Men who are lonely in life usually display these behaviors (without realizing it)

There’s nothing like French arthouse cinema to make you reflect on the state of loneliness.

You guessed it: I am a self-professed cinephile. I’m particularly interested in the work of director Jean-Luc Godard. 

In the 1960s, he became known as a pioneer of the French New Wave film movement.

You might know some of his films, actually. There is Breathless, which follows the comings and goings of a young criminal who bases his persona on Humphrey Bogart, and Alphaville, a noir film about a secret agent.

While it might not seem like it on the surface, both films explore loneliness and masculinity in heart wrenching, poignant, and deeply artistic ways.

I often look back on one of Godard’s more contemporary discussions. While he had a storied film career in the mid-20th century, he lived to see what the advent of the mobile phone did to humans and their need to connect with others.

In this taped interview, Godard said that to him, SMS did not mean “short message”, rather it meant: “save my soul.”

He went deeper into this concept: “People send SMS like we used to send SOS. Because they are all alone, they want to be with someone.”

While many of us may not agree with this sentiment, Godard’s unique observation points to the state of loneliness in the modern day: there are so many ways we might be lonely, without it being immediately obvious to those around us.

Let’s begin with a tell-tale behavioral sign of loneliness: overworking. 

1) Overworking and an unhealthy obsession with their career

I have a friend who is all about his job. Yep, he practically lives at his office, stretching the 9-5 to more of a 5-9 (am to pm, that is).

Sure, people at work, particularly the higher-ups, adore his dedication to the role, but his friends? 

Well, we can’t seem to remember the last time we saw him in the flesh!

Here’s the thing: society tends to cheer on this workaholic, career-focused attitude as a “manly” trait.

That’s right, ambition is often championed as a deeply masculine trait. Men are conditioned to believe in this and work towards it at all costs.

But this can be absolutely toxic, and in higher doses, it can verge on becoming an obsession.

This can take over a person’s life and push people away, to the point where they are overworked to the point of becoming extremely lonely.

This is because some lonely hearts find comfort in work rather than people.

Like my pal, since being buried in his job, he has inadvertently cut himself off from the relationships that could have made his life far, far richer (in love, not funds).

So, go on, take a second to consider the workaholics all around you, and consider whether they might actually be feeling a little isolated.

2) A fixation on the past or deeply nostalgic tendencies

Do you know a guy who is often getting lost in the memories of his younger days, relishing every piece of nostalgia?

Maybe it’s an older man in your life, like your father or uncle.

Here’s the tell: if they can’t stop talking about the past, it might be a silent cry for a little extra company and support.

This guy might be unintentionally closing himself off from new friends and fun new experiences by building a wall of memories around him.

He’s so busy looking back that he might miss out on the present happenings, as well as the exciting stuff ahead.

After all, life has more to offer than just reminiscing about the glory days.

3) Neglecting their personal appearance and hygiene

Has the man in your life let go of himself a little?

You know… the scruff has grown wild, his clothes seem to have taken a permanent residency on the bedroom floor, he might even have a certain odor. Eek,

This can be tricky to deal with. Or you might be thinking, but why does personal hygiene have anything to do with loneliness? Might they just be a bit of a hot mess?

Well, when someone starts to let themselves go, it’s like a silent SOS signal—like Godard’s SMS theory—a sign that the relationships that once fueled them to take care of themselves have fizzled out a little.

You see, loneliness can be a stealthy little thing. It doesn’t always announce its arrival with a huge bang, sometimes, it creeps in and settles slowly over time.

So a lack of grooming can be a physical manifestation of the emotional neglect stirring up on the inside.

The next time you spot a pal who is letting their appearance slide, resist the urge to judge them.

4) Becoming increasingly online

This one harkens back to the SMS = SOS sentiment. If a man you know has become very online, they might be issuing out a cry for help.

It might be their virtual escape from the real world. But why? 

Humans are wired for real, genuine connection, relishing face-to-face banter, and the warmth of personal interactions.

So, when someone starts clinging to the metaverse like a lifeline, you can take it as a red flag that they are struggling being on their own.

Whether this particular person is immersed in Instagram, online gaming marathons, or navigating chat rooms, he might be a tad lonelier in the real world.

5) A cynical or sarcastic demeanor

Occasionally, sarcasm is more than just a matter of being a flavor of humor.

Being fluent in snark can also be a subtle cry for connection, a defense mechanism, a shield a man uses to create distance, if you look close enough.

Each witty remark pushes people a little further away, masking the desire for genuine connection—so, it pays not to just dismiss it as a quirky trait. 

Peel back the layers, because behind those witty retorts might be someone desperate to bridge the gap between them and their loved ones.

6) A lack of interest in setting goals or creating plans for the future

Ever wonder why some of us lose all interest in setting goals or making plans for the future? 

Well, sometimes, it comes down to isolation.

A lack of plans often screams loneliness without the guy even saying the word because when a man is connected, engaged, and surrounded by meaningful relationships, they naturally lean towards the future, not out.

They plan holidays away with friends, dream about shared hobbies, and set goals that involve the people they care about.

But when the pangs of loneliness start to set in, it’s almost like the future loses the luster it once held.

The excitement fades, and setting goals becomes a distant memory of the past.

7) A dramatic loss or increase in appetite

If you know someone who is either wolfing down three pizzas in one go, or absentmindedly pushing his food around the plate as if he is a fussy toddler, it might be a sign of inner feelings of loneliness.

It’s tricky, because men won’t even acknowledge these feelings, not even to themselves.

But why does loneliness mess with our appetite?

Well, it is not just about hunger, it can be a craving for emotional nourishment—the need for shared moments that no amount of comfort food can truly penetrate.

This goes the same for skipping meals, too.

Final thoughts

There are a number of seemingly small shifts that may be the subtle, tell-tale signs of loneliness creeping in.

It might take the form of a guy you know skipping meals, being glued to their screen, or neglecting their self-care routine.

He might even be unhealthily consumed with his career, or using sarcasm and cynicism to keep his guard well up.

Remember, you’ve got to start somewhere—and a conversation might just be the lifeline he needs.

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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