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American Men: So Alone

American Men: So Alone

The Present – and Future – of American Men

Funny. I have thousands of Facebook friends, thousands of Twitter followers, and hundreds of friends or whatever on other media channels.

But as I sit here today crying softly in the corner of a packed Starbucks, I feel so alone.

It isn’t the Facebook, Twitter, or any social media person that I reach out to it was a friend. You know those people you break bread with, those people that you can call at the last minute and they’ll show up at your door.

Friends are Bigger Than I Thought

“The U.S. surgeon general says isolation is a bigger American health problem than cancer or heart disease,” said¬†On Point host Tom Ashbrook.

toby boyce delaware ohio baby picture
As much as I love the cuddle time with baby, it could also be leading to an early death for me. [toby boyce]
That’s the thing. I KNOW thousands maybe even tens of thousands of people. But how many friends do I truly have …

I listened to the On Point interview and realized that it was me – and I’m sure millions of other men. I still list “best friends” I haven’t seen in 5-10 years. We are so busy taking care of our lives and being good husbands and good fathers that we don’t foster those relationships and it “isn’t cool” to just reach out on the phone and say “hi”. (Sorry, not a millennial so calling before texting is okay).

But it goes further than just “friends”. It adversly effects our entire life. With less friends, you do less socializing and going out, so more likely to grab fast food on the way home and increase your waist line. Sometimes the “hermit” lifestyle sounds good but we don’t associate them as the picture of health. And we comment on how quickly a lot of married men pass away within a short-time of their spouse. Why? He died of a broken heart. But what is a broken heart? Loneliness. Is that what you want for the rest of your life?

Where Did My Friends Come From?

You’ll notice a change in tone to this story, as I sat here at Starbucks, Oxford Automotive’s owner James Church came in and stopped to talk with me for a few minutes. Nothing deep, just a hello and how is business type thing. But that was enough to change my spirit. I am still sad, but I know that I’m not alone and that makes it so much easier to be sad …if that makes any sense at all.

I will have to say that my best friends right now are through Terra Nova Community Church. And I don’t say that trying to get you to show up at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at 425 S Sandusky Street in #DelawareOH. (really, but here is a map if you need it). I say that because you have to be part of a group — and not “You’re From Delaware If” Facebok page — to build friendships and connections.

I mean you have to be out and talking to people. Put the damn phone down and do something like just sit in a coffee shop and smile at people that come in. You never know you may make their day and make a new friend. Or use that phone to stop sending messages to people and actually call them – unless they are a millennial you should text first, would not want to cross the etiquette line.

I mean it is a stretch. We have been taught that once we get married that means no more feeling vulnerable as you open up to someone. But we have to do it. Our lives depend on it.

I don’t have a call to action in this long-winded post. Just call an old-friend – or make a new friend – to say “hi.”

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