It’s not natural for guys to sit down for long, revealing conversations while sitting face-to-face drinking coffee at Starbucks. Many of us tend not to be the “bare your soul” types. In fact, we’ve likely been trained by society that a “real man” hides how he really feels. It’s never been natural, at least as far as I know, for men to develop deeply honest and transparent relationships with other men.
Now that we’re starting to emerge from the pandemic, what some researchers are discovering is that our friendship groups have shrunk in the past couple of years, as well as in the past 3 decades. As they say:
these changes have not affected Americans equally. Men appear to have suffered a far steeper decline than women. Thirty years ago, a majority of men (55 percent) reported having at least six close friends. Today, that number has been cut in half. Slightly more than one in four (27 percent) men have six or more close friends today. Fifteen percent of men have no close friendships at all, a fivefold increase since 1990.https://www.americansurveycenter.org/why-mens-social-circles-are-shrinking/
This isn’t just a problem for men, it’s a problem for society at large. “Nearly one in five Americans reported having no close social connections, a double-digit increase from 2013. And young men are faring worse than most: More than one in four (28 percent) men under the age of 30 reported having no close social connections.”
This is problematic. According to an article on Very Well Mind:
“Research suggests that having a healthy support system is important for your mental well being, even if you think you don’t need them…having a social support system is associated with less stress and anxiety…having strong friendships can also help to improve your physical health.”https://www.verywellmind.com/i-don-t-need-friends-why-you-might-feel-this-way-5215639#toc-benefits-of-having-friends
While there’s nothing wrong with solitude (Many good things come from being able to be alone and process your thoughts), we weren’t designed to be that way at all times.
Who do you lean on when things aren’t going well? Who can you call when you’re not sure about a decision you have to make? Do you have anyone in your life who is a little further down the road than you? Do you have any men in your life who are on the same journey? Or are you like 36% of young men who say their first call is to their parents? Nothing wrong with calling your parents, but if it’s because we don’t have anyone else to talk to, that could be a problem.
We’re talking about this difficult topic on tomorrow’s “Man They Remember” podcast, and we’d love to have you listen in and join the conversation!