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.
It's great to see that that kind of close, friendly, personal Internet dynamic didn't completely die with Facebook's rise.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
> 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.
> If I were lonely today, I would say...
From your phrasing, it sounds like a pet peeve.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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...
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.
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 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.
Thanks a lot
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.
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.
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.
Men are not victims here. Have a hard look at why you think this and fix the problem.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s hard to explain the vibe, but it’s there.
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.
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.
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 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?
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.
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.
Couples date couples.
Wow, that sounds harsh, yet so true.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The role model thing is often overlooked when parenting. If you want your kids to do sports, let them see you doing sports etc.
A little nature a little nurture, but to be clear I do agree with you that it's better to model than not.
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).
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
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.
No Silicon Valley billionaire's fortune can compare to the responsibility and reward of raising a good family.
This is pretty common among men, but what happens if you get divorced? Any plan-b?
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 :)
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 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.
Sitcom characters? Lord of the Flies our schools are?
The problem is that it’s going to be fake, which gets back to the core of my question.
There's a possibility that bowling alone often becomes so common that its hard to imagine bowling with others.
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'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".
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.
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 :(
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’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.
How about contra dance? https://trycontra.com
(I maintain that site, and play in https://freeraisins.com and https://kingfisherband.com)
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.
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.
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
What do you want to do?
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.
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.
I just want to nit-pick and put the emphasis on the modern world rather than the modern people ^^.
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.
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 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.
For them the weekends are for recovery; there is no physical or emotional energy for social engagement or self care.
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.
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?
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.
In the modern international economy you’re going to have to be a bit flexible with hours.
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.
In all FAANG companies I worked at when I had geographically distributed teams.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The good news is you don’t need a sparkling wit or anything, you just have to show up.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
True of many things in life
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.
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 do think fondly of some of them. I’m grateful for having met them and for all the fun.
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.
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.
If the solution were that easy, there wouldn't be a problem.
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 
Not so much here. Perhaps is because I'm in Pittsburgh. I should move to Seattle ;)
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.
In my case at the moment I am still married so I have that shield. I will lose that when I get divorced.
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.
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.
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.
As this is mostly a branding problem, I want to say I recently came across the phrase "Man Box". That might be a better phrase to use?
 Example: https://mindfulmasculinity.com/blog/manbox
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". 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.
When people see explicitly hostility they interpret it as hostility. That is common English.
Does this sound familiar to you?
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.
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?
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.
I've recently fell out of all of my hobbies and even stopped playing online games where I had some community going on.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 am specifically asking every one of my future employers for more of the office hours. I can’t stand the lack of everyday interactions.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oh, this hits way, way too close to home.
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.
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 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.
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.
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).
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
> that is the general view
You should prove that.
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).
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?
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