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Over the past few years, due in part to the pandemic, and also in part to the continued rise of social media, more and more men are reporting that they feel lonelier than ever. According to the Harvard Business Journal, loneliness is “associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking fifteen cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity. ”

One could even say that loneliness has become an epidemic in men. Over 200 studies, including 3 million participants worldwide, have shown this, citing the culprits as modern life, the weakening of community, the gig economy, and social media.

I have to say I agree, entirely.

Psychology Today explains that in Western culture, women are typically the ones who are responsible for building and maintaining relationships, especially in a heterosexual relationships.

However, with the neverending restrictions that continue to hold space in our world, especially social distancing, it could be said that men are socializing far less than before.

And while women are prone to reach out when they need emotional support, men are wired differently. Many of them struggle to reach out for help, or even reassurance from a friend because they fear being emasculated by rejection.

Since 1995, the percentage of male American men without a close friend has risen steadily from 3% to 15%.

Research shows that men and women interact differently in friendships, with men’s friendships being more intimate, sharing interests in social activities, social skills, and social connection. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to choose a friend that is similar in education, humor, and happiness.

When most of us think about loneliness, it may seem far better than other issues that are on the rise. However, loneliness is tied to suicide, which has risen by 47% in just the past few decades.

Additionally, research has suggested that men who were happy in their lives, and who had meaningful connections with others ended up with better health outcomes than those who didn’t. Psychology Today says that “Loneliness in men is correlated with cardiovascular disease and stroke; 80 percent of successful suicides are men, and one of the leading contributing factors is loneliness.”

This is staggering because this is something that is rarely talked about. Even sadder, as long as the communication gates remain down, we could continue to see a steady rise in loneliness among men, rather than a decrease.