TruHap did a mini-study to determine whether it is a known truth that males suffer greater loneliness than women.
A step towards addressing men’s mental health.
Loneliness in men has been on the raise and has gotten worse with the COVID era. Here, We discuss various reasons and causes for loneliness in men and provide some actionable suggestions on how they can handle their loneliness better.
Parents: You have to only raise a child, not a man
In almost all cultures, even to this day, people feel the need to have a son. It is not that they will love or care for their son more than their daughter but for the fear that is put into our brains for generations; “ Who will take care of you in your old age?!” For this reason, most parents raise their sons to grow up with a sense of responsibility. With pressures from society and their own fears, parents try to raise their sons to be tough. In this process the little boys are asked to; “Stop crying like a girl”, “Boys are tough”, With statements like these we tend to normalize and encourage boys to be immune to pain but in reality, we are teaching them to lose touch with their truth. They are taught to act strong but are not taught any skills to handle the pain. As a side effect, they may also become apathetic toward others’ feelings! By the time these boys hit their late teenage years they understand what is expected of them and may also start to enjoy the special treatment they get over their siblings.
The boy is happy. Parents are happy.
A few years down the line, reality hits. They are so used to covering up their emo
tions and not sharing what they truly feel that they don’t really have any meaningful relationships with their peers. This crippling feeling of not being able to share their feelings, fears, or stress with anyone else, leaves men feeling absolutely alone.
To avoid driving your child towards loneliness in their adulthood, follow these rules while raising children;
First things first, Never make them feel bad by comparing them with girls, suggesting that girls are weak or not smart.
Provide them safe space to express their emotions. Encourage open communication.
Stop scolding or commenting that your son isn’t being masculine. He may feel very much like a boy but you commenting on their way of expressing themselves may harm your child’s mental health and confuse their idea of gender.
Don’t discourage them from playing with kitchen sets or pursuing hobbies that are considered to be feminine choices.
Raise them to be self-reliant. Normalize sharing all kinds of chores in the house.
Workplace: Dear Men, Your earnings solely don’t define you!
With work from home becoming a norm after the COVID era, Men have been hit the worse with loneliness. Yes, it is a sign of backwardness of the society but we cannot deny that men still occupy positions of power in the workplace in many industries (Surprisingly in even industries that cater to women’s needs!) One positive effect of a bad parenting style of teaching your son to be competitive because he is the breadwinner of the family is that they grow up to be hard working and challenge-accepting men.
On the other hand, they feel;
The constant pressure of proving themselves,
Are afraid of taking a break even when on the verge of burnout.
Their work-life balance is always off.
Worried to share their problems at the workplace because they may be considered inefficient or not up for the challenge.
Will never share their workplace stress with family because they are raised to be the strong ones just because they are the “ man of the house ”
For these reasons and some more, men end up feeling lonely. Following these tips may help men feel less stressed and lonely at the workplace;
Network, guys! Most men work towards their ‘LinkedIn networking’ but rarely on social networking in person (not to confuse it with social media). Having meaningful friendships outside one’s own family will be a deciding factor in how well you can manage loneliness.
Find Ways to vent. You don’t always have to vent to a person, you can have a hobby like cooking, deep cleaning the house, painting, pottery….the list is endless. Exercise is like two birds with one stone; you will be physically fit and mentally relaxed.
Reach out. From their upbringing to what society has taught them, Men have a lot of unlearning to do. Make sure that the first thing you unlearn is that going to a therapist is a sign of weakness. Prioritizing your well-being must be at the top of your list. Find a therapist who fits your needs and stick to your sessions.
Partner: Exactly! You are partners.
Men are strong. Yes, they are! But should they be strong all the time? Can’t they let their walls down even when with their spouse or partner? Should the man always be the source of comfort, never being asked once if he needs a shoulder to lean on? Surprisingly, many men face loneliness even after being married or in long-term relationships. They may get support from their partners and family, but a relationship greatly cuts out their friendships with their peers.
Most often than not, the partners make men feel alone! Because of the upbringing or the state of our societal norms, men are expected to take care of the finances single-handedly, be generous providers and always be strong. All these expectations and implications are direct causes of loneliness in men.
Though our mindsets cannot change in a day, Men can follow a few tips to remedy the situation;
Tell your partner you’re feeling lonely. In Spite of your fears, do let your partner know your struggles with loneliness and explain to them how their behavior is causing issues for you (Explain to them with situational examples and don’t just blame them).
Ask for the reason. If you feel like your partner is avoiding you, don’t overthink it or use ‘reverse treatment’. Just ask them why they are acting that way. Have open communication. Yes, it gets heated at times but that’s okay. Good open communication is the foundation for any happy relationship.
Couples therapy. Many couples reach out only when all the bridges are burnt. Couples therapy doesn’t mean that there is a third person in your relationship, These therapists are trained and experienced to help you solve your differences amicably. Reach out before it is too late.
The causes for loneliness in men have their origin in upbringing and society’s mass mindset. They are ingrained in all our minds so much so that it can only change when a whole generation of parents can bring up their sons better and as a society change our view towards the traditional roles of men and women. Meanwhile, all men can do is to unlearn what they have been taught, change their approach to life and reach out for all the help they need. As for the rest of us, let us all give the necessary space and safe environment for men in our lives to be able to express their true feelings.