Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hyperconnected and still alone

The way we connect to information and to each other has been revolutionized over the last several years. This has come about thanks to the advance of mobile communication devices and social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Blogger, Periscope and on and on. 

We are socially connected more than ever before in history with our fancy devices fundamentally changing the way we communicate. The sad part is that social automation and other technologies are in many cases not bringing people together. For many, it is instead creating an inverse effect with possible “friends” in the thousands but in reality no real relationships.

I am a man. You may be one as well. As men, we are especially at risk to fall into the trap of loneliness and isolation. We are manly men and we are not expected to ever express feelings, show pain or step away from our role of responsibility leading our family from the front into the battles of life. Sure times have changed to soften much of this for many but the reality is that most of us are just hard wired to be closed emotionally and to press on no matter what we are facing.

The results can be devastating as men struggle and find unhealthy outlets for their disconnected loneliness. Emotional detachment from family, affairs, addictions to porn, and alcohol abuse are just a few of the unfortunate outcomes.

Even less talked about is suicide rates among men. Men commit suicide at a rate that is 4X higher than woman and in the US men account for 79% of all suicides. These numbers do not include unreported attempts.

As men what can we learn from all of this? I believe that we must recognize the importance of having a male confidant in our lives. A person that we can have a meaningful and still masculine relationship that allows for openness and sharing. It can be uncomfortable to have truly deep and meaningful conversations with another dude and that is why for most of us this needs to happen while also doing manly things. 

Think being in the outdoors hiking, hunting, chopping wood, building something or just plain doing manly stuff. We are not sit around a smelly candle sipping wine kind of people.

Men let me challenge you to reach out and make a change. You just might save a marriage or even save a life. 

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