The internet can be a toxic pit of despair, featuring people behaving at their worst just because they can. But every now and then, you manage to stumble into a little corner that warms your heart with its genuine kindness — and that’s what the “Need a Dad for a minute?” subreddit feels like.
This community of more than 30,000 members says it’s there for you “when you need understanding, congratulations, praise, or advice from a father figure, but don’t have one IRL able or willing to provide that for you … We support you and love you unconditionally!”
And they really are there for you. Users come to this subreddit when they need a pep talk before a job interview, when they want to share exciting news with someone who cares, when they want someone to express pride in them, when they’re nervous about a first date, or when a DIY project goes astray. Here’s one such post that really stuck with me:
Hey dad, I have been off work for the last few years, all of 2021/2020 because of COVID, and some of 2019 because of my depression. Today I managed to get myself an interview for a concrete laying company, it’s close and pays decently well. At first I was really excited, I have been working hard on my mental health the last few weeks, and have even started to work out again. However as the day went on, my anxiety got worse and worse. What if I can’t do the labour? What if I’m not strong enough? What if the people I work with don’t like me, or I don’t like them? I know I have to believe in myself, and hope for the best, but its been so long… What should I do? And do you have any motivational things to say?
You just want to give this guy a hug and tell him it’ll be ok, right? That’s exactly what three different dads did, providing encouragement and advice. Here’s one of those responses:
Son, you know I’ve been in construction all my life, and I’m proud of you for getting this interview and being willing to tackle this kind of work. It’s not complicated, but it’s hard work. Good physical work in the outdoors that will clear your mind and lift your spirits like nothing else will. You’re not going to be pushing numbers around on spreadsheet and hiding in a bland cubicle hoping your boss doesn’t catch you on your phone. You’ll be doing something real. Something tangible. Every day you’ll get to go home knowing you helped create something solid and significant that will last hundreds of years. You’ll be tired and your muscles will ache and you’ll sleep like a baby. One day your kids will take your grandkids to that site and say “Your grandpa helped build that”, and they’ll be proud.
You won’t be able to do the labour at first. Nobody can. Nobody will care. They don’t expect that. All they expect is that you show up every day with a good attitude, a willingness to try and a willingness to learn. Trust me, if you’ve got that on your side, you’ll already be way above most new people they see. The physical ability will come in time. And you know what? They want you to succeed. They need the help. They want to see new guys hang around and do well. They’ll razz you and mess with you a little bit, but that’s construction work. It’s how you know they like you. In time you’ll do the same with the next new guy.
Now go in there Thursday and be straight with them. You’ll work hard. You’ll be there every day — no matter what. You want to learn, you want to succeed, and you want to move up. They’re not looking for wizards or rocket scientists. They’re looking for people like you, so just go to that interview and let them see who you are. They’ll eat it up.
As a bonus, there’s also a dad in the community (u/everydayanewday) who hosts a “Good morning, kiddo” series in which he chats about the weather, what he’s having for breakfast — and also offers life advice.
The whole vibe is reminiscent of the “Dad, how do I?” guy who went viral on YouTube last year for his videos about DIY projects you wish you could learn from your dad but can’t, for whatever reason. He now has nearly three and a half million subscribers and a published book, proving that there is an abundant need out there for a kind, fatherly figure in our (digital) lives.