The isolated male
So many men on the outside seem as though they have everything figured out; a good career, a loving partner, possibly children who adore or loathe them (depending on age and the child) and a home that is comfortable. Naturally you spend more time with your family or partner than you would your friends that you have acquired along the way as you get older. Then something happens and talking to your partner isn’t what you want or need and you find yourself longing for your friends of old who either did the same thing as yourself and no longer have the time to spend with you, or who you haven’t spoken to in so long that you have lost contact and feel hesitant in contacting them again after all these years.
This could feel even worse and further compounded by the end of a relationship where your partner was the person you would speak to about everything, as now you are single and alone.
Many men go through this and find it difficult to admit that they are lonely and miss having friendly company. Long gone are the lads holidays and after a number of stag do’s everyone seems to have disappeared, forming their own little circle. You may notice this at birthdays when you have no males friends to go out with or invite over, or it may be the death of a loved one who your friends knew and you realise you have no idea how to make contact with them. How do you deal with that? Loneliness can kill in that your life chances are reduced for those experiencing being lonely.
Many men try to put on a brave face because saying that you no longer have friends that you can talk to can feel shameful leading them to suffer in silence. Some feel as though something is missing in their life and begin searching for it in other places, whether it be an affair or other pursuits that you might not be comfortable with rather than admitting that you are struggling.
So how, as an adult, do you make friends?
Well, the first thing to note is that you are not the only person experiencing this. Looking at your interests and then taking active steps in doing them and developing hobbies will put you in contact with people who might be like minded while you are doing something you enjoy.
Social media can be brilliant for reacquainting yourself with friends and catching up on old times. Other people's lives may have changed and you will need to prepare yourself for the idea that your old friend may not be your type of person anymore, but then they might be just what you need. A few belly laughs going over stories of past and looking to the future can be so uplifting.
It takes effort to keep friendships up and life can get in the way, but keeping good friends around you is an investment in your physical and mental health - try to not let your fall by the wayside.
If you are struggling with this, then please seek support.
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About Marilyn McKenzie
I am Marilyn McKenzie and I am a qualified psychotherapist who has worked with couples, addiction, DV, young offending, grief and bereavement as well as anxiety and depression.
I am integrative in my approach but often work systemically. I have a private practise and work with relate.