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Almost one in five men admits to having no close friends, a survey has found (thetimes.co.uk)
639 points by laurex on Sept 22, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 408 comments

I run 300 forums, and I had a startup for them. The lofty goal of the startup was to "cure loneliness" but I never told the users that.

My path to doing this was to encourage interest based communication, in a way that would allow them to take it offline. How? Well to make it interest + geography, i.e. horology nerds in Cumbria, cyclists in London, petrol heads in Cornwall, audiophiles in Suffolk.

By binding together an interest, and a geography, it naturally encourages trade, showing off, having a beer... and coming together. But not in a way that ever was to "cure loneliness" (which few people admit to feeling, and frankly most people find lonely people unattractive people from the perspective of wishing to hang out with someone like that).

By providing a space to share a passion, the forums brought people together.

I had to make our own software to achieve this, i.e. a forum with events built-in by default, etc. But it worked.

Except I couldn't get it funded beyond the crowd-funded angel round :shrug . But still, 250k monthly users, hundreds of marriages, tens of thousands of friendships, and still people meeting weekly for beer and chatting with others.

And like all love, when the lust is gone what remains is something special... these forums are evolving now, from the original interests, into just a group of friends for life.

If I were lonely today, I would say... identify a hobby or interest you could get into, start looking for entry things to dive in, and then look for groups on MeetUp, or forums online, that will help you find other people.

This is awesome. I've long felt a nostalgia for the close-knit forums I participated in as a kid. One was a worldwide group centered around an online game (CyberNations), the other was just a group of kids with similar interests in one metro area who met up occasionally. Both were vital for me in coping with feeling like I didn't fit in at all at school.

It's great to see that that kind of close, friendly, personal Internet dynamic didn't completely die with Facebook's rise.

Facebook has its sins but is this really one of them? Facebook supports small, controlled, geographically focused groups.

Supports maybe, but doesn't encourage or promote them. The money is in the endless news feed from your 300+ acquaintances, not in quiet, thoughtful conversation between a group of close friends.

Of course it can't promote them. All of the best groups are secret, and with good reason. They are spread via word of mouth which allows group admins to vet new users. Facebook even added a flow to support a "before you join, submit your answers these questions" workflow.

Maybe that's not where the money is, but these private groups are so sticky that I don't currently see any alternative. People already know how to use Facebook, they don't know how to use Discord or Slack.

I found it's trivally easy to "unfollow" 280 of those 300+ acquaintances and suddenly my newsfeed isn't so bad

Facebook has currently bought out the entire advertising space of one of the downtown SF subway stations with ads for their groups product. Seems like they are trying to promote it.

I also played CyberNations as a kid and found social solace there. Did you ever play a similar game called LunarWars?

When I was an awkward teenager with no social skills, one of the places I found a social ingroup was on a video game forum on AOL. Roughly the same group of mostly teenage boys posted to this forum for 2-3 years before we all gradually moved off AOL. But we would later reconnect through Facebook and I still consider these guys good friends of mine even though I've maybe only met 2 of them in person.

I feel like it would be appropriate to share some of these forums in this thread, I think the immediate need outweighs anyone calling it out as self-promotion.

Not all of them are applicable, the platform has also been used for forums that connect old-age pensioners homes (it's easy to use), and support networks for victims of domestic sexual and violent abuse in South London.

However the largest example is the London cyclist one https://www.lfgss.com . I started with cycling and the plan was to saturate one sport/recreational interest before branching out. So I run a lot of the cycle forums in the UK, from the Rapha one, through to Islington http://forum.islington.cc/ , Brixton https://forum.brixtoncycles.cc/ tiny clubs like Grupetto https://csgrupetto.microco.sm/

One of the newest is a sustainability forum for a group with a core around Cambridge but spread over the UK https://onething.is/

Some of the forums are private, and I'm fine with that as they can permission it the way they want and pull members from elsewhere as they see fit, i.e. the petrolheads in Cornwall.

Each forum is like a startup itself, they all have to find their first 10 users, then to get to 100 users, and to be aware of the 1% rule of internet culture https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1%25_rule_(Internet_culture)

But I help nurture and guide, and show them how to do it.

Without funding I've slowed everything down though. It's funded by donations from users across sites today, but expansion risks cost cliffs as I'm just below the threshold for a few services I would need to pay for (auth0 free tier) and don't have time to engineer my way out. With neither time or money spare, it's stagnated.

But if someone wants a startup idea... this does work. Not wildly profitable, but it works.

How did it make money? I'd barely scratched the surface, but conversation around interest contains a lot of intent to purchase, and there are classifieds and meetups. So it's affiliates, a challenge against eBay (people into an interest have emotional attachment to the items and would rather sell to others into the interest), and ticketing for events, etc. And because it's all a platform, one instance, the traditional highs costs associated with running a forum were avoided. Lower costs, and actual revenues :)

I love what I do for work now, but I still believe this was an idea that is good for society.

Any plans to open source / open core this software? I've always been interested in forum software (my first real web project was a Reddit clone in Flask and the complexities and edgecases abound - moderation tools, rate limiting, scaling write-load, finding the minimum front-end that doesn't make users puke).

It is all open source.

The only thing that isn't is the very old puppet script that managed the deploy as it was rather bespoke for our setup.

To my own regret I focused far too much on making it an effective platform rather than an easy install, so that bit might feel gnarly but at least the errors are sane and guide you.

The Go API and PostgreSQL schemas: https://github.com/microcosm-cc/microcosm

The Django frontend (the client is nothing but a thin client over the API) https://github.com/microcosm-cc/microweb

The Bootstrap derived theme for the Django fronted https://github.com/microcosm-cc/microweb-bootstrap

And then other miscellaneous things:

The Go HTML sanitizer for user generated content https://github.com/microcosm-cc/bluemonday

Our legal policies for forums on this platform (expensive to produce, but perfectly fitting a forum platform with minimal exposure for the platform owner/admin and minimal but some liability for a forum owner) https://github.com/microcosm-cc/legal

There is also a newer thing, I was (/am?) intending to replace the Django layer with a Go frontend and templating, and then moving the API into this, such that the forum could become a single binary install and thus gain a new lease of life: https://github.com/buro9/microcosm . Once in a while I chip away on that.

Just wanted to say that your microcosm code was a huge inspiration/invaluable reference when I was learning go and developing my own forum like thing. Thanks!

What's the pitch to use this over Facebook or Reddit for hosting a forum?

It's in his profile:


In Belgium, start cycling. There are groups everywhere, where a lot of friends meet.

And running groups as well!

Is it still active? Pity you could not get funded but then again, good things rarely come in the guise of fundable businesses. Kudos for doing this.

Platform is still active, the 250k monthly uniques is the current number.

But I haven't been able to do much other than keep it in maintenance mode for the last 4 years. I've let other forums be created and expanded it, but haven't had time to address it's flaws and improve it.

Just FYI, “have no close friend” and “loneliness” aren’t the same thing. I have no close friends, and I prefer it. Don’t try to “cure” people like me.

Someone wrote this and had deleted their comment when I went to reply to them, but I thought it was on point, so now I'm saying it:

Curious, why you took offense to OPs post? If you are enjoying not having close friends, then good for you, really. This thread doesn't apply to you.

You remind me of Ricky Gervais' Guitar Lessons bit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3dxMGzt5mU

In summary, it's like calling up a guitar teacher and telling them you don't want to learn guitar. Why call?

I didn’t take offense. Did it read that way?

He is on a self-professed quest to cure loneliness, and seems to equate that with not having close friendships. I just want to make sure he is aware there is a distinction and not everyone classifies that way.

>He is on a self-professed quest to cure loneliness

It seemed to me that he was on a quest to cure his loneliness.

Point is: It's interesting (perhaps even revealing) that you read it differently.

If it's not a problem, then it's not a problem. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

If so, I misread it. But going back I still can't see that interpretation.

> The lofty goal of the startup was to "cure loneliness" but I never told the users that.

And then he talks about building features for users to take their conversations offline. I mean maybe it was all for himself, but it seems like the goal was to get users to build long-lasting relationships.

Which is commendable, and I commend him for it. It sounds like an awesome project.

With his ending I also implied it was to cure his loneliness:

> If I were lonely today, I would say...

There's probably a correlation between being happy with no close friends and being misanthropic in general.

It's OK, you're safe. I never used those words, and given that it requires some effort on your part nothing will happen unless you want it to.

Has this been a problem in the past?

From your phrasing, it sounds like a pet peeve.

Introverts are often harassed with "why are you so quiet?" and "why don't you <do activity xyz>?" questions that seem innocent, but are actually attacks by people who are unable to let them be themselves.

The well meaning extrovert person who introduces you to someone by saying, this is x, he's really shy. Anyone had that, ever? They might as well dig a hole for you.

Why do you prefer it?

I’m an introvert. People drain me. I find fulfillment in the world around me and my hobbies. I’m on HN not to be social but to learn things. I don’t need validation from others.

I don’t hate human interaction either. I have friends. I just don’t NEED them, and don’t need to go seeking them or be especially close.

I'm curious if you will retain this preference as you get older and physical frailty starts to appear in your life, or you lose your source of income.

Has nothing to do with it. I am like him. People drain me whether I'm young or old, rich or poor.

Thanks for sharing.

I would say you're the biological anomaly. Humans are social creatures. Much or our society is defined by our achievements as a group then individually. I would say the op very accurately describes a general problem.

Calling north of 16% of world population an anomaly stinks of racism.

Most people are not extroverts either, but extroverts in western culture get a pat on the back and a raise. Not as much elsewhere.

It's not a binary variable, but a spectrum.

Calling me a racist stinks of accusatory witch hunting. You can lose a job for this kind of thing and you dare to call me that? You don't go around accusing people people of smelling like a nazi yet you can go around saying that I smell like a racist?

Let me be utterly clear with you. I am not racist. Not one bone of my body is. And it is an extreme and personal insult to suggest that I am. There will be no further communication between us.

You second paragraph seems to continue onto an informed discussion that's not going to continue because of the immature comment in your first sentence.

You go around calling people biological anomalies and you're pretending to be the victim in this situation? Jeez.

i can wiggle my ears at will... most of the population can't... thats a biological anomaly.

This is an entirely different thing then Racism. Know the difference. Let's not let political correctness erase our ability to state things we believe to be biological facts.

If I were to say that you are an inferior race because you can or can't wiggle your ears and therefore must have inferior treatment.... THAT is racism. But the fact that I can wiggle my ears... well there's no denying that this ability is anomalous as I am simply describing a feature of reality as we know it..

Unfortunately most people don't realize or understand that almost all the variables of being human lies on a spectrum. This includes length, weight, body type, colour, gender, sexuality, gregariousness, aptitudes, interests, intelligence, etc. Calling someone an anomaly for falling on one end of any of these traits is definitely ignorance and discrimination akin to racism.

Uh no it is not. I can wiggle my ears and I'm double jointed. That makes me and those features a biological anomaly because these feature are rare. There is no racism going on here because I am a statistical anomaly.

Let me be utterly clear again. In the real world, in reality as we know it. There will ALWAYS exist things that are outside of the norm. Things that are "anomalous." To deny the existence of anomalies, or to deny the existence of REALITY is WRONG. This is not racism. To let political correctness control your dialogue and beliefs is as ignorant as letting religion do the same.

You are making two grave errors in your interpretation of reality.

First, what part of nature says EVERYTHING human must be a spectrum? There is no hard rule about this AT all. Things can have binary states, trinary states OR CAN exist in a spectrum. For example. I have a penis. Many people do not. That is binary. Perhaps a hermaphrodite lives on a spectrum but the scientific reality is, that the hermaphrodite is so few in number that it is in actuality a statistical anomaly. Lets get even deeper. Your DNA has 2 types of chromosomes. An X and a Y chromosome. There is no W chromosome and therefore these two chromosomes are binary DO NOT exist in a SPECTRUM. Get it?

Second, you don't even know what a "spectrum" really is. Even in a "spectrum" there can be anomalies. If you know about statistics you'd know that spectrums are usually bell curves: A hump in the middle with two tails on both sides.... The hump in the middle of the bell curve is the most populous and most "normal" part of the spectrum and the tail ends are the most rare and therefore "anomalous."

What disgust me is the twisting of words by people who are ignorant. There is NOTHING wrong with being anomalous... an anomaly is neither wrong or right it is just a word that illustrates rarity. A person with an IQ of 342 is an anomaly on the tail tail end of the bell curve and while it is an anomaly there is nothing wrong with being crazy smart.

This accusatory BS of calling me a racist is disgusting and vile and gravely serious. You better take back your statements, what your saying is not trivial or true and is a deeply personal insult. My ancestors were asian americans and victims of white supremacy and racism. If you're white and calling me racist well...

Dude, it is really unhealthy to get this angry at an anonymous stranger on the internet. I have definitely become overly invested in internet conversations before and suffered needlessly because of it, so I can relate. I wish you the best.

P.S. Most people don't want to be called an "anomoly". It sounds quite negative. I know you didn't mean it that way, but that is how other people interpret it.

>P.S. Most people don't want to be called an "anomoly". It sounds quite negative. I know you didn't mean it that way, but that is how other people interpret it.

Ok maybe I made mistake here. But the reaction to my mistake is that they decided to call me a racist. The difference here is that although I did not mean to convey what you implied... @AstralStorm and @Hermandw meant what they said 110%.

They accused me of being racist.

There is no one more guilty of racism against my race then the white man. So unless any of you are not white... back off.

Introverts are a race?

And I would say you are the victim of pro-extravert brainwashing. The most shocking thing I've learned from the book "Quiet" that there was an general attitude towards intrawerts that they are somehow deficient, and, what's worse, actual discrimination against them at universities.

Being introvert does not mean you are antisocial, you just don't need to socialize that much. It may be very enjoyable but it is also so draining.

There's no brainwashing going on. I myself am an introvert. I'm not discriminating. However despite being an introvert, i still do desire to interact with other people.

There is a social aspect to my and human nature that cannot be denied.

One example: 99% of introverts want to have sex with the opposite gender and interact with them despite your introversion. A good number also want to have kids and interact with those kids. You may value your "recharge" time but despite this most introverts also seek to socialize and interact with other people. It's a conflicting desire, but to be human is to be social, you cannot deny biology.

Look at the way humans live. We live in cities, towns or tribes. A very very small amount of us live in isolation outside of towns, tribes and cities. I would argue that most introverts live in a community and are unwilling to go far enough to live in total isolation. We are animals that live in groups. We are herd animals. My guess is that introversion stems from defensive instincts designed to deal with creatures outside of the herd.

That's what I call success ;

Thanks a lot

lol, not sure if your intention was naming LFGSS to be eerily similar to the acronym "LFG" which means Looking For Group

As a man is pretty damn hard keeping friends after the age of 30, especially if you happen to go trough a divorce when suddenly more than half (if not more) of your friends get to “choose” the other side. Yeah, you get to ask your friends back from high-school or college out for a beer but chances are they’re also in a middle of a divorce or they’re too busy with family requirements (can’t blame them) or too stressed out because of work reasons. And then there are all those friends who have moved town or even country. All in all things are not so easy.

An important post-30 strategy that I use is to assume that all friends with children are prisoners in their own home. You know exactly where they are. You know they don't have plans. They are desperate for adult conversation. That means you can invite yourself over, bring takeout, and basically make their day. I'm coupled but this should work as a single.

Our parent friends say it's actually easier to be friends with child-free people because they don't have the complications of arranging around the kids. We arrive just as the kids are going to bed so that we can say a perfunctory hello and then usually leave by 10:30p.

It’s totally true. I actually started a little get together based on exactly that premise in my neighborhood.

Me and some other dads get together on Wednesday night at 9pm to step out and get 1 drink at a local pub. Usually doesn’t last more than an hour because we all have work the next day, but it gets us out after the kids are in bed on a day and time when none of us have scheduled plans.

> That means you can invite yourself over

It is fairly common for a man to marry a woman who does not like his friends. Then, the wife does not want the husband’s friends at their home. So, you cannot invite yourself over, and the man is so busy with giving his wife sufficient attention and with childraising that he cannot easily go out to meet his friends in another location.

It is not common and if you experience this then you are: bad at setting your own boundaries, bad at mate selection, or bad at friend selection.

Men are not victims here. Have a hard look at why you think this and fix the problem.

I know lots and lots of people in very similar situations to what Mediterraneo described.

I’m not sure if I’d describe it as common, but having a partner who either directly, or passively aggressively, undermines your ability to maintain external friendships is a very real phenomenon.

It’s certainly not a healthy pattern, but it’s also pretty understandable. Relationships of all sorts need care and feeding. Sometimes intimate partner priorities push out friendships.

Different people experience this as more or less of a tragedy.

yeah that's really interesting, i'm wondering if you're in the US (or that's where your friends are)

in my experience in the US couples tend to basically turn into a military style cornered unit with an us vs the world attitude as soon as children come, where the focus becomes some mix of family:work to the exclusion of all other activities, to include hobbies, fitness, eating right, etc. i hear jokes about "date night" as if that's somehow abnormal, so it seems people have to move mountains just to get dinner together.

i wonder if in the US there just isn't any sort of community setup so couples feel like any energy shared outside that is somehow hostile to their survival, e.g., you hanging out with your friends means you're not "all in" on your family or something.

it could also be a signaling thing, e.g. if you signal you don't have time for friends, perhaps the world views you as really virtuous and family oriented.

The US and the UK (probably less so now than in the past) have a more extreme focus on the nuclear family than other countries.

There have been all sort of explanations offered from the Church promoting the nuclear family to reduce the power of extended family/clans to the black plague creating a housing surplus in England.

Part of it is the difficulty of the spread out suburban living situation. Growing up, most of my parents friends lived around 15-30 mins away by car. If they lived on the opposite side of town, an hour drive or so, we basically never saw them outside of big events like graduations or weddings.

In college, it was easy for me to maintain a lot of close knit relationships. No one was any farther than a 20 minute walk, usually half that, which made drinking pretty painless too. Bars, movies, food was all in between, and cheap.

Now I live in LA for grad school, and getting people in my classes to hang out on the weekends is like pulling teeth. As dense as the city is, it basically functions as one massive suburb from back east. Everyone is at least 20 minutes by car in every direction, there is zero parking, one of the worst bike lane networks in the U.S., and rarely a transit line. There's also the costs of doing literally anything. A night out could be $30 in ubers alone, and it doesn't help that I've yet to find a well drink in LA for under $10 that wasn't watered down. It's a recipe for apathy. At least hiking is free.

Not from US, have noticed this too. It’s to the point that I don’t even hit up most of my old US friends anymore, because to do so would feel like encroaching.

It’s hard to explain the vibe, but it’s there.

> if you experience this then you are: bad at setting your own boundaries, bad at mate selection, or bad at friend selection.

Indeed, many men are bad at some of those things. Attraction to a partner can be such a powerful motivation that one rushes to establish the relationship without thinking or caring about the effect it will have on one's social life. Then, once one is already married, there is a fairly widespread expectation that one’s social life has to acquiesce to what the spouse is comfortable with, and attempting to "set boundaries" in this matter would be inappropriate.

> Men are not victims here.

My post above concerned men because the linked article is about men, but it is people in general who are the victims here. I suspect that many women face the same problem in being unable to freely interact with their friends due to husbands who don't like their friend group.

I understand your perspective because I've been there but you can always start taking responsibility for codependence now by taking a hard look at how you place blame (regardless of your gender).

In most cases, both parties will contribute to the problem but someone needs to lead themselves and their partner out of the complementary neurosis and you do that by taking responsibility for your contribution then setting boundaries and working compassionately with the other person/people.

I don't even think it's people generally who are victims. I don't like victim mentality because it robs "the victim" of agency.

Definitely. A lot of people in these threads seem stuck when they aren't actually stuck. Not particularly surprising since that's all people all the time at least somewhere in their lives. But always worth reminding people that they have agency. Decent first stop if you are in patterns with your mate that make them out to be the enemy would be the book Crucial Conversations. A better first step would be therapy for yourself, followed by couples therapy. It's achievable to have a relationship where "I want X, how can we make this happen together?" is not a fraught conversation. Maybe the answer is an easy yes. Maybe the answer is that you need to bargain, offering something to get something. Maybe the answer is that your one friend is a jerk, but your other friend would be a welcome and hilarious guest. But nothing in that conversation should be scary if you put in a little bit of work on yourself and your relationship.

> Decent first stop if you are in patterns with your mate that make them out to be the enemy would be the book Crucial Conversations.

It is not necessarily a case of the husband considering his wife the enemy. It may well be that the husband is content enough with his marriage and parenthood that he simply accepts the wife’s dislike of having his friends over and other obstacles to socializing. Rather, the group that suffers from this circumstance is his former friends.

If you remain single, a noticeable part of the gradual loss of old friends in adulthood – as mentioned by others in this discussion – is your longtime friends getting married and then no longer being unable to maintain the friendship from their end. Obviously you cannot dictate to your friend and your friend’s spouse, and the onus is on you to look elsewhere for other sources of a social life, but it is natural to mourn the loss of a longtime friendship.

The third sentence doesn't follow.

The wife doesn't have to like his friends, just respect him enough to allow him scope to choose who he associates with: That's surely the majority situation?

In our relationship we both don't really care for the friends of each other, it's just how it shook out and nothing we'd leave another over as we both allow each other as much time with our friends as wanted.

BUT this obviously reduces occasions to mingle anyway as it's just a bit awkward of a situation every time as it feels like we impose a burden on each other and our friends don't feel very welcomed in our home compared to other places.

We've just received our second son so it's currently time again to have all our friends come over which makes it very visible how uncomfortable this is.

Finding new friends is possible, but it is something that just has to fit in a schedule that barely has any space for even the bare necessities of life as parents.

If your wife doesn’t like your friends, there is usually a reason. Your friends may be not respecting the marriage or trying to get you to do the same types of things you did when you were single.

It’s also entirely possible that the wife is controlling.

When someone is controlling, they usually aim to isolate the person they’re trying to control so that they don’t realize what the free world is like.

Both scenarios occur at about the same rate in my circle.

I am parent to a young child and your take is, at least in my case, ridiculously accurate. I wish more people would do this!

Child-free couples, unless of course you're talking playdates which is a social tree climb all its own. But single, disagree from experience. There's even a line from Nora Ephron's Heartburn, the book not the movie:

  Couples date couples.

Exactly. My wife and I have a grown son and a 17 year old. We won’t go over to couples houses with small kids or go out to dinner with couples that don’t have reliable babysitters where they bring their kids along.

who hang out with you when you had small kids?

I never had small kids - my “sons” are my stepsons - they were 9 and 14 when I met my now wife. She feels the same way. She’s raised her kids and now she wants to do “adult” things without kids running around and interrupting us.

Something weird happened in middle class culture when it became uncouth for married persons to go out without the spouse to see friends. Being a single parent is rough, but there's no reason to avoid socializing if you have a spouse -- unless you are shy and hiding behind your spouse, or are content to lean on your spouse and kids for your whole social life (which is a huge risk of long-term downside potential)

> An important post-30 strategy that I use is to assume that all friends with children are prisoners in their own home.

Wow, that sounds harsh, yet so true.

I should credit my partner for originating and articulating this idea: https://medium.com/better-humans/how-to-stay-friends-when-yo...

I sometimes wonder if I’m broken when I see comments like yours, which seem heartfelt and correct and as it should be (the desire for friendships that is). Maybe it’s because my wife and kids fill the void, but I just have no interest in making or maintaining friendships. My wife has a really cool coworker that tries to get me out of the house but i just kinda flop on him. I live in a secluded spot that you can’t see from the road and work from home 95% of the time.

I see it in my youngest daughter as well, and I do worry for her and am applying gentle pressure to get her to socialize...but I’m pretty much good to go. Maybe things will change down the road but I’m in my mid 40’s sooo.

>Maybe things will change down the road but I’m in my mid 40’s sooo.

My dad was like this, his free-time basically revolved around us kids when we were younger and we had a great time. Then we got a little older and I could tell he'd be a little disappointed when we'd be busy with friends/other stuff on the weekends, but we'd still be together most week nights. Then when we went off to college/adult life, he really had nothing to do. My mom had friends to hang out with, but for him, she was all he had really and I think at that point it was too weird/hard for him to branch out and make new friends.

I'm not saying you shouldn't put family first, but it's not a bad idea to maintain some relationships or else that empty nest is going to hit you HARD eventually.

I also really, really second this. I am currently studying and took some interest in how other parents managed the situation (because of how my parents dealt with it).

If your life revolves around your kids you have to keep in mind that this is not for life. Loosing all your hobbies and all your friends will lead to a bad awakening when you realize that your previously laughter-filled house is now quite, your children left for university and only you and your partner are sitting at the dinner table. Now the house is too big, there's nothing to do in the evenings and you're kinda lost.

A suprising amount of marriages failed and some parents really lost their way. When you don't have any real friends, friends that help when you struggle, it gets tough. You can't fill that void with half-assed hobbies. Eating out on wednesday and going to the gym on friday are probably not really helping.

Writing this, I think I realized something. I think one of the problems is that parents understimate the speed of change and are taken fully by suprise when they move out. One moment they are 16, quite grown up but you still notice the children in them. But then they turn 17 and then there's only one year left until they move out, until they live by their own and explore the world on their own. They maybe move to another city and that turns your complete life upside down. That's a rapid change and it's only 2 years.

I’m in my 40s also and I find most of my social needs are met by my wife. She has two groups of friends that she likes to spend time with but I’m okay spending time alone when she is out with her friends.

I have a couple of friends that we force ourselves to get together at least once every other month to at least have lunch but we are all in the same boat - married, jobs, hobbies, side projects or studying so we have to explicitly schedule it on our calendars.

I don’t think it is healthy to depend on only one person for your emotional support and my wife isn’t interested in hearing about the latest geeky stuff that we talk about it. I have another friend who is across the country but we try to catch up once a month.

>I see it in my youngest daughter as well, and I do worry for her

It's good that you worry. As children of staunch loners, my siblings and I all turned into loners as adults. Edit: We don't even talk to each other.

This is an important point for jcims' situation: If you want your kids to get out, then get out yourself. You have to be a role model for getting out - both in the sense that the kids see that you had fun doing so and as a model for the skills used to master the situation (e.g. casually talking to people, gift culture, helping each other out and so on. The specifics obviously differ for different (sub-)cultures).

The role model thing is often overlooked when parenting. If you want your kids to do sports, let them see you doing sports etc.

I sort of agree with this but my parents constantly had people over when I was a kid. That and my oldest daughter is a raging socialite at college, lead RA, secretary for the university student govt, just got invited to box seats with the university executive leadership for a football game, has 3-4 friend groups and a core couple deep friends that she meets constantly.

A little nature a little nurture, but to be clear I do agree with you that it's better to model than not.

Yes, we are in full agreement here :) The parental role model part won't override the Big Five in most cases. Parental behaviour does help in expanding the possibilty space a bit, though (e.g. an extravert can - to a certain degree - learn to relax while being alone and vice versa).

The other caveeat I conveniently ignored is that parents are usually adults, so the image they provide is for adult behaviour. Kids won't necessarily transfer that fully into their current situation. It does shape their inner image of adult behaviour, though (which starts to become more relevant as the kids enter the early teenager years).

> I sometimes wonder if I’m broken when I see comments like yours,

Or maybe other people have the wisdom to know that the kids will move out, the job will change, and that looking past the present moment and planning for the future includes developing hobbies and relationships outside of your immediate family

Think about it this way. If you find friends that vibe well with you, you're reducing the pressure on your family later in life to keep you connected. It is a real concern.

The risk is what you'll do when your kids are grown and move out. I definitely recommend, for your own mental health, to build some kind of other life outside your kids before it hits you like a ton of bricks.

You're not broken. If your family is your number one interest and responsibility, then you're doing life correctly. Don't let anyone else tell you differently.

Just be careful not to smother your family with your interest in them. I've met some parents with broken relationships with their kids because they failed to recognize that they needed some space as they got older.

Yes my family is my number one interest, but not my only interest. My (step) sons who loved to spend time with me when we met and they were 9 and 14 - now one doesn’t live with us and the other is 17 with his own friends and interests.

My wife’s interests and my interests are well enough aligned that we like spending time together, but she has her own interests and own set of female friends.

Then you should consider your life a success.

No Silicon Valley billionaire's fortune can compare to the responsibility and reward of raising a good family.

> my wife and kids fill the void

This is pretty common among men, but what happens if you get divorced? Any plan-b?

What is interesting is that most people understand the concept of a plan B when it comes to things like what university they will attend, their careers, their financial safety nets, etc. But they assume their marriage will last forever. As you imply, it’s a big mistake.

Assuming your marriage lasts forever is kind of the point. It's an existential leap-of-faith.

You or your partner will die at some point, and your marriage will end then, right? What happens after that?

That's a personal question that you can't really answer until you're at that point.

But I don't think that has much effect on the marriage itself. If that is how it ends, then the marriage truly did last "forever" in a way :)

I don't think my marriage would be as good if I went into it with an exit plan.

For instance, it would be easier for some things, especially huge things, to be "her problem" instead of "our problem" if I had an escape hatch present in my subconscious.

I think that making the husband socially dependent on the wife is bad for the same reasons making the wife financially dependent on the husband is. You can say that it goes against the spirit of marriage, but I'd say that those things makes people stay in unhealthy relationships.

I didn't say anything like that.

Neither of my grandparents "escaped" (by which I assume you mean divorce), yet it still ended, and my grandmother lived over 30 years alone.

Sure. That's typically in the vows.

I was more saying that people don't vow to be together "until I get a few promotions, you get fat, or I contract chronic FOMO-itis". Those who have expectations like that tend to be hurting themselves too.

Where are your children supposed to find role models on how to have healthy relationships with friends if their parents aren't being that role model?

Sitcom characters? Lord of the Flies our schools are?

In this area, their mom. As i said elsewhere my oldest really couldn’t be more social. I just think our youngest isn’t catching that same wave so I’m stepping up my efforts to round out what she sees.

The problem is that it’s going to be fake, which gets back to the core of my question.

> but I just have no interest in making or maintaining friendships.

There's a possibility that bowling alone often becomes so common that its hard to imagine bowling with others.

You're not broken. I've always been the kind of person who's happy to have one to three close friends, and that's it. After getting married, I stopped feeling any need to reach out and try to make new connections.

There may be value to the perspectives given by others as to the value of making friends now before the kids grow up, but I just wanted to chime in and reassure you that you're not the only one who feels no need right now. :)

> I sometimes wonder if I’m broken when I see comments like yours

I'd wager a guess that most of us feel broken, some way or another. But that's just a guess; I imagine that some psychology or sociology journal has empirical data on that.

But even if you're an outlier, it seems like you're pretty content and not making other people miserable, so I wouldn't really call that "broken".

My parents were like this. I ended up feeling resentful of their attitude as a kid. They whenever I changed schools, it took me a long time to make friends because I didn't have good examples to follow. Even when I did, I always felt like the odd one out because all my friends parents hung out together, but I wasn't invited since my parents had no social interests.

Do you have a hobbie that's not your work?

Nope. That is, my hobby is my computer.

I moved to another country at the age of 30, which meant the number of friends I had dropped to 0.

What worked for me was starting dancing tango, where I built a newer, better and larger network than the one I previously had. I guess this can apply to any social activity where you can interact with people, be it social dancing or coocking classes.

This is amazing, it really shows character that you take action to solve your problems and are successful in doing so.

So please know that this is not aimed at you personally...


I am so freaking sick of people recommending others to pickup either salsa or tango! Not of the people that recommend this themselves but are there really no other options? Tango/salsa classes seem to get recommended again, again and again, I get that it's a fun activity with a good gender balance, forced interaction and just enough tension to naturally provide a fun atmosphere but is there nothing else??

I don't wanna tango :(

There are like a million activities. Martial arts, team sports, crossfit. Volunteer work, soup kitchens, helping children and those with special needs, respite care. Outdoors activities like hiking groups. Oddball niche hobby groups like fan clubs.

Like whatever. Some of those are more gender balanced than others but the basic premise is get out there into a group and do something that scares you a little based around a common activity.

Things like this feel "hard" to do because of emotional resistance, it's actually super simple and straightforward from a logistical standpoint.

I couldn’t care less about tango either. For my friends, video games are a great platform for socializing.

I’ve always enjoyed games like Pokémon, Age of Empires, WoW so my friends and I schedule time to play together.

We played AoE II together recently and it was super fun, even though we repeatedly get stomped by the hard AI.

If you see people in public doing something, try joining them. I discovered Archery that way, and others have joined my esperanto group like that. The important thing is to not drive between two destinations all the time. Sometimes try travelling in other ways or dawdling through the retail places and there's a good chance to find something.

> I am so freaking sick of people recommending others to pickup either salsa or tango! Not of the people that recommend this themselves but are there really no other options? Tango/salsa classes seem to get recommended again, again and again, I get that it's a fun activity with a good gender balance, forced interaction and just enough tension to naturally provide a fun atmosphere but is there nothing else?

How about contra dance? https://trycontra.com

(I maintain that site, and play in https://freeraisins.com and https://kingfisherband.com)

Tons. Most cities will have a social club with a range of activities.

Go look on meetup for "social" club type things, or choose a sport and Google for clubs, or whatever. Boardgame clubs, programmer meetups, kayaking, rambling, rock climbing, etc.

Volunteering is another option for meeting people.

Second volunteering. I moved to a completely different city with no friends and I felt purpose and community the moment I started doing volunteer work, everything a lonely person could ask for!

It has to start with the music. If you like tango music, you might like tango. If you like swing music, you might like swing dancing. Same with salsa.

For example, I can't stand bachata music and so I pass on bachata dancing. But I like cuban music, so I'm a casino dancer.

Start with the music.

It doesn't have to be your favorite thing, it just has to be better than being lonely. Lots of people will be there actively or casually looking for new friends - there's nothing stopping you from going for a month then suggesting to a group that you check out some new activity next week.

depending on the area there are various sports clubs out there (I do badminton every once in a while and have met fun people there)

Also just going to tech meetups or something related to an actual hobby? There are definitely things going on.

If you’re looking for something with a decent gender balance then yeah something sports-y will probably work out better

Group tennis classes work for me, I enjoy them greatly. Do whatever you want if you're not doing it to meet women.

> I don't wanna tango :(

What do you want to do?

I did this with Crossfit. Met people very similar to me who like beer, football (soccer), video games and got my diet and fitness together at the same time (except the beer:)

I did the same. Moved abroad in my mid 20s, effectively restarting my life in several respects. It can be hard to make new friends when you're in your late 30s/early 40s, but I'm ok with just a few.

Yup, absolutely. Friends I've made after finishing school have been through shared interests, activities, or clubs - running, homebrewing, etc.

Martial arts are also a good option for this.

The unsettling thing is how normal your comment makes divorce sound, and how much statistics back that up. As if it's just a thing that is an expected part of life.

People need to stop getting married, or at least not so early. Marriage is a very intensive (and rewarding) commitment that I think most modern people cannot make. Instead, foster relationships that matter for as long as they matter.

I was in a serious relationship from 19-25. These things end because people change a lot in those years. We both graduated and went in different directions. Which I think is perfectly fine. Relationships will change. You can absolutely start new ones. Join pretty much any club that meets in person. Commit time to those who enrich your life, cut loose those who harm it.

Here's the thing: divorce is much less common in first time marriages than in all other marriages. That is to say, divorce is much more common among those who have divorced already.

While relationships can change, those in them can chose to grow together or to grow apart. Well, it's not always a choice, but the sense of fatalism regarding change isn't necessarily warranted.

The issue is that people end up at age 40 with no ltr, no marriage, and no kids, and end up as fodder for this article. Because it gets a lot harder to find your ltr then; women generally are at the "last chance kid" stage and have been around the block, so LTR steve usually gets a very cold eye unless he sees the light and wants a marriage too.

So if they don't marry and then decide to split up after a long time, how is that really different from the same happening to s married couple? It's not the word "divorce" that makes the breakup painful.

> Marriage is a very intensive (and rewarding) commitment that I think most modern people cannot make.

I just want to nit-pick and put the emphasis on the modern world rather than the modern people ^^.

>Marriage is a very intensive (and rewarding) commitment that I think most modern people cannot make

If we're going to make generalizations about whole generations of people then: I wouldn't call staying in an abusive relationship because of stigma of being divorced to be a positive of the past or a sign of commitment.

This is an American thing. I'm European, 27 and I'm regularly shocked after conversing with people my age on the other continent casually mentioning their 'husband' or 'wife and kids'.

It’s not an American thing. It’s like this everywhere. Poland, England, Germany, uSA, Ireland, Australia. Everywhere.

"Everywhere", meaning the Western developed world.

Even without going through a divorce it's hard. Most of my friends over the years and I have mostly lost touch other than happy birthdays and the occasional 'hey what's going on? We should hang out some time when we're both not busy' But, understandably, people are tired or busy with things and it never really works out. My coworker's lives are all pretty different from mine. Either they're young, early 20's and I can't really relate to them and they're doing their thing or they're older and spend their time with their families. I've tried making friends online in different places, it sort of ends up being the same though, you talk for a while frequently, then you both get busy or whatever.

I moved to Japan when I was 39 and because I decided to stay here, it basically meant losing all my close friends (well, they are still friends, of course -- but it's not a "Let's hang out on a Wednesday night" type of friendship anymore).

When I first moved to Japan, I spent a lot of time trying to make friends. Because there are a lot of lonely expats, I found it easy to do. However, there was one thing that I didn't really take into account: the main thing we had in common was loneliness.

Over time, the relationships didn't work out. I even had some really bizarre (and extremely troubling) experiences with people denouncing and shunning me because I decided to adopt Japanese culture (apparently a betrayal of my original culture and appropriation of my adopted culture -- some people really are seriously screwed up.... :-( ).

What I realised was that when I was young, because the population of potential friends is large, I could choose friends who liked me for who I was. When I moved to this new population, the only potential friends I had (especially with my lack of Japanese language skill at the time) were being picked out of a population of lonely people. Most of them didn't care about me. Some of them even hated me (even the idea of me was repugnant to them). It is seriously weird to have "friends" that hate you.

Being alone is definitely better than being in an abusive relationship, IMHO (though it takes quite a lot of effort to see this). I realised that it was virtually impossible for me to find real friends the way I had been approaching it. It was best to just hang out with people I enjoyed and to stay away from people I didn't enjoy -- even if that meant being alone.

It can be tough, but really I think the secret is to just fill your life with activities that you enjoy and that bring you closer to other people with similar interests. Eventually you will happen to meet someone who is in a similar place to you. But if not, at least you are having a good time in the process.

I think this can be a cultural phenomenal, and what culture enforces who or how we ought to act at a certain age. I've traveled a lot in Europe. And it is amazing different kinds interesting people you meet. It makes movies and netflix boring.

I find people there tend to maintain more close relationship male and female. I person know someone way beyond his 30's, have many many groups of close personal male and female friends. He once told me that having these close relationship and maintaining them has tremendously improved his quality of his life and it is something he would NOT trade for any amount of money in the world.

The idea that one must marry at certain age have career at certain age is insane. Do what you like when you want to do it. Timing is important.

I see why friends who are busy with family would not have time to go out, but those in the middle of a divorce should be prime material for drowning a few beers together.

There is an incredible amount of stress following a divorce. What will happen with the kids. Where will everyone live. Can I afford to live the same life style. Who will our friends choose. And probably 100 things I have forgotten. I was not the same person after divorcing for I would say about 3 years. I felt out of place. Lost. Certainly not wanting to go grab a beer. It was not a celebration and if anything for a long time one feels like they had failed at something. So I can see how anyone going through a divorce is high risk for social isolation.

Don't you have any hobbies that give you a social life outside your work or family?

A great many people in the USA work well beyond 40h a week, and have a few hours of daily commute time on top of that.

For them the weekends are for recovery; there is no physical or emotional energy for social engagement or self care.

My opinion, most of the united states communal infrastructure is a wasteland.

It is not just the US. 10 hour workdays (officially 7.8, but if you would actually 'just' do that and skip the 8am or the 6pm meetings you will not be keeping up with the Joneses and pay the piper) and spend 2-3 hours in commuting each day doesn't leave much for hobbies.

Meetings outside the working hours?! Where is this common?

Here we work 9-6, but even in the places I've worked on where unpaid overtime was common (otherwise you wouldn't keep up with the workload), no manager would have the gall to schedule regular meetings outside working hours.

> Meetings outside the working hours?! Where is this common?

If you have people in, for example, London and San Francisco, how can you possibly have a meeting inside both people's 9-5 working hours?

> how can you possibly have a meeting inside both people's 9-5 working hours?

Don't have 9-5 working hours? Having a meeting at 8 is okay, but that should mean people get to leave earlier as well.

You can always have meetings inside working hours if you’re prepared to expand working hours either side as much as needed like that!

In the modern international economy you’re going to have to be a bit flexible with hours.

Moving the hours around (from 9-5 to 8-4 or 10-6) is not expanding them, and it's already being flexible.

I don't get it then - you asked when do people have meetings outside normal working hours as if it was some sort of travesty that nobody would 'have the gall' to do, and now you're saying it's absolutely fine you just move your hours around...

PeterStuer, to whose post I originally replied, said those meetings were held outside working hours, so people effectively had "10 hour workdays".

I don't see why is it hard to understand the difference between having a 10 hour workday or having a shifted 8 hour workday.

> Meetings outside the working hours?! Where is this common?

In all FAANG companies I worked at when I had geographically distributed teams.

2-3 hours commuting is not the norm. The average commute in the US is around 25 minutes each way, so roughly 1 hour total. Super-long commutes are almost non-existent outside a handful of metro areas.

If you’re dealing with a very long commute, it might be worth it to move to a different metro, even if it requires a substantial pay cut. I think most people under-estimate the negative impact that a long commute has on their life.

It's true; China has the 996 problem, for instance.

Hobbies might not be sufficient for a social life.

I used to train seriously in mixed-martial arts. While I had no issue with any of my training mates, I also had zero interest in hanging out with them. Likewise for other, strictly cerebral, activities.

Maybe not as in 'having a beer at each others houses', but when you go to each others fights as a team, go to seminars/camps together, or just work through your fight prep together at 4 or 6 week periods at a time, you develop bonds that cannot be described any other way than 'friendships', wouldn't you say? I mean sure, training 2 to 5 times a week in the gym, saying hi when you come in and see you when you leave doesn't give you that, but you can't be a complete fighter without friendships. I mean if dripping sweat into another guys mouth and rubbing all over each other wearing tights doesn't build friendships, what does?

One thing that is valuable is activities with downtime where you’re forced to get to know one another outside of the activity. If you do something like martial arts or rowing (which I do), it’s when you travel for competitions that you bond. Activities like skiiing where you share housing for the season gives downtimebto get to know people between the activity. Hiking and camping is another good one where you spend time at the campsite at the end of the day preparing food together.

Diving is great for that - long hours spent “off-gassing” with nothing to do but talk to others on the same boat

Or the military reserves - no better place to meet a large number of adults.

Does the internet count

What are good hobbies for that?

>especially if you happen to go trough a divorce when suddenly more than half (if not more) of your friends get to “choose” the other side. Yeah, you get to ask your friends back from high-school or college out for a beer but chances are they’re also in a middle of a divorce

That's really interesting, because so few of my friends are even married at that age. But a lot of that may be where you're from.

To be more accurate, this problem isn't gender specific. The problem is real and impacts everyone.

I think part of the problem is that social media, and Facebook in particular, has cheapened the meaning of the word "friend."

I see people on HN all the time saying that they have better friends far away via social media than they have in their own neighborhoods and offices. It's popular inside the tech bubble to believe that digital communication is as good or better than real communication, but it isn't.

That's a lesson one of my family members is learning right now, and the rest of us by proxy.

She was walking to work one day and got run over by a car. Living in a different state, 1,300 miles from her family, she didn't bother making new friends because she could still communicate digitally with the people already in her online relationship cloud.

But where are they in her time of need? When she needs actual friends, not social media friends? None of her Facebook "friends" are going to go to her apartment and bring clean underwear and toiletries to her in the hospital. None of her Twitter followers are going to move her car so she doesn't accumulate tickets over the next six months when the street sweepers and snow plows come. None of her Instagram people are coming to see her, to comfort her, to see how she's doing and just talk to her during visiting hours.

When she regained the use of one hand, she started looking at social media again, and realized it is all so hollow. Talk, platitudes, and shameless self-promotion does not make a real relationship.

When she comes out of this, I hope she realizes the value of real human-to-human connections. But because she's as addicted to social media as the companies want her to be, I believe she will relapse into the void of fake friendships once again.

I'm not sure I buy your explanation at all. Social media may make distant friends feel closer, but I don't think this explains the lack of close friends. I understand that this is a data point of 1, but this article and the HN comments all ring true to me, and I hardly ever use social media.

Most of my not very close friends also don't use social media. A friend of mine tried creating a group on facebook to help coordinate social events for a group of dads and almost universally the wives ended up RSVPing for their respective husband.

When we ended up getting together we ended up talking about work and our houses and all the different things we're doing. Men have a tendency to communicate differently (IMO society has trained us to do so) than women. When my wife gets together with her friends they talk about how they're feeling about things and their relationships. This leads to men having a tendency to have more superficial relationships.

It feels like a probable reason. Imagine moving to another place while still keeping exactly the same contact with the same people in the old place and imagine doing the same, with no contact of the same people.

In the later case, you will most likely force yourself out to meet and engage with people because eventually you will long it. You might not need a lot of it, but seems human really need at least some other human contact (most of us at least).

In the first case, you get human contact, but only the surface. Would probably take you way longer to realize you need that in-person human contact.

Can’t find it right now, but I recall some research showing that friendship for men is basically with whatever other men you’re around the most. If you’re a man and want more friends, you probably need to get a new job. Or make a long-term commitment to showing up to the same place where other men are also committed to showing up (AA meetings, church, sports team, etc). Or just be friends with the husbands of your wife’s friends.

The good news is you don’t need a sparkling wit or anything, you just have to show up.

> some research showing that friendship for women is basically with whatever other women you’re around the most. If you’re a woman and want more friends, you probably need to get a new job. Or make a long-term commitment to showing up to the same place where other women are also committed to showing up (AA meetings, church, sports team, etc). Or just be friends with the wifes of your husband’s friends.

I replaced "men" with "women" and it still feels true. Think this is just in general how humans build friendships with each other. Maybe also add "making an effort to hang out with your already existing friends friends"

Not really. It’s possible for women to say, “I love your earrings,” and be best friends ten minutes later. I dare you to try that as a man.

Not sure if this is a joke, but it's neither as easy you believe it to be for women, or as hard you think it is for men.

No, it does not work like that. I can say "I love your earrings" and have nice friendly idle conversation about bullshit. It takes waaay more to get a friend you can really talk with or open up.

The equivalent is a guy saying something about soccer and the two having nice idle chat about match or something. Not a friend, but conversation happened.

Not earrings, but I’ve done it with clothing, hairstyles, jewelry, etc. and it’s brought out us being friends. I don’t think it’s that uncommon between men.

At the same time, I’ve met women that haven’t made as many friends with other women, and find it hard to do so. I don’t know if it’s so clear-cut like that.

Or perhaps men and women are innately different after hundreds of thousands of generations of sexually dimorphic evolution, and this affects the manner in which they socialize?

It seems we've brainwashed an entire generation into believing that all differences in male and female are purely social constructs - which is total nonsense.

My experience has been that men and women have far more things in common than we have things in difference. There are of course differences between men and women, but I think that if I had a rigid belief that how men and women socialize was this large, unbreachable, genetically determined gulf, I would have lost out on a lot of really great friendships and relationships.

We don't think much about evolution or biological determinism on so many other subjects - for example, we were hunter-gatherers for most of our history, but we don't seem to discuss that very much in our post-agriculture society, or think that it limits us from building civilizations the way we do today. So why say on this subject that we are biologically limited in this specific way?

I'm not saying that there is no difference between men or women at all, you're jumping to conclusions here, way too quickly.

From my point of view, this particular social behavior doesn't seem to differ too much though, but I would agree with you that there are other behaviors/attributes that are very different between men or women.

> you don’t need a sparkling wit or anything, you just have to show up

True of many things in life

One thing I haven't seen mentioned: 'Friends' in your teens and twenties are often really about having someone to hang around with while looking for a mate. So you won't look like a lone loser at the club, or in social situations, or so that you get to meet members of the opposite/preferred sex through the group.

Once people get married and have kids, all of that falls away, and so do the 'friends'. You don't hook up with new people, because either they want partners to ride shotgun with them while hunting for a mate, or they are set up too. What's left are people you have a real connection with, usually people you were friends with since you were kids, and those few family members you can stand being around. For many, that is a small to non-existing group. What's left is your wife and kids, and honestly? The best company there is, IMHO. And I am not worried about what I will do when the kids leave and my wife divorces me, silly me.

> One thing I haven't seen mentioned: 'Friends' in your teens and twenties are often really about having someone to hang around with while looking for a mate. So you won't look like a lone loser at the club, or in social situations, or so that you get to meet members of the opposite/preferred sex through the group.

I have never thought of my friends that way. Nor have I ever met someone who gave me the impression they thought of their friends that way. Maybe not everyone thinks life revolves around "looking for a mate"?

I can attest that I had a couple of such friends. I didn’t realize it at the time but once you get a girlfriend, they just fall away (I didn’t analyze as to why but fall away they do).

I do think fondly of some of them. I’m grateful for having met them and for all the fun.

Here's an easy solution guys - make friends with more women.

A couple years ago my wife asked for a divorce (we are still married but separated). It was very much a wake up call that I was very dependent upon her emotionally and I had neglected my other friendships. I did two things. I invested myself in some old friends from high school and college, but as none of them are living in my city, I realized that I really needed to invest in new friends.

Several friends that I did have were runners, and they suggested that I join one or two local running clubs which I did. I wasn't and am still not a "runner", but now I have so many friends I don't know what to do with myself. I am I'm as happy as I've ever been in terms of having friends with whom to socialize. There are presumably clubs like that in every city. Obviously would help to be a runner, but like I said, I am not. I run for social reasons not because I enjoy it.

Another interesting thing with socializing in middle-age is that 4/5 of my friends now are women. I think that's because women make better friends. They are more outgoing. They are more emotionally aware. They're more willing to invest in friendships. I think guy friendships are harder because of social expectations of of what a male friendship is - especially if like me you don't enjoy drinking or spectator sports.

To be frank, this rings a bit like “How to beat depression? Just be happier!”

Of the “lonely men” I know most are the type who simply don’t put themselves out there to make friends in the first place. For some this is problematic, for a select few this is self imposed.

As a guy, at least for friendship, I have no reservations about “putting myself out there.” You’d be surprised how many folks you meet can’t or won’t, but are normal folks and great friends once that initial obstacle is overcome.

At the end of the day, different strokes for different folks. If you make better friends with women, get at it.

I was of the type that didn't put myself out there. Certainly I had to get over that first. I have male friends who are lonely, and I keep saying that you do need to get outside your comfort zone.

I hear that lots but it always leaves me wondering, what is the thing that actually gets you to do it?

If the solution were that easy, there wouldn't be a problem.

Putting yourself out there isn't easy - at least not at first. Build confidence in small steps.

>>>I think guy friendships are harder because of social expectations of of what a male friendship is - especially if like me you don't enjoy drinking or spectator sports.

What kind of men have you tried to socialize with that you feel "male friendship" largely = drinking and sports?

I don't drink, and I hate sports. Most of the dudes I know are on the same wavelength, and I don't think they were that hard to find. They are content to go to a coffee shop or other business and shoot the shit about [cars; investing; tech; gaming; politics] while trying to meet more women (in other words, regardless of how many women they already have in their sex life, they are ALWAYS screening new applicants). Only one guy I can think of has female friends he socializes with that he's NOT also banging or used to bang.

"Women have platonic friends. Men don't have platonic friends, we just have women we haven't f---'d yet. As soon as I figure this out, I'm in there!" --Chris Rock [1]


>Most of the dudes I know are on the same wavelength

Not so much here. Perhaps is because I'm in Pittsburgh. I should move to Seattle ;)

I agree. As single person, it was much easier having female friends. I was much more comfortable having deep emotional platonic female friends. I don’t like doing most “guy stuff”. I don’t care about sports, but I’m very comfortable taking certain types of non dancy fitness classes - I use to teach them. But most of my female friends then were people who trusted me implicitly because I knew then from high school and college. I couldn’t imagine finding myself single again and making new female friends who didn’t immediately think that I couldn’t just want a platonic friendship.

So much this! I am happily married but my wife understands that I tend to connect better with female friends than males. It took some time for me to reject the social taboo of a married male hanging out with platonic women friends but I’ve been so much happier for it.

I don't think there is a social taboo - I think it's more of a self-imposed taboo because we've been told forever that men and woman can't just be friends. I've found that if you are clear that you just want to be friends then there is no discomfort, and they will treat you nearly exactly the same as they treat there female friends. They will share their feelings, their concerns, their aspirations. That what needs to happen to be good friends. And you need to share also!

Oh, and be prepared for lots of these friends sending signals that they would like to be more than friends. How you handle that is obviously up to you.

> Oh, and be prepared for lots of these friends sending signals that they would like to be more than friends. How you handle that is obviously up to you.

That’s exactly why it’s difficult. This doesn’t happen with my male friends.

Oh, it can happen with male friends too ;)

In my case at the moment I am still married so I have that shield. I will lose that when I get divorced.

> I think it's more of a self-imposed taboo because we've been told forever that men and woman can't just be friends.

It's pretty interesting to think that men and women being friends is a very recent phenomenon, maybe starting in the 70s.

Before then, you got married at 19 or a similarly young age, and it wasn't appropriate to be friends with another man's wife.

The issue with having “platonic” female friends is that it can easily lead to emotionally infidelity and trust issues anytime there is a hint of any issues with your marriage. Maintaining a healthy marriage is hard enough without bringing in that complication. My only female friends these days are married and we are “couple friends”.

This may be good advice in general but it’s not a problem for us. I have a pretty good radar for when emotional intimacy starts to cross a line and I’m comfortable communicating boundaries.

You reach an age (I have) where that's just no longer an issue.

> Here's an easy solution guys - make friends with more women

I'm male. And I'm going to say that most of the women I know would prefer you didn't offer this advice. Women frequently do a ton of emotional labor for men and receive little back. There's already quite a bit of imbalance. Many men rely on the women in their life for support rather than the men.

Most women I know do enjoy their male friends but still wish the men in their lives had more male friends.

Who on earth are you to tell someone not to make friends with women? I struggle to interpret that charitibly

That is an interesting point. I know that in my case I give as much as I take emotionally - in fact I think I give more.

Sorry, I know this will trigger some folks, but this is exactly why I never understood the backlash against "toxic masculinity" that I see from (male) friends whenever the term comes up. Who said it's supposed to be toxic only for others?

Being a stereotypically "manly" man would prevent me in particular from expressing some of the things that make me feel the least lonely, from simple things like cooking and being proud of having made some simple art or handicraft, to hugging friends when I feel down, or being able to vent frustration, fear and other negative feelings in a non-violent way. And I'm not even marginalized by any means. Straight white European tech bro, really. In essence, if I felt bound to any common stereotype of "Man: as seen on TV" I'd be barred from having meaningful connections with those I call friends.

I think it's mostly due to the phrase "toxic masculinity"; it's far too easy to misunderstand it as "masculinity is toxic" - and it doesn't help when someone asks for examples; stuff like stoicism and strength can come up. These aren't toxic. I've also spoken to people who actually believe independence (and wanting to be independent) is toxic.

As this is mostly a branding problem, I want to say I recently came across the phrase "Man Box"[1]. That might be a better phrase to use?

[1] Example: https://mindfulmasculinity.com/blog/manbox

Yep, toxic masculinity sounds like men have some kind of disease that they spread whenever they fart.

It isn't really a branding problem. "Toxic masculinity" consists of an adjective and a noun - the former modifying the latter and therefore describing a trait which applies to a subset of the latter. It's common English. A "red apple" isn't easy to misunderstand as "all apples are red." A "hot plate" doesn't imply all plates are always hot.

People who misunderstand this phrase refuse to do so even when the proper definition is given to them. It's not simple misunderstanding, as simple misunderstandings can be simply corrected, but willful ignorance. You can argue for hours and explain in excruciating detail that "toxic masculinity" doesn't mean "all masculinity is toxic," providing sources to that end, and at the end of the day people will still stand firm and refuse to accept it.

>As this is mostly a branding problem, I want to say I recently came across the phrase "Man Box"[1]. That might be a better phrase to use?

Case in point. This site describes exactly what toxic masculinity actually is and what it actually means. But we need a "better phrase" because feminists used the other one and therefore it's tainted? Despite the fact that toxic masculinity as a term originated in the men's rights movement and as a concept is hardly alien to male culture? We can have a conversation about the possible negative aspects of male culture and masculine identity, but we just can't say the bad words with the girl cooties on them?

The problem isn't branding, it's men refusing to accept that any concept they consider "feminist" could be rooted in anything but hate and misogyny. Modern male culture needs to mature and move past the victim complex its built around itself and see the common ground it has with feminists.

In this great alternative universe people would also not misunderstand "illegal immigration" to mean all immigrants or extremist to mean all Muslims. It's common English. Is it not odd that when people talk about deporting all the illegal immigrants, some think that implies all immigrants? When there was an executive order to ban all extremists from traveling, even judges interpreted it as a Muslim ban and they are usually pretty good with the English language.

When people see explicitly hostility they interpret it as hostility. That is common English.

It is most certainly a branding problem. Most men hate the term 'toxic masculinity' and react poorly to it because it usually comes along with obscene generalizations about how men (all of them) are doing everything wrong and must fix themselves. Which especially makes men mad if they're discussing some close-to-home topics, like male suicide or loneliness. In that context, even though it's probably not victim-blaming and done in good faith, such comments can really come off as accusatory.

Does this sound familiar to you?

If toxic masculinity exists, then surely there should be some examples of toxic femininity? Can you provide some such examples? Or is it only masculine traits that can be toxic?

>>>Being a stereotypically "manly" man would prevent me in particular from expressing some of the things that make me feel the least lonely, from simple things like cooking

HUH?!?!?! Who's giving you the impression that cooking is unmanly? Every man should know how to prepare healthy and tasty meals, not only for his own nutrition objectives (like meal prep in support of a fitness regimen), but women also find it attractive.

Yeah I agree that cooking is the one most accepted in western countries right now. However, in many households it's still predominantly the woman who cooks day to day. Men tend to reserve that for dating, special occasions, or as the token "see I'm doing my share" thing.

>which I never understood the backlash against toxic masculinity" that I see from (male) friends whenever the term comes up. Who said it's supposed to be toxic only for others?

Because toxic masculinity is an exaggerated catch-all boogey man used online to shame men for their innate nature, taking for granted that society functions better if we act more like females.

Conversations around toxic masculinity typically implicitly deny thousands of years of sexually dimorphic specialization by blank slateists. What's more, it's men who get the blame for the socially reinforced aspect of this so called toxicity, with the conversation universally denying the role that female sexual selection plays in reinforcing these behaviors - women are innately drawn to masculinity, and to a large extent what is and is not culturally masculine is not limited social pressure. Men and women evolved with differently shaded psychologies. Why do you think male and female norms have so much overlap across almost all cultures? And have for thousands of years?

This is the post I've finally decided to start an alt HN account for.

I'm one of those men with no close friends. Or any friends, for what it's worth. I've had a few people in my life that I had very good friendships at a time, but all of them now live very far and we don't maintain any contact.

I'm married and my wife covers all my emotional needs. While I realize how dysfunctional such state of affairs is, I just can't bring myself to approach new people. Every time I'm in even remotely social situation, all I wanna do is to go home and be alone most of the time. Even when I do find people with similar interests, I never pursue the connection and follow up. I do realize that total lack of social exposure makes me a dull, boring person and forming connections will become even more difficult as time goes by.

I don't know how to get out of this.

Where do you live? What are your hobbies and interests?

Seattle suburbs. Coding, videogames, cars.

I've recently fell out of all of my hobbies and even stopped playing online games where I had some community going on.

I’m thinking of starting a cryptoparty in a few of the cities I regularly inhabit to teach and meet more people, after being inspired by Snowden’s book. Seems like a good way to improve my communities and also meet interesting people.

I'm in a weird position where I feel like I've both got this figured out, and yet totally don't.

Ping me (email in profile) if you wanna grab a beer around Seattle some time. Bonus points if it's West Seattle. I'm busy with house projects at the moment, but otherwise wrenching on a Datsun in my spare time.

This is basically a promotion since I'm the organizer. I'm hosting a developer's conference called Handmade Seattle this November, where lots of cool and personal coding projects will be showcased. You could show up with no expectations of making connections, but, you never know.

I'm in Seattle as well, and this looks neat. Will check it out and try to attend.

I just switched from a job where I could work from home anytime I wanted (which meant everyone on my team did so 100% of the time) to a job that requires everyone to be in the office 90% of the time because I want more face-to-face human interaction in my life. The convenience was great but, on the whole, it made me less happy.

I've been working from home for nearly five years now; it's been fantastically convenient while I raise my daughters.

While I have found that my adult social interactions are severely limited, I am no worse off than my old friends; one of whom remarked that after moving to Montreal he's seeing friends and family just as often as he did before.

Where I find adult interaction is in more traditional venues: I made an effort to get to know my neighbours, and am acquainted with some staff and patrons at the local pub.

The key was not to rely on scheduled events; too many adults will ghost or reject because they feel too busy or weary to attend. Impromptu social interaction works better; have a beer with your neigh bour.

> I made an effort to get to know my neighbours, and am acquainted with some staff and patrons at the local pub.

I wouldn't even know how to approach that. Feel like this requires a lot of knowledge/skill that my path through life didn't teach me.

Talking about the weather, remarking on their gardens, and wishing them happiness and good health; these are all acceptable openers.

Most people love to talk about themselves, so if they give you some personal information it's safe to inquire further about it, most of the time. Cut it off before you turn it into an interrogation.

I start a new job on Wednesday for this exact reason. My remote gig was awesome until the depression kicked in. I didn't know that about myself; I need to physically be around other people.

I've had the complete opposite experience. For a while, I was in a situation where I went into the office one or two days a week, and worked from home the rest of the time - now I work from home one day a week, sometimes not at all.

It's made me really, really hate dealing with other people, and when I go home, I want to go out in the woods or work in my garage or basement, completely, blessedly alone.

Human interaction is great if it is voluntary and purposeful, but when it is just a shitty default constant, it's a prison.

Isolation at the job is a problem too. As a programmer in a famous startup who’s grown to thousands employees, we discussed by Slack and didn’t shake hands in the office. I felt less lonely alone at home than at the office...

So I became independent and the same happened at the first coworking: More lonely when surrounded with « commercial friends ». The second coworking had a great group spirit and I deeply loved them, but unfortunately they also didn’t like my capitalist stances (most of them were employed) or the fact that I don’t adhere to ideas like « men can’t do two things at once, while women can » so they ended up rejecting me (it perhaps has to do with autistic traits I have, I don’t seem to say what the group wants me to say, when it is demonstrably false). So again: in a group, if you feel no solidarity from the group, then you’re alone.

It got better since I accepted loneliness as a part of life. Because searching and not finding was definitely my most heartbreaking period. But it definitely feels like I’m in a hole and reducing my prospects in life.

I’ve worked from home for the past 9 years (doing software contracting) starting first year of my degree and up until now (20-28 years old).

I am specifically asking every one of my future employers for more of the office hours. I can’t stand the lack of everyday interactions.

I’m in this exact situation. Looking for a new job now.

how about joining the gym instead?

I’ve been going to the gym at least 4 days a week for years. Unless you’re into a specific niche thing it’s hard to socialize. I’ve found it easier to talk to others after getting into powerlifting.

Most people at the gym have headphones in and are grinding out a workout as quickly as they can because they’re busy. At least that’s how it feels in SF.

Oh sorry I didn't mean that kind of gym. I joined a martial arts (muay Thai) gym and it was a great life changer. I don't want to fight, but I train hard with actual fighters and it's very bonding.

Sharing "pain" and passion with others created common ground with people that I had very little in common in the beginning (i.e. non tech, different age)

I only see a couple mentions of religious organizations, but it's worth pointing out that churches and other religious organizations put an enormous amount of effort into making meaningful friendships convenient and healthy, including casual events, lectures, classes, study groups, and group volunteer activities. I'm not positive that the amount of attention given men in particular is comparable to children, women, couples, or families, but it's common enough to be normal to have men-specific activities, groups, and events.

Point being, church participation rates are much lower for men (ironically so, when men are out in men-filled bars looking for female companionship). I believe men leave (or don't try) churches thinking there was/is nothing for them, and then struggle with isolation and lack of respect.

Of course, churches themselves have a lot of work to do to actually incorporate these realities into their teaching and culture. It's more common for churches to treat men as extra flawed or lazy instead of unaware of these problems.

Church is so judgmental and limiting of the types of activities you can enjoy and you have to be so careful you follow the church norms. I’ll call up one of my friends and say - “hey. Let’s go out and drink, cuss, and tell lies”. I can’t very well do that with church folks. Let alone argue against church doctrine when it comes to drinking, premarital sex (I am married now), homosexuality, etc.

I grew up going to what would now be considered an “evangelical church” and going to a Christian school. Even the non crazy ones that I see on Facebook are still way too straight laced for me.

> Church is so judgmental...

I think you are conflating judgemental attitudes and having standards at all. You don't have to be a deist to think getting sloppy drunk and lying is lame.

And my experience is that actual church folks, not the "church is my country club" types are actually pretty welcoming. But, yeah, if you show up to service high, someone might ask you to leave. I don't consider that a moral or humanitarian failing. On the contrary, it's usually about protecting people more than self righteousness.

But mileage varies in all of this, of course.

It’s not getting sloppy drunk, it’s even having a few drinks. “Telling lies” is also short hand for “talking shit” and you taking things to the extreme (drinking == “getting sloppy drunk”) and taking “telling lies” literally, kind of proves my point.

When I’m out with my friends or we are playing cards and we are talking trash to each other, I’m not concerned with “having standards”, we are going to cuss, drop some f-bombs, make off color jokes about ourselves, etc and not have to worry about offending someone’s sensibilities.

It’s like going to an all you can eat Brazilian Steakhouse with a holier than thou vegan who I know from past experience is card carrying member of PETA. Why would I put myself around that when I am trying to enjoy myself? I have to put on enough of a false face at work and cater to corporate norms.

As far as being “welcoming” not only would too many churches not be welcoming of a non straight couple (I am straight), according to surveys, 20% of evangelical churches still think interracial marriage is a sin.

It's a bit disappointing that community and belief system have to be intertwined. If one changes (you change beliefs, or your local community doesn't suit you), the other suffers (you lose your friends, or you have to pretend to believe something you don't).

I used to be devoutly religious through my mid twenties. In hindsight that was a mistake for me personally because the community surrounding that religion didn't suit me, and eventually discovered flaws in the belief system that led me to become an atheist. I missed many opportunities in life by trying to make that religion work for me for far too long.

So it's true that if you find a belief and community that work for you in the same place that it can be great, but I wish there were more options like that independent of belief.

Good community takes work and consistency among other things. Often you put in hard work, end up personally worse off, but everyone else benefits. Often, the connection between action and benefit are very disconnected.

Point being, at least in my experience, it's not possible to separate belief from community. Things like prioritizing forgiveness do not make both intellectual and emotional sense. At least not enough to keep families together, let alone groups less officially affiliated.

>I missed many opportunities in life by trying to make that religion work for me for far too long.

Oh, this hits way, way too close to home.

I was raised going to church and it was nice to have such a close community.

Unfortunately, I can't go to church anymore because I don't think the core factual claims are true.

I tried going to UU one time as they support being atheist, but it didn't really work for me. Perhaps I'll have to try again in the future.

One of the big problems I find is that when I call or text my male friends they often fail to respond. My female friends always respond. I've had multiple discussions with my male friends about this and my conclusion is that they are mostly overwhelmed with the responsibilities and demands of being a modern man. Friendship falls low on the priority list. I, like many men, want more camaraderie but it takes work that's difficult to commit to.

I've had the same experience with my group of friends. I know it's a small sample size, but I wonder of that's a common contrast for most folks my age.

When I message/call/text/email my mail friends, I know there's a 1h-24h time window before I get a response. And that's if the message prompts a response. Otherwise, they'll address it next time in person, or just let it fly by. On the other hand, my female friends respond much quicker.

At the same time, I see my current girlfriend ALWAYS on her phone. There's always someone she's in contact with - because it's a priority for her to respond. My male friends when hanging out, are almost never texting/chatting on their phone unless something immediate demands attention. It's an interesting tradeoff

For some of my friends, I _know_ they are not overwhelmed with responsibility. But sometimes they just don't feel like it or are busy with other friends who I don't know. That's frustrating. I want to shake them. But sometimes I do it too and realize "Oh this is what my friends probably like when they don't respond."

For me I think the biggest barrier is housing proximity. All my friends live in different suburbs, which means on the weekend that's a 30m drive each way, and it's worse afterwork on the weekday. Sucks.

Decades ago three people independently said to me, "I've known you a long time but I don't feel I know the real you." I saw I was the common element so decided to change.

I learned social and emotional skills, which took years of social and emotional work. It didn't cost time or money, but since I was used to intellectual learning, I often felt hopeless, confused, and other emotions I'd never felt from learning. Most things I tried didn't work, but some did and I kept at it.

After a few years I found myself saying how nearly all my relationships after that work were better than nearly any relationship before -- with friends, family, girlfriends, coworkers.

I've concluded that the problem wasn't my work situation or social structures, but that no one taught me social and emotional skills of self-awareness and relationships. In the past, we learned them through things like sports, arts, free play, and other performance-based activities -- the things schools increasingly cut in favor of things amenable to standardized tests. I don't mean art history or art appreciation, but creating and expressing yourself where others will judge your painting, recital, stage performance, etc and you learn to handle it. Nor do I mean sports where adults control everything, but challenging yourself to improve, recovering from loss and failure, etc.

My publisher framed my book Leadership Step by Step https://www.amazon.com/Leadership-Step-Become-Person-Others/... as a business book, since it will probably sell more that way, but it's the book version of the course I teach at NYU to develop these skills. My point is anyone can learn social and emotional skills. When you do, relationships improve and increase in number when you want. People who do the exercises consistently tell me they thought they couldn't learn these things, especially not in a classroom. I felt that way when I learned them. I wish I'd learned them as a child, but it's never too late to learn them.

If you're an average single man the world hates you. The public considers you a liability that has to be written off in order to stay consistent and most people expect you to hurt them in some way.

Single women over 35 are also in this category (for different reasons, but much the same experience).

"The public" ... which you have statistics on? I'm sorry you feel bad but try not to speak for everyone.

He is talking about the UK. There is a huge bias against single males here.

To give one example: the number and size of tax benefits aimed at families is massive. Spending on these is something like £33bn...that may or may not sound huge to you but the total NHS budget (i.e. healthcare costs for 70-80m people) is ~£115bn.

Not everyone thinks this. But it is definitely far to say that is the general view (and it is why Daily Mail skews female, which basically doesn't happen with right-wing news outside the UK).

This is silly and naive. Tax benefits for families exist to help and encourage families. Society is better off when people can afford to raise a family. To twist it into an anti single man view is way off base.

Yes, when a powerful, politically active group forces another less powerful, politically inactive group to subsidise them it is definitely not discriminatory. You should tell that to India, those idiots thought making them pay for their own colonisation was bad...their society was better off. I can see now, it is so obvious.

> Society is better off when people can afford to raise a family.

Alternate theory: society is better off when people act like adults, and raise a family when they can afford to do so. No subsidies. No govt holding your hand. Even if you ignore the fiscal effect - it is huge because it is politically impossible to cut welfare that such a substantial amount of people receive, that is why govt spending in areas serving truly vulnerable people like care had to be slashed so aggressively - that is not what the policy is intended to do.

The (original) focus of the policy was to increase labour force participation amongst single parents. This worked. But, as you are showing, it has become something totally different. And it is now a big feeding trough for a huge share of the population (something like 10%+ of the working population receive WTCs).

Govt is not there for social engineering, it is there to help people who cannot help themselves. If someone is poor then they should get help. And this should be through focused policy that is aimed at poverty, not these insanely complex systems that backfire (tax credits are the prime example of this kind of policy). The system we have now means that the govt cannot actually take care of people who need help because of the obscene cost (again, tax credits alone are 30% of the NHS budget) of helping those who don't (but now feel deserving because they are helping society or whatever bollocks you are trying to say).

It is extraordinary to totally ignore how this policy has actually worked out (esp. the cost and esp. against the original aims), offer some half-baked inaccurate theory of govt (govt should be involved in the sex lives of citizens), and then call an interpretation that is based in reality naive...but that is basically where we are with govt spending now. Greedy middle-class people scraping the bottom of the poor person's barrel.

Gov certainly has to incentivize good behavior, at the very least in areas gov will pay for down the line. That's easily the case for family planing, as children are an option to support the elderly. And then gov also doesn't have to let all the "evil brown people" into the country to staff hospitals and nursing service, so you can even pretend this to be about national security.

So yeah, i also think there are many strongly held but badly justified beliefs in your post. Not everything is black or white. There is a huge leap from "gov incentivizes families" to "world is against single males because apparently some shitty tabloid is" and equating the two misses many shades of gray.

It is impressive how strongly held, yet also specific your beliefs are. Who told you this.

It is impressive that you feel justified in making no arguments but will try to bring down people who do. Are you British by any chance?

Inability to argue? Check. Inability to reason? Check. Becomes defensive when asked to think about closely held but illogical views? Check. Judges a person's argument based on their identity/background (I am assuming that is what "who told you" is about)? Check.

At the very least, try to make an argument. Weak.

Uh, no, not British. Nor do I really know what your background is? Are you British?

I’ll confess I was kind of trolling in asking you what pundit you get your stuff from, but I’ll be really frank here. Your post reads as sort of obsessive and out of touch. You’re bringing in talking points to support your anger but they’re really not related. You’ve taken a very benign issue and reframed it as a huge deal. Then you went very aggressive in what seems to be some sort of anti-British worldview.

You’re trying to position yourself as a better intellectual but it really, really doesn’t appear that way to others.

Saying things like I can’t argue, reason, and am unwilling to put up an argument is a really aggressive thing to say, and I’m not sure if you understand that you’ve set up a really tiresome premise for having a conversation.

Families get help from the state, so the public hates single males?

> that is the general view

You should prove that.

Yes. I am not sure exactly what proof you are expecting but that is all the proof that exists (for obvious reasons, surveys do not generally ask specifically...do you hate X group of people? In the UK, saying that you do has legal implications besides anything else).

It is equally true to say this of lone single female parents but that doesn't appear to have quite the same effect on tilting the Daily Mail crowd (because poor powerless women aren't seen as a threat whereas young single males are).

Yes, but move to a country with an economy drastically less developed than your own, and your fortunes may change.

Ah yes, colonialism will save manhood.

I'm a single man. Maybe not "average", whatever that means, but ignore that.

Who would hate me or expect me to hurt them solely because of my relationship status? And why?

Do you have any evidence to back up your claims?

what a cynical take. Your marital status usually doesn’t factor into whether someone wants to do something with you (excepting the obvious things)

Like I barely know the marital/relationship status of people I talk to all the time!

Maybe I’m naive or lucky, but seriously anyone who’s making major value judgements on that point of information sounds like a not great person

thats not true except in certain - generally oppressive - enclaves

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