I just think everyone is inherently beautiful, even those who have gotten stuck in solitary loops, and lost the ability to connect. I see someone like that as unrealized value... Like a stunted tree growing in the shade, or in dry soil. There's plenty of sun and water for everyone. Well, metaphorically. In social connection, each person you add multiplies those life giving resources.
The article suggests some points how to transform yourself, so connections form automatically. Of course you must have some day to day interaction with other people.
Not sure this generalizes.
I'm currently on an AI/Human relations kick. I hadn't considered "people walking" as something to use, so thanks.
The funny thing is I have a wife and four kids so I am never alone, but painfully lonely.
Remove religion to create a church-like experience and you have nothing to hold people together.
Also worth noting that in most churches people have a reason greater than their own selfish interests in socializing to hold them together.
Unfortunately the median age in UU seems to be about 80. I'm not sure 20-somethings looking for community are going to find it among grandparents.
What we really crave is a place for discussing ethics, morals and general life guidelines.
Church has many interesting properties that have been abandoned (due to obsolescence of the content, but not the form!): you can be just a passive observer in Church. You're with other people, which generally act supportively in this environment, and you can just be there amongst others without speaking, only hearing both comforting and hopefully useful ethical guidelines. You're hearing that you're loved and that everyone should love eachother -- which is usually true in the first case, and generally accepted in the latter -- but sometimes a reminder is really due.
Then if you have a problem you don't feel like sharing with anyone else, you have this guy, the priest, which has essentially a confidentiality agreement that you can safely tell him whatever. If you have a problem you can ask for guidance. The priest can usually pull some strings to get other churchgoers to assist you if necessary too (especially easy but important things like emotional support).
What we have today as non-religious individuals are for the most part psychologists, which have many issues:
-- You don't get the participation feel from joining a large group of people, and interacting with the ones you are interested in that group;
-- They tend to view your problems as disorders, when sometimes all you need is the presence of a group of people for alleviating light emotional distress;
-- They don't feel too confident giving advice, and they probably shouldn't, since they may not have experience with your situation (whereas some churchgoers might);
and very important:
-- They are expensive, while church is completely free.
In a web jargon, psychologists don't scale very well. Suppose everybody went to see a psychologist, and each psychologist had 10 patients. Then at least 10% of the population needs to be psychologists. Instead you could get k -- a lot better than 1 -- mutual confidants by connecting with a k person subgroup out of a larger meeting. And when you can't find a suitable subgroup, you have a speaker giving general advice for a very large number of people.
We need non-religious churches.
I've never gone, but I've thought about it.
(I'm not a Christian, so can't say too much.)
If you want something that's certified to be Christian-free, you might want to look up the humanist branches of the Freemasons. Or some of the humanist Quakers.
Or just pick any random hobby like swing dancing for a community around it.
There's a good site for this kind of thing though, if someone just wants to talk something over - https://www.7cups.com/. Not a group thing like church, but a pretty good stop gap until something better comes along I suppose.
In some countries. In other they're free.
Not to be rude, but how can that be ? Isn't your wife supposed to be your best/closest friend ?
I'm a loner myself and have no experience with relationships so I have no idea what it's like to be in one but you make it sound kind of pointless.
A partner is different than a friend. I have wonderful times with my girlfriend and I love hanging out with her. But I can't bitch to my girlfriend about how my girlfriend drives me up the wall when she leaves her crap everywhere, or how annoying it is when her allergies act up and the constant sniffling makes me want to claw my brains out.
Bitching/venting about your partner is important, you need friends for that.
My girlfriend will also never understand just why it's so important to be the fastest out of a random group of guys down a hill on a bike or akateboard. Yeah it's dangerous and dumb but I can't let the other fuckers beat me in a pointless competition now can I?
Need guy friends to do atupid guy things. Women don't get it.
No, although that's a common misconception; it can turn out that way, but rarely does, and there's nothing of necessity wrong with a relationship in which it does not.
I was married myself for about a decade, and also painfully lonely through most of it despite being nearly never physically alone. I've operated under the impression that this had to do with the abusive nature of that relationship, and wasn't representative of any general case. Now I'm starting to wonder if I might not have been wrong about that. Certainly I still hesitate to draw any kind of general conclusion from my own experience of marriage - but I'm hearing a lot more lately from men whose experiences in this regard are similar, despite their relationships generally not appearing to be so.
Just to provide a counter anecdote. My wife is very definitely my best and closest friend.
Quite aside from that, though, I'm still not seeing any reason to assume that relationships in general exhibit this problem - only that it's not quite as uncommon as the highly atypical nature of my own experience led me to surmise.
(Or what I hope to be the highly atypical nature, anyway. If marriages like mine are anything except vanishingly uncommon, that's a serious problem. There are so many improbable circumstances around the way mine started that I've seen no reason to assume many similar relationships exist - but on reflection it occurs to me that I've failed to account for the possibility of stochastic convergence.)
You're not required to have kids.
I guess what I'm trying to figure out is why even start a relationship if you don't get anything out of it. Never mind getting to the point where you start producing kids.
No, but a lot of people want to. (A lot of people have kids without the formality of a relationship, too, but that's a whole 'nother kind of problem.)
I guess I'd say that for most people there are a lot of reasons to want to be in a relationship - good reasons and bad ones alike. With rare exception, nobody goes into a relationship expecting that it won't improve their life in some way, and if you're not seeing what you might get out of one, then I can't see any reason why you should start one.
It seems like a lot of people do eventually discover that they don't get out of a given relationship what they hoped they might, or what they previously did - but that's also a whole 'nother kind of problem, and because it often involves strongly felt responsibilities to people other than oneself, a kind that is rarely easy to solve even if there's no clear way to incrementally improve upon the status quo.
I don't think I've done a very good job explaining it here, but I'm not sure how I might do a better one.
> Not to be rude, but how can that be ?
I have heard this many times. A marriage can be lonely. A wife can also be your best friend. Chances are, you will feel both throughout the same marriage.
The same is true of friendship too. I have felt close and far away, pleased and angry, with the same friend at different times. That's how all relationships are. They are living things. They can be one thing one day, and different the next, all depending on what each of you do.
We seem to think that success in a relationship depends mostly on choosing the right person at the outset, and then the rest is automatic. If we choose the right person, a lifetime of effortless happiness. If we choose the wrong one, a lifetime of grief no matter how hard we try.
The truth is that relationships, like all living things, must be daily cultivated, by each of you. You can do everything right, but if the other person chooses to do bad things, the relationship will sour. That's the beauty and the terror of independent wills.
You can surely find something that fits your own preferences in terms of "intensity" and it might get you in touch with people.
I've also been thinking of taking a martial arts courses, but am also looking at local community groups like Neighborhood Emergency Teams for emergency management.
This book analyzes loneliness (and solitude, the more positive counterpart) to a great detail, and offers some constructive and positive suggestions on how to transform the former into the latter.
It's hard to admit but I don't have anybody I'd consider a close friend. Saying this might hurt the people I'm close to, and sure it's all a matter of degree. But still I find myself trapped in the "no emotion" zone I've grown into. And getting out of this is hard, particularly when I must assume that the people around me have been similarly socialized.
I suppose I should've been around for /.'s heyday, it seems like that was its thing.
It's meant to be written in long form and inform, but not necessarily about anything as immediate as what you'd consider news.
For example, I think the twitterization of information has been bad in the sense that it reduces information in it's deepness, I think part of the reason for the success of twitter is that in the modern age we have more and more things competing for our attention, and therefor less time to dedicate to various pursuits. Twitter answered this problem by placing a hard limit on characters... which reduced time needed to consume, but failed to provide mechanisms that provided good content, in favor of short content.
The tldr being a better form that fills this niche, perhaps, would be the kind of thing that would assist those of us who value content quality but still don't want to spend too much time on something that is of unknown quality. Medium did something interesting in this regard by giving readers time to read estimates. They still lack quality indicators, as do most information outlets. Some of my ideas for solutions would be machine ratings of strength of logic, or argument-map generation. So I'm coming at the issue in a more abstract way.
All that said, and despite my original no, I will give my version of the tldr.
Loneliness is an issue that seems to disproportionately affect men, but it shouldn't be confused with social isolation. One can feel isolated and lonely despite social connectedness. For the most part it boils down to a lack of trust, and therefore intimacy in conversation and other actions which are failing to meet emotional needs of men. While most indicators show that a relationship such as marriage often meets the emotional needs through a partner, they also show that once in a relationship where emotional needs are met social isolation increases. Hope is not lost though, there are techniques that can be used, such as reframing or CBT, to help lonely people get out of that rut, and much of it will need to be not just singular but cultural. If you're lonely, just know you aren't the only one, and the situation can improve, and knowing others often feel the same way despite hiding it (like you hide yourself) is likely to be a threshold that can help you overcome the fear needed to make the positive moves needed to progress.
Slightly off-topic, but I wonder how much the chilling-effect of the surveillance society has increased this loneliness due to lack of trust (perhaps of the medium and not of the person on the other end).
Drop me a line if you'd like to join sometime.
Nevertheless, this is not the stuff that helps create the kind of deeper - vulnerable - connections that are stressed in the article.
>kind of deeper - vulnerable - connections that are stressed
>in the article.
No probably not. That would be really surprising also. I can really imagine this guy who wrote it, an ancient American business man - he's surely not into that kind of stuff. Anyways, it's a start ;)
reddit.com/r/Menslib is a good subreddit on these issues
> There are unfortunately people who try to hijack this to push their agenda
Hypocritically, you're using the topic to push your own agenda here. Which further shows how adopting the patriachy model will not help.
Hearing the name doesn't make you an expert. The world isn't so systematic; history and context matter. There's quite a lot of study and learning to absorb if you're inclined, but this is a stunning demonstration of arrogance from ignorance, and I can't understand why anyone would want to demonstrate that. "Boi."
What you're doing is, though, very effective as a derailing tactic, although I have to say you're really going above and beyond with the contempt you add to it. What are you trying to accomplish, this way? What do you imagine that you're helping? What you've said here, and the way in which you've said it, does nothing to convince anyone that the conceptual schema you advocate has any genuine value - indeed, quite the opposite. Yet this nonetheless is what you chose to say, and how you chose to say it. Why?
There is not. This is a shortcoming born of inexperience and youth. Your context is too small, you're not perceiving things at any scale much beyond your own few personal experiences.
I have to say you're really going above and beyond with the contempt you add to it. What are you trying to accomplish, this way?
You pretend to be so reasonable, but this is tone policing, a logical fallacy, a thought-terminating cliche.
Your position is contemptible and no one owes you good manners over it. Do better. Step up your game. Make an actual argument to persuade me - to persuade anyone - that you actually have a clue what you're talking about.
Pointing out that neither of those things are valid arguments is not ad hominem.
I haven't insulted you; pointing out that you're ignorant and inexperienced is giving you the benefit of the doubt. Those things are curable.
Respectfully suggest you consider the root comment here with these guidelines ("name-calling") in mind.
1) You've come into a thread that is specifically looking at men's problems, and made it about feminism and your own highly female-oriented viewpoints: "As a feminist", the (justifiable) fear that people make this out as "men's problems are more important than women's problems", "allowing women to be strong and independent, I think we also must allow men to be weak and to ask for help if they need it.".
If people came into a thread about sexism in the work place and explained an opinion with similar words with flipped gender, they would be criticised.
2) For the worse, the terms you pick out yourself have been coopted by an unfortunate group who use them to push their own agenda, who go around with mugs marked "Male Tears", gleeful in the support of a minority of people abusing the term and the quiet tolerance of many more. They don't represent feminism or progressive values. But they do use the words most loudly, and that develops unfortunate connotations.
Overall, your points may be valid, but your expression of them alienates the people this article is about and addresses.
But some people don't want to see a reasonable counterbalance. They see a word they don't like and downvote without reading; they actually get angry when others fail to live down to their stereotypes. Going in the other direction, I've seen liberal feminists get confused and angry when they meet a conservative who supports GLBT rights. It makes people uncomfortable when folks don't stay in their pigeonholes. It's frustrating.
It's not accepted to derail a women-centered discussion with "but patriarchy hurts men too!"; why do you expect anything less in derailing a men-centered discussion with "but feminism is for men too!"? Granted you're not being That Guy in the usual direction. But you're no less being That Guy for it. Maybe consider not being That Guy.
Just like it's annoying for someone to chime in with "what about men's XYZ!" in a conversation explicitly about women, it's annoying for the inverse to happen.
While you're 100% right and gender roles (patriarchy) mean we're actually having the same conversation I would love to be able to have those two conversations independently without descending in to whattaboutism and explicitly gendered language.
> But yes, in allowing women to be strong and independent, I think we also must allow men to be weak and to ask for help if they need it.
Men have this problem precisely because they are "strong and independent". Not pressuring men to work constantly to the point of isolation is not the same as "allowing men to be weak".
Do voluntary jobs with sick and old people. Replacing your problems with other people's problems makes you think better.
From my perspective it really must be something else.
Anecdotally I am a very lonely person right now. For the last six months or so, I could be described as about a 32 on the UCLA scale. I am nonetheless a very emotionally open person. I address emotional problems honestly, it just seems that I can not address loneliness the same way.
I think the activity that is required to build deep friendships, is to attempt to build many shallow ones, and see who sticks around. That has had the most success for me. I think the final bit of motivation for this is the research on health outcomes (though, granted, it could be a bit biased since unhealthy people are also more likely to be lonely).
Also regarding “But to paraphrase University of Missouri researchers Barbara Bank and Suzanne Hansford, men have power, but are not well.”; I don't know what on earth they are talking about. What power do men have? Surely some men are powerful, and there are more powerful men than powerful women, but men as a whole are not powerful in any way I could recognize (in NA).
Regarding “A man should never reveal worries to others.”, I think this is more a statement of strategic fact than an opinion. Nobody cares about men, especially not other men; so unless you have good reason to believe you will be helped rather than exploited, showing vulnerability to others is strategically suicidal.
As for the “no homo” stuff, it is essential. If you can't tell whether somebody is trying to befriend you or seduce you , you can not be at ease; you can't tell if you're just being a good friend, or leading them on. This connects directly with the later mention of "A lot of men don’t cultivate emotional intimacy when they are not in partnership with a significant other.". When you are in a relationship, making friends becomes more straightforward, since more variables are known to both parties.
Maybe I should go get coffee with Steven, we share a city after all.
i guess i wont go into detail but i was completely alone for four years. during that time i developed mental health problems and negative habits that, at the time, i did not realize were due to loneliness. this was compounded by super bad stress from other things in my life. i reached profoundly low states of mental well-being -- looking back i actually am astonished. there is no doubt in my mind that whatever i encounter later in terms of loneliness, it will never come close to that.
after four years i met a girl and we lived together for another three years. the article hits the nail on the head about married couples -- having an so is the number one solution for loneliness. it turned my whole situation around and has left me off much better even though the relationship came to a sad end. if any of you guys are stuck being super lonely, i would recommend getting a girlfriend no matter the cost. also, i would recommend taking a complete multivitamin. something in those things makes my depression a lot better. good luck.
On the subject of vitamins, I've found fish oil seems to improve mood, if one has an otherwise fish-free diet.
As someone who craves solitude, how did you manage this ? I can't even go a day without seeing another human being, let alone 4 years. How do you get food, income, housing ?
Any anyone find the reference for this in the linked study.
The PDF is quite long and my CTRL-F Fu is failing me.
Quoting the abstract:
Main results: After controlling for a range of demographic, health, and lifestyle variables, greater networks with friends were protective against mortality in the 10 year follow up period. The hazard ratio for participants in the highest tertile of friends networks compared with participants in the lowest group was 0.78 (95%CI 0.65 to 0.92)
I assume that 0.78 is where the 100-78 = 22 % number comes from? (Although it doesn't really match the phrasing "increases your longevity by up to", it seems to be the closest?)
Surely you can escape it by just not going?
I would be fine if I could limiti it to a couple of hours of human contact a month, but society forces me to have social interactions all day every day. It’s making me seriously depressed and super anxious.
You need to imagine your life from a third-person perspective, and realize that the way you feel resides entirely within your own brain, and is mutable.
When you look at the world, you're seeing a stream of photons. Photons transport light, not emotion.
Imagine having a live grenade in your pocket. The grenade is just powerful enough to seriously hurt you but not kill you. It's also unstable and will randomly go off once or twice a year (and will be replaced with a new one when it does). Now imagine if you were required to carry this grenade around every time you have to interact with humans.
This is similar to what social interaction feels like to me. I am autistic and have trouble with nonverbal communication and reading between the lines. Any and all social interactions can lead to this 'grenade' exploding in my face. It can be something relatively harmless as being embarrassed or people getting angry with me to the point where I almost got into legal trouble for following instructions that were 'obviously' not supposed to be followed literally.
Next to that, it's also super exhausting because none of it comes natural to me. If you want to walk to the other side of the room, you just will it and your legs move. Imagine if you couldn't do that and had to consciously tense and release each muscle in your legs to walk. Social interaction is like that to me. Everything is a conscious action, from trying to fake eye contact (and for how long), to posture, to choosing my words, to watching the other person's face/body and trying to figure out what that is saying.
And last but not least, none of it is rewarding to me. When a 'normal' person has social interactions, this is supposedly pleasurable for them, which motivates them to seek it out and take risks while doing so. None of that works for me.
I don't think it's strange that something that is exhausting, randomly hurtful and not in any way rewarding causes me anxiety. Having to do that 8 hours a day, just to be able to afford food and a roof over my head makes it even worse.
Talking about your inner experience gives you something to talk about, and leaves the other person with a better understanding of the situation.
I'm not actually sure if these are good ideas (I'm probably a bit autistic myself), but given that avoiding contact leaves you with no reputation whatsoever, having a reputation as a weird person isn't really any worse.
Explaining it has never really helped, people simply fail to understand. 99% of the time, I'm indistinguishable from a normal person. The problem with that is that people don't really see me as any different, and thus place the same expectations on me as they would on any other person. Even knowing that I'm autistic doesn't change this one bit. I've lost friends over misunderstandings where I failed to pick up 'obvious' subtext and they just refused to believe that I didn't see it.
The worst part is where people get angry out of the blue and I have no idea why or what I did wrong.
Recently I started adding "how are you?" which made things a bit more interesting. But I'm pretty good at improvising jokes and scientific observations, so that helps keep some words flowing. If you want to have a longer conversation, then finding places to insert questions can be useful.
If someone wants to actually get close to me, IM would be the way to do it.
Oh, the irony.
The parallel construction strikes me as amusing.
Wat? Wouldn't it be better to pump that refrigeration into said 49 degrees C appartments instead, where the alive but dying people are?
I don't think that knowing you can do this and successfully fooling your internal anti-loneliness mechanisms are compatible. You simply won't get the full range of emotional stimuli.