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The Hidden Brain podcast is one of my favorite podcasts. The preview and title of this episode caught my attention.

This week on Hidden Brain, we look at what happens when half the population gets the message that needing others is a sign of weakness, and that being vulnerable is unmanly. Guys, we have a problem: How American masculinity creates lonely men.

I’ll wait. Click to listen: → Guys, we have a problem: How American masculinity creates lonely men.

One of the questions asked of men to gauge their social-emotional well-being is, “Who would you call in the middle of the night if you were sick or afraid?”

Thanks to the ManKind Project, five men come right to my mind. I’d call Jon, Mike, Bobby, Drew, or David no matter the time.

Hit Reply – What’s your answer? Do you have anyone you’d call? “Who would you call in the middle of the night if you were sick or afraid?”

Three things stood out for me in this podcast.

  • Distractions can’t replace our need for connection.

As men, when we leave school, get into relationships, and move from job to job, we are apt to lose our close friendships. We can look up one day and see that we have acquaintances, not friends, but our need for connection isn’t lost. We’ve become socially isolated.

  • Strong Relationships = Better Health

Spending time building and nurturing friendships is as important as exercising and eating right. Studies show that men with strong social connections live longer, are less prone to develop chronic disease, and generally experience more happiness and better health.

  • Norms – Expectations – Homophobia

It’s not that males can’t or don’t develop close emotional bonds. As boys, most of us do, but those bonds break when if we move and can be weakened by societal expectations and norms. The expectations and cultural norms include the stereotype of “The independent Man,” the belief that real men don’t need anyone, and the fear of being perceived as gay or feminine. In the face of these notions of what it means to be a man, social isolation can become more pronounced.

If you haven’t yet, click to listen: → Guys, we have a problem: How American masculinity creates lonely men.

Inspired by the experiment of talking with strangers, let’s see if we can increase our social connections this week. If you are up for the challenge, do one or more of these this week and see how you feel.

  1. Call an old friend to reconnect.
  2. Go to coffee or for a meal with an acquaintance to deepen your connection.
  3. Talk to a stranger.
  4. Find an MKP Men’s Group in your area – https://mkpusa.org/mens-group/. The form to fill out is on the right-hand side of the page.

If you need help finding an MKP group in your area, let me know. I can help. Just hit reply and make sure to include your zip code.

Go Answer the Call

Matt

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