A lack of meaningful male friendships is being highlighted as a major hidden epidemic across the world. A recent report from Australia showed that 43 per cent of men feel lonely or down under, down under. Sorry! Similar reports can be found from America and the UK in recent years. It’s a worldwide phenomenon it seems, particularly affecting men as they move out of their teens and 20’s. It can be much harder in later life to establish new deep friendships.
You don’t have to look far for opinion pieces and blogs exploring male friendship and their challenges, especially for those entering their 40’s and beyond. Take this recent piece by Sam Wollaston in The Guardian. What is regularly highlighted in such pieces and surveys is that men can be more reluctant to talk about deeper topics and their feelings when with their friends or potential friends.
Male friendships seem to often feel like they have to revolve around an activity, rather than friendship for friendship’s sake. The long term effect of loneliness according to the most recent Australian report from Healthy Male, is poor mental health, and increased levels of depressions, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. The survey in fact suggests loneliness has just as detrimental an impact on health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Social Discovery apps by no means are going to fix this problem overnight. But platforms designed to allow like minded people to meet each other could play an important role in starting to tackle this problem across the globe. We have seen across many apps, social discovery has thousands of success stories, and have helped people foster genuine human connections with people in their local community and across the world. The question now is – how can we encourage more men, across the age range, to take charge of their loneliness and find one another. It’s a bit of a blanket statement to suggest it only the younger generation are open to using such apps to find friends. But it could be a real shame that it is perhaps the older generations who could really benefit from such apps and tools, who are not using them yet.