We’ve all been there: you’re sitting at home some evening and you don’t have plans, you haven’t heard from family or friends for awhile, and you’ve got things on your mind, but don’t feel like there’s anyone you can talk to about them. You feel down and adrift, and sense an almost physical ache in your heart. You’re experiencing loneliness, and my guest today says we ought to interpret this feeling the way we would hunger or thirst — as a signal that we have a need that we should take action to fulfill.
His name is Dr. Vivek Murthy, he served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, and he’s the author of the book Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World. We begin our conversation discussing what loneliness is exactly and how we can feel interpersonally fulfilled in some areas of our lives, and yet lonely in others. Vivek then walks us through the very tangible harm loneliness can do to our mental health, before exploring why loneliness has been increasing in the western world. Vivek and I then discuss how loneliness affects men in particular. We end our conversation with things we can all do to battle the loneliness epidemic and feel more connected to those around us.
If reading this in an email, click the title of the post to listen to the show.
- As a doctor, how did Vivek get cued into the loneliness as a health problem?
- The far-reaching scale of loneliness in America
- How is loneliness defined? How is it different from solitude?
- The 3 types of loneliness
- Why marriage alone doesn’t alleviate loneliness
- The physiological repercussions of loneliness
- Why are more people getting lonely in America?
- How is our current media environment making us lonelier?
- Why our expectations for friendship might be mismatched from reality
- How men and women experience loneliness differently
- So what should you do if you’re lonely?
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- How exercise can help us find connection
- Understanding the Wonderful, Frustrating Dynamic of Friendship
- Understanding Male Friendships
- How Solitude and Friendship Make You a Better Leader
- The Spiritual Disciplines: Solitude and Silence
- The Power of Conversation
- Reclaiming Conversation
- How Face-to-Face Contact Makes You Healthier and Happier
- Fighting FOMO
- The Joy of Missing Out
- How Many Friends Does One Person Need?
- Making and Keeping Man Friendships
- The History and Nature of Man Friendships
Connect With Vivek
Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code “manliness” at checkout.
Read the Transcript