Five Reasons You Need a Band of Merry Men

I doubt Robin Hood was an introvert, but he did have his band of merry men.I tend to be a lone ranger. Part of it’s my preferred work method; I work best when left to my own devices. Tell me where I’m supposed to go, then let me find my own way there. The other part is that I’m an introvert, and, as an introvert, I protect my space, be it mental, spiritual, emotional, or physical.

The past two years have shown me the dangers found in the lone ranger mentality, both personally and professionally. Journeying alone makes me vulnerable. I make decisions I shouldn’t and probably wouldn’t if I were surrounded with what I like to call “merry men.”

My merry men are found both locally and online, although my local band of men and women often is more intense than my online one. With my local band, we share the highs and lows of our weeks and our lives. We don’t have to be pretty with or for each other. In fact, we prefer ugliness and rawness. We aim to be genuine, both in sharing our needs, hopes, and dreams and in our caring for one another. Our conversations, then, range from the heights of silliness to the depths of discouragement and despair.

As I’ve journeyed with these men and women, I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone needs a band of merry men. Why?

  1. A band of merry men rallies around and behind you when you’re discouraged, sad, depressed, and hopeless.
  2. A band of merry men doesn’t mind that you have silly dreams. They also won’t deflate them. They may, in fact, encourage or enable them.
  3. A band of merry men will tell you when you’re wrong. They help you to maintain perspective. They also will help you to make the right decisions, and they will support you as you choose to pursue the right, albeit harder, choices.
  4. A band of merry men always, always listens first before giving insight into or advice about what you’re enduring.
  5. A band of merry men gives you the opportunity to encourage and empathize with people who are undergoing similar trials.

What do you think? Is a band of merry men important? Why or why not?

Photo: Viola Zuppa (CC BY NC SA 2.0)


  1. Erin, I like the imagery of the Merry Men. Seems to me that social media has been a great way to develop supportive friendships as you describe. I don’t know why. Maybe it peels back the superficial layers? Or maybe it just removes the physical barriers. 
    In any case, the online virtual relationships are real and valued, and deserved to be nurtured.

    • barrettrossie I think social media does have a way of removing barriers. I have found some of my good friends through social media. If I want to get to know someone better, though, I tend to take the conversation off public channels. Maybe that’s how I nurture the relationships. I ask if we can have a Skype chat or speak on the telephone.

  2. I am very similar. I definitely tend to go cowboy and then stay out in the mountains way too long. Isolation can be a poison in its own right, giving a distorted view of reality.  We need other people to keep us sane and in tune with a good perspective.

    • geoffliving Indeed. I probably use this example far too often, but it’s a good one: I became a hermit during my last year of undergrad. I can blame it on working multiple jobs, finishing school, and having friends graduate, but that undercuts my responsibility. That experience is one reason I have a system of checks and balances when it comes to being social and to seeking out the wisdom of others.

  3. The trick is finding the right balance between being on your own and having people to support you. No one gets through it all on their own and that is ok, but I understand the flip side ‘cuz I spend copious amounts of time on my own.

  4. timbo1973 Being self-employed lends itself to a lot (a lot!) of alone time, especially when you’re first starting and it’s just you. I sometimes wonder how extroverts manage all the alone time since they become energized when they’re around other people.
    I, too, have formed some great friendships through social media. I have a few online friends – i.e., we’ve never met in person – who probably know me as well as if not better than my offline ones.

  5. Erin, agreed. 
    Friendships are critical to your safety. We are all social beings and no matter how much time we spend alone we still have the basic need to socialize. I am comfortable by myself  much more so than in groups and when I am I prefer a one on one conversation than a group convo. It’s important to have those allies that you can openly share things with.
    Cheers miss!

  6. I am an extrovert who loves his alone time. I’ve never considered a band of Merry Men, but I have longed for a small band of followers to do my bidding. Naturally, once I had a small band of wood nymphs bringing me pizza and diet dew, I’d want to upgrade. This, ultimately, would lead to world domination and likely depression from all the paperwork that is involved in such an endeavor. So, your idea may be better.
    No man is an island, though he may often be an enclave. (sometimes I write just to make myself chuckle)
    Great post.

    • ExtremelyAvg I believe the “no man is an island” reference is a Donne one. I’d have to confirm, but I’m reluctant to turn to the search engine that shall not be named.
      The enclave made me chuckle, too. 🙂
      I think I’ve been stuck on the concept of “merry” since starting the mutineers. I, of course, made the associative leap to Robin Hood and his merry men.


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