Based on "Top Gun", the recently released movie "Maverick" reminds us of the importance of acting as someone’s wingman. A more intimate relationship than a best friend, a wingman’s role intertwines total support and trust. The term "wingman" is often employed by branches of the military such as the Navy, Airforce, or military academies; however, if you watch the movie "Wedding Crashers", you’ll hear a more entertaining use of the word to reference men helping their friends get a date. Regardless of context, a dedicated wingman is a loyal confidant who stands by your side providing protective support without expecting anything in return.
Sometimes we can be fooled by people portraying themselves as good friends but wind up displaying negative character attributes, such as toxicity, dependency, controlling behavior, or egotism. Therefore, it’s vital to understand what differentiates a good friend from an incredible wingman. Below, I have assembled a list of four characteristics which a true wingman embodies.
1. Offers encouragement and faith without demands. A true wingman doesn’t demand things from you. Rather, they keep you rooted and encourage you to demand more from yourself. A wingman has full faith in his friend’s abilities.
2. Acts from an altruistic position. A wingman won’t act out of selfishness. Instead, their actions come from a place of love of and appreciation for you. A wingman never uses a situation to advantage them if it isn’t in the best interest of you.
3. Displays loyalty deserving your respect and appreciation. While a wingman expects nothing from you, their actions of loyalty and support galvanize you to support and assist them in their endeavors. They have earned your respect and appreciation.
4. Represents your interests without domineering your life. A wingman is your co-pilot for life, but they never attempt to take control of your life. They have an uncanny understanding of you and know only you can define your interests and needs.
If you’re someone’s wingman or you want to be a better wingman for your friend, it’s important to remember that the two of you have an honor code. That honor code protects more than your friend; it protects your friendship too. When you show up for your friend, be present and look the part. Being respectful and honoring your friend begins with respecting yourself. Talking trash or disrespecting others makes both you and your friend look bad, and that is not part of the wingman’s honor code.