This being the Internet, and you being a guy, the word “lonely” often accompanies online photos of random hotties. The “good” news: Lonely Leslie just happens to live in the same city or town as you! (Coincidence? We think not.) The bad news: This is the Internet, so…good luck with that.
Seriously though, there are much better ways to get social than surfing the web (and clicking on Lesley). In fact, spending too much time online is actually a major cause of loneliness. So before you switch off the screen in front of you, check out these three easy tips on how to get more social:
Join the club
Pick something you enjoy doing — bowling, watching sports, video games, barbecuing, hiking, playing darts, the list goes on — and chances are there’s a club, team or special event in your area that welcomes new members or participants. (This may require an Internet search and another look at Lonely Lesley.)
Pursuing your interests with other people who share the same ones is a great way to make new friends and gain a new appreciation for your chosen pursuit. Plus, a set schedule helps you make time for these activities.
Love hiking? A club can help you discover awesome new trails while getting some healthy exercise. Love barbecuing? Think of all the delicious recipes you could pick up from your fellow grill masters! Love unicycle football? OK, you may have to travel to San Marcos, Texas, for that…
Go out with the boys
Doing something you enjoy with others can be as easy as planning a night out with your buddies a couple times a month. Go to a movie or the pub, head out for a walk or bike ride, anything where you can hang out and have fun. Because our busy lives often get in the way of doing these kinds of things, it’s a good idea to set aside a regular time — say, every other Friday after work — for these get-togethers.
Relaxing, laughing and sharing your troubles are ideal ways to shrug off the stresses of everyday life. This may be especially true for guys, as shown by a major cause of loneliness that found that men who get together with other male friends at least twice a week reap health benefits including less risk of depression and anxiety, and faster recovery from illness.
That’s right: Going to the pub can be GOOD for you — as long as you keep it real with the brewskis, that is.
Start a new “bromance”
A “bromance” is defined as a close friendship between two men. Think Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze in Point Break, or Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black.
Of course, you don’t need to be an undercover surf cop or alien-surveillance agent to have a bromance. You just need to make a new friend at work, at the pub, at the gym, at your kids’ hockey practice, or anywhere else you meet and mingle with other guys. That way, you’ll have a new companion on your lunch break, a new friend to swap stories with at the pub, a new buddy to help you heckle the ref, you get the idea. You might be surprised how easy it is to make new friends with guys who are in the same boat as you.
These kinds of friendships, it turns out, can help you live longer. They can also reduce stress, improve your mood, keep you mentally sharp, and help you get fit. In fact, a University of Pennsylvania study found that enrolling at a gym and exercising with a friend produced more weight loss than going it alone.
And if Leslie wants to join you at the gym, well, it might just help with that loneliness…
If you’re thinking about increasing your energy and waking up happy, we’ve got your back.
Download “7 Traits of the Happiest and Healthiest People” ebook right now.
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two who has been covering men’s health for more than 20 years. As well as researching and blogging for Don’t Change Much since 2015, Adam’s award-winning work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines such as Explore, Reader’s Digest and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN and Toronto.com. Visit Adam’s website for more information on what he does.