Why Millions of Men Lose Friends in Their Twenties

A Hub Telegram Story: Men often think of themselves as lone wolves. Lone wolf being ambitious in the office. Lone wolf on Tinder. Lone wolf playing Fallout 4 alone in an apartment, eating lasagna out of the microwave carton. As we get older and life inevitably starts flinging shit at us, we might start to wonder whether there’s a reason most wolves hunt in packs says, Hub Telegram.

While we’re typically sociable beasts during school and university, when the pressures of work start beating down, faces that were once familiar to us can start falling away, making us realize just how alone in the world we truly are.

This month, a YouGov poll carried out by the Movember Foundation found that 12 percent of men over the age of 18 don’t have a close friend they would discuss a serious life problem with. That’s 2.5 million men across Britain. Over a quarter of men said they got in touch with their fiends less than once a month, and 9 percent said they don’t remember the last time they made contact with their friends.

This can develop into a serious problem in later life. Research by the World Health Organisation has shown that a lack of close friends has a significant impact on men’s health in the long term, leaving us at risk of depression, anxiety, and suicide.

Sarah Coghlan, head of Movember UK, tells me: “Many men we’ve spoken to don’t actually realize how shallow their relationships have become until they face a significant challenge, such as bereavement, breakdown of a relationship, fatherhood, or loss of employment—and yet that is of course when good friends are needed most.”

Hub Telegram asks, “So what happens to our friendships as we get older?” Here, 3 men at different stages of their lives discuss their relationships with their friends.

Matt, 19
“I did the first year of sixth form, but I’ve had a rough year relationship-wise so didn’t do well and left. I’ve been working seasonally since then. When that relationship stuff was going on I spoke about it to my friends who I went to secondary school with, rather than my new friends at college, just because I knew them better. I’m quite lucky that I’m in a social group that has about seven or eight people in—mostly other guys, but a couple of girls. We all went to secondary school together, but a few of them I’ve known since primary school. I’m pretty open with all of them, so would talk to them about anything. They’ve also come to me in the past about personal stuff. I’d rather talk to friends than family because they may be going through similar things at the time, so they can relate more. I have friends and acquaintances from work or sport, but my friends from school are tried and tested. We’ve been through a lot together.”

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