Some Men Feel Lonely and Need to Foster Friendships
Author: Dr. Julie. Sorenson, DMFT, MA, LPC
Men often suffer in silence
Men do not often discuss loneliness and vulnerability but feel lonely and vulnerable. Men often neglect personal relationships while focusing on their careers and/or families. They may feel like they have things to say but may not feel they relate to other people. Some men find friendships in high school or college that last their lifetime. However, sometimes males struggle to maintain these relationships as they drift from those social circles (Weiss, 2021). Men tend to bond over sports, fishing, competition, and grilling, examples of conversations between men.
However, many men do not share these interests and have difficulty finding a place where they fit in. Many men will rely on their partner to create their social life, which becomes quite noticeable when men find themselves divorced or widowed because they may find themselves more alone.
Ways Men Can Find Ways to Connect
Frequently some men would like to connect with others more, but they need to figure out where to look or how to start conversations to build more than just acquaintances. Also, some men did not grow up with a father figure and would have liked to have a mentor to guide them through life; it seems more difficult for men to openly admit they are looking for support, a mentor, or a friend.
How can a man find a mentor or friend to share their needs or feelings with? There are many ways in which one could find a mentor or friend. If you attend church, there are groups you could join. Watch the congregation to see if there is someone that you look up to or feel like you could see yourself palling around with and reach out. Reaching out may feel scary, especially if you fear rejection. If the church is not your thing, check out your local Meetup. For the Kalamazoo area, go to https://www.meetup.com/cities/us/mi/kalamazoo/. Other cities offer these groups as well. You will find groups with interests common to yours. There are also a number of sports teams such as hockey, baseball, golf, bowling and other options you could join to meet other people. It may be challenging to take the first step, but finding those connections is essential as relationships promote a healthier overall mental wellness. It is just as crucial for men to be able to have their support systems, mentors, and friendships as it is for women.
Stronger Relationships Can Lead to Healthier Mental Health
Research has suggested that men that have strong relationships in their lives tend to be happier overall in their lives (Weiss, 2021). Men with fewer relationships have been reported to account for 80% of successful suicides (Weiss, 2021). Loneliness can also impact physical health and can be a risk factor for smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke (Weiss, 2021). Contact a local mental health professional if you have difficulty building relationships or struggling with self-esteem/confidence. It is okay to ask for help and to learn how to express and share your emotions. Mental health professionals can help you build self-esteem and confidence and work on your communication, which may allow you the confidence to foster new friendships. Remember, you are worth finding a place where you fit in. All you have to do is invest in yourself.