life.

1. Tie a tie

Throughout your life, you will encounter various occasions and situations that require wearing a tie. In order to appropriately honor these occasions, it’s essential to learn the skill of properly tying a tie. Among the different knots, none is as straightforward as the Four-in-hand knot. Put in the effort; your attention to detail will undoubtedly be noticed, allowing you to stand out distinctly.

A tie is no longer a daily uniform requirement, which might explain the situation. However, sadly more often than not, it seems that men do not know how to (or do not bother to) properly tie a tie.

2. Cook a meal

Any meal. It may be the most fundamental instinct we have – to provide and put food on the table for our families. That aside, there are few things as satisfying as presenting a well-cooked meal; and honestly, who here doesn’t and appreciate a well-cooked meal. Find that one meal and perfect it. For me it’s a carbonara.

3. Mix a drink

Many of us appreciate a good drink – especially to cool down with after a hard day’s work. Opening the bar and presenting a guest with opportunities, mixing a certain drink for them – it’s special, it’s personal and something that is appreciated. A little like with a meal, find your drink and perfect it. The opportunities here are vast – Negroni, Martini, Gin and Tonic – you name it – pick yours.

4. Start a fire

Not in the “come on baby light my fire” that The Doors sang about, but a proper bonfire. Maybe it is a fundamental instinct again, something deep down that fire is warm, comfort and food. But whenever there is a fire, we are drawn to it, the best conversations and time spent is around a fire. Friends, family, poison of choice, maybe some music and you have yourself a memorable evening.

5. Write a card

Nothing says “I care” more than a handwritten card. Every handwriting is unique and personal, and the words put down in a card are your thoughts towards the receiver at the exact moment the card is written. It does not have to be a full page – a simple line or two is more than enough.

6. Take pictures

And many of them. Remember, a picture says more than a thousand words. One of the most amazing pass times is to look back at old photos and reminisce on travels and experiences with friends, family, or even personal experiences that you had by yourself – they come to life over and over again in pictures. A picture is a certain moment in time that we are able to freeze, capture and keep, and that’s kind of special.

7. Deliver a toast and/or a speech

You will never regret standing up and delivering a toast or a speech, even if it goes poorly. But you will often regret not having done so – especially at a good friend’s or family member’s wedding, birthday or the like. A little along the line of writing a card, I find delivering a toast one of the most important things a man can do. What is shared is your thoughts and feelings towards a certain someone, and believe me, they will  appreciate your gesture.

8. Spend time by yourself

I bet many of you with families can recognize that most of time it is some sort of compromise. Don’t get me wrong, that is how it should be; however, we also need to take care of ourselves and tend to your own needs and interests – recharge if you will. Going out on your own, completely by yourself can seem intimidating, but I promise you, you will not regret it. Remember the safety instructions in an airplane – take care of yourself or you won’t be able to take care of others. Have that in mind – spend time by yourself and your own thoughts with no one other than you to think about. A drive, a round of golf, a campout – you will return a better you.

9. Listen, be open and ask for help

Because at the end of day, we can’t do everything.

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