Why Men are the Most Relationship Disadvantaged

Studies have repeatedly shown that the happiest people are the ones with the most meaningful relationships. People who have key relationships and positive influences in their life are usually less stressed because they have someone they can talk to, vent to, and confide in when life gets tough. And it is just as rewarding to be a positive influencer for others—to have others rely on you. For men and women alike, lives can be changed for the better because the right friendships can make a difference in someone’s life at a critical point. And yet, with plenty of options in today’s world for making new connections, there must be a reason why men are the most relationship disadvantaged.

People with strong relationships have a greater potential for more professional success, are less impacted by corporate politics, laugh more, and experience less depression. Research has shown that social engagement and meaningful relationships are associated with living a longer life and improving your overall health. 

Having said all that, the opposite appears to be happening in our society. Research shows that over the past several decades our inner circle—the people we trust the most—is much smaller than in the past. Today the average American trusts only 10 to 20 people. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, the lead author of a study that reviewed and analyzed research in this area, noted, “A lack of social relationships was equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.” 

The Male Friendship Problem: Why So Few Bromances?

Our relationship disadvantaged society gets much worse when you isolate it to men. A survey conducted by YouGov found that only more than 20% of men have no close friends. The Movember Foundation research found that 50% of men did not have someone they could talk to about health or money worries. Millions of men are isolated, many not realizing it until they need it most. 


Research shows that isolation can be more devastating for men when they deal with life’s hardships, i.e., divorce, bereavement, or unemployment. Max Dickins decided to author a book titled Billy No-Mates: How I Realised Men Have a Friendship Problem, when he realized he allowed all his male friendships to evaporate. “The grimmest statistic I found is about public health funerals, where a council buries someone because they have nobody close enough to do it,” says Dickins. “Three times as many men as women have those funerals, despite the fact that women are way more likely to live on their own.”

*RelatedHow to Train Your Employees to be Great at Relationship Building

It would appear that men are not as good at building deeper friendships, probably due to societal norms. A higher percentage of men throw themselves into their work and allow their wives to champion their social groups and schedules. Men are also not as good at letting their guard down and showing vulnerability.

We are living in the “digital disruption era.” Technology has provided us with unprecedented advances, information, knowledge, instant access, and entertainment. We have computers, mobile phones, tablets, the internet, social media, apps, and artificial intelligence—assistants like Siri and Alexa, chatbots, virtual concierges, facial recognition, and self-driving cars. 

However, as convenient as these advances make our lives, they also have changed the way we communicate, behave, and think and have led to a dramatic decline in our people skills. As a society, we are now relationship disadvantaged. We no longer become curious about others or eager to engage in conversations. The younger generation primarily communicates electronically, and the explosion of ecommerce means we go out less and less. In business, multi-channel communication has dramatically reduced phone calls to companies; customers can get answers and place orders via email, on websites, or through social media channels. 

Digital Intelligence Up, Emotional Intelligence Down

Because of the digital revolution, many members of the younger generations lack the necessary people skills of previous generations. Yet they are now leading start-ups that have developed quickly into leading companies. This will only accelerate the growing number of relationship-disadvantaged businesses. 

In a TED Talk, hospitality entrepreneur Chip Conley addressed this phenomenon: “I believe looking at the modern workplace, the trade agreement of our times is opening up these intergenerational pipelines of wisdom so that we can all learn from each other. Almost 40 percent of us in the US workforce have a boss that is younger than us and that number is growing quickly. Power is cascading to the young like never before because of our increasing reliance on digital intelligence. We are seeing young founders of companies in their early 20s scaling them up to global giants by the time they get to 30. And yet we expect these young digital leaders to somehow miraculously embody the relationship wisdoms we older workers have had decades to learn. It’s hard to microwave your emotional intelligence.” 

*Related – 7 Traits for Effective Interactions: Social Skills = Job Security

A Relationship-Building Strategy

It takes a great deal of work to build deep, long-term relationships. In Ben Healy’s article “How to Make Friends, According to Science,” he shared a recent study that found it takes approximately 50 hours of socializing to go from acquaintance to casual friend, an additional 40 hours to become a “real” friend, and a total of 200 hours to become a close friend. “Self-disclosure makes us more likable, and as a bonus, we are more inclined to like those to whom we have bared our soul. Longing for closeness and connection is universal,” Healy said.

*Become A Licensed Customer Experience Coach

EPISODE 097 OF THE CSREV PODCAST From Homeless to Bad Ass Boss Bitch

Picture1, The DiJulius GroupChief Revolution Officer John DiJulius of the DiJulius Group talks with Robin Robins, CEO & President of Technology Marketing Toolkit. Robin is a serial entrepreneur and has an incredible story of where she came from to the empire, she has built today in the IT industry.

You will learn:

  • Robin’s incredible back story, including when she was homeless as a teenager
  • How Robin got into the MSP niche and has dominated it ever since
  • How Robin built TMT into the #1 marketing firm in the IT industry
  • How every business should figure out how to get in the Monthly Reoccurring Revenue business
  • How she has created incredible value for her members (clients)


“Falling in love with your brand is not possible until the customer feels that they are the most important person in the relationship and that it is all about them.”

Now Offering Virtual Tickets to the Revolution

Join us this November 8th & 9th in Cleveland, Ohio, for The Customer Service Revolution in-person or virtually.

Picture2 1, The DiJulius Group

Learn from incredible subject matter experts on The Great Retention:

  • Employee experience
  • Customer experience
  • Contact center care
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Change management
  • Motivation
  • Leadership, and much more!

Breakout sessions are back!

You’re going to love the content that has been curated for you during the two-day conference. These sessions will allow your team to divide and conquer at the event, learning as much as possible during their experience.

Screenshot 2022 08 15 221859, The DiJulius Group

We can’t wait to see you in November!

Capture, The DiJulius Group

About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.