Others have paradoxically felt less lonely. At a recent MenCheck-in, one man said “I felt less lonely when lockdown happened. Probably because I stopped hanging out with pointless people I don’t really like.”
You can feel lonely when surrounded by people, especially when you’re talking about superficial things or just talking for the sake of talking.
The number of Meetups and social events I’ve been to with the hope of finding some connection, only to leave feeling more lonely than how I went in, is stupefying.
Do you know your “ratio"? I went to a martial arts camp a couple of years ago, and out of the 30 or 40 people there, there was only one guy who I really got on with.
While I was trying to spread out my socialising with the whole group, this guy didn't even bother and just tried to hang out with me.
He obviously got frustrated at one point because he took me aside and said "Listen, Bertie, I just want to hang out with you. I don't care about any of the other people here."
After that, we spent the whole time together and I wish I'd done so sooner. Before that moment I was wasting my time by making efforts with people not really on my wavelength.
So my ratio is about 1/30. Real connection is rare for some people - especially those who need depth and substance.
If you fill your time with people and activities and classes when you feel lonely, this is the time to experiment by stopping the avoidance.
Go towards your loneliness. Carve out a chunk of time just for you, turn off your phone and feel the feelings that come up.
At first it will probably feel uncomfortable. But take some deep breaths and sit with it. Or move your body. Whatever helps to let the feelings flow.
I’ve tried this myself and it works! It connects me to myself - my true self. Once I'm settled in myself, then I can truly connect with others.
At this same MenCheck-in, a man said "I've stopped going to the pub and I go to these instead." Our MenCheck-ins run every weekday lunchtime and are a great way to get your connection fix.
It's all about finding what works for you and your lifestyle. What do you like to do with others that could be done online?
Zoom is essential for me right now. Here are some things I've been using it for to connect with others and do the things I enjoy at the same time:
In summary, not everyone is feeling lonely and isolated since lockdown was introduced. Some men are using it as a catalyst to switch things up and try new things to live a better life. As MenSpeak founder Kenny says, "Focus on what you want to grow, not what you want to go."
Written by Bertie Harriman-Smith www.bertieharrimansmith.com