Have you ever received a text that brightened your day? Have you found yourself smiling as you remember your friend’s hilarious impersonation of Céline Dion? Have you found yourself feeling blue after being home alone, only to feel better when your guy gets home? There is something powerful about being with others and recent brain mapping technology has revealed that humans are hard-wired for connection; we do better when we connect with people.
For some, a long walk with a friend to catch-up meets a lot of social needs, while for others, it’s all about being surrounded by friends and other guys on the dance floor. Some guys find social connection to be draining, while others find that it fills them with energy. Getting to know the way you prefer to have social connection is important because not everyone is the same. We can choose the friends and social activities we prefer, and take time to engage in a way the leaves us feeling better.
The effects of loneliness, and spending too much time around people who don’t support you can also lead to increased stress. In fact, being isolated and excluded can be as harmful as actual physical pain. Many guys leave small towns to find a more supportive community. Large cities are more likely to have gay spaces and programs designed to make connecting with other guys easier. Guys living in rural and remote regions might have to rely on the internet or other social networks to connect with other gay guys. It’s important to find meaningful connections that lead you to feel supported, safe and respected. It’s not always easy, but getting to know what you like to do, and how you like to feel in social environments will help you find people who feel the same way.