If a man feels unfulfilled with life, he’ll almost always display these 18 behaviors

We always hear about women and their struggles with what society expects of them. 

Yet the reality is, it’s the same story on the other side – men also often shoulder the burden of societal expectations:

They’re expected to be strong, uncomplaining and self-sufficient. In short, they’re “supposed to” fit that masculine archetype.

But what we don’t know (and what men rarely show us) is that beneath this facade, they may be struggling with a deep sense of unfulfillment. 

So how do we know if the men in our lives are searching for the meaning in their lives?

They may not talk, but their actions can definitely give you clues.

That said, let’s explore the behaviors a man displays when he feels unfulfilled with life:

1) He’s a follower, not a maker of plans

An easy to spot sign of a man who lacks a clear direction in life is when he lets others take the reins.

Rather than choosing his own path or seizing opportunities, you’ll find him just following along. 

This could happen for a lot of reasons, but for a man who feels unfulfilled in life, it’s usually a manifestation that he has yet to figure out what really fulfils his life.

Think about it:

If he truly knows what he wants in life, he would have a personal mission that guides his actions, keeping him from simply (and sometimes blindly) following others.

2) He’s happy with “just getting by” 

Is he satisfied by just doing the bare minimum at work and at home? 

If a man exerts minimal effort or displays lack of enthusiasm, it’s often a signal of his struggle to find a purpose

Why, you might ask?

Look at it this way:

Without life goals that feel meaningful, he sees no little to no reason to push himself beyond the minimum required for the daily grind.

3) He puts off decisions and tasks

Procrastination isn’t always about poor time management.

For some men, it’s a sign of deeper discontent.

If you find that he delays decisions or tasks, that could be a red flag indicating his sense of unfulfillment.

Putting things off could be his way of avoiding the larger questions or purpose of direction. 

Unfortunately, what he doesn’t realize is that this habit only leads to a cycle of stress and dissatisfaction that deepens his sense of being lost.

4) He sticks to the familiar

Men searching for meaning often cling to their comfort zone as a way of avoiding the uncertainty that comes with new challenges.

This could manifest as him sticking to the same routines day in and day out, going to the same places on vacation, or going out with the same people all the time.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with any of these. 

But if he’s never trying anything new, he could be missing out on a whole lot of things that could potentially break him free from feeling unfulfilled.

5) He shrinks his social circle

Watch out when he begins to decline invitations or when he pulls away from family and friends.


Because this withdrawal can be his protective measure to avoid confronting the emptiness he feels. 

For a man who’s feeling lost in life, avoiding social scenes is easier than facing questions about his life.

6) He prefers superficial connections over deep bonds

He might not withdraw from his social circle but does he suddenly start keeping his friends at arm’s length?

Or does he avoid diving into new relationships altogether?

These behaviors could point to his fear that deeper connections will demand more than he feels capable of giving, which in turn is a reflection of his own uncertainties about life.

7) He shies away from commitments

It’s not just deep personal relationships he avoids.

Sometimes, a man searching for more in life might hold back from making big commitments in other aspects of his life like his job or even his future plans. 

This avoidance could be his way of keeping his life flexible just in case he feels trapped by these choices later.

This behavior shows that he’s not just unsure about the small stuff but also his whole life plan.

8) He loses interest in his favorite hobbies

When he starts to ignore the hobbies he used to love, take that as a sign that he’s questioning his joy and satisfaction.

It could be music, sports, or art – whatever it is that he was into. 

If he starts losing the spark in these activities, it could mean he’s trying to figure out if his happiness lies elsewhere, or if there’s more to life he’s missing out on.

9) He escapes into fantasy worlds

Do you notice him binge-watching TV shows more and more or getting lost in video games for longer hours than usual?

Take that as another sign that he feels unfulfilled with life.

When real life feels too heavy, diving into a fantasy can be a man’s temporary escape.

But here’s why this is not the answer to his lack of fulfilment:

These behaviors are like slapping a quick fix on a leaky roof. It’s a temporary fix and doesn’t solve the bigger and deeper issue.

10) He spends money like it’s going out of style

pic2652 If a man feels unfulfilled with life, he’ll almost always display these 18 behaviors

Watch out for impulse buys, lavish spending sprees, or even ignoring bills as any of these might be his way of filling a void or distracting from the lack of purpose he feels.

It’s as if he’s trying to buy a quick dose of happiness, but again, what he doesn’t see is that these irrational spending habits often lead to more stress and emptiness.

11) He envies others’ lives

Jealousy can be ugly. 

But it’s especially telling when a man seems obsessed with comparing his life to everyone else’s.

Here’s why:

His jealousy isn’t about others’ success or what they own.

It’s really more about the man wondering why everyone else seems to have their life figured out while he’s still here searching for his own path.

12) He struggles to live in the moment

If you notice a man always lost in thought of the past or worries about the future, that’s a sign that he might be having trouble finding happiness in the moment.

Living anywhere but in the present can indicate that he’s digging deep to find out what truly satisfies his deepest desires.

13) He overworks himself without clear reason

This could easily be mistaken as workaholism, but keep your eyes peeled.

Some men throw themselves into their work, not because they love what they do, but as their way of avoiding facing a lack of direction.

He might be hopping from one job to another or taking on too many projects hoping that he’d eventually stumble upon something that gives his life meaning.

14) He becomes cynical about others’ happiness

A man who starts doubting the sincerity of other people’s contentment might be reflecting his own disillusionment. 

His cynicism isn’t really about negativity. 

The reality is, he’s using it as a defence mechanism to shield himself against feeling left out of the fulfilment he sees others experiencing.

15) He neglects personal care

You have every right to be concerned if you notice any man in your life having no interest in personal grooming. 

It’s more than just a hygiene issue. 

Neglecting self care is a big sign that he has become apathetic. 

It’s a behavior that’s pretty much the non-verbal alternative to saying “what’s the point of making an effort?”, which is a common feeling among those who feel disconnected from their life’s purpose.

16) He also neglects his health

Forget about skipping the occasional haircut.

If he starts ignoring his diet, exercise, or medical needs, alarm bells should be ringing. 

This time it isn’t just indifference. 

It’s a concerning step further towards self destruction.

Ignoring his health is often a man’s quiet form of self-sabotage that results from either unresolved conflict or a sense of hopelessness.

17) He uses substances to numb discomfort

Some men turn to alcohol or drugs to mask deeper issues.

Sure, we’re all guilty of the occasional drunkenness now and then – especially when the situation calls for it. 

But when a man starts using these substances more frequently than usual, you might want to look into it. 

For all you know, it could be his way of dulling his feelings of emptiness and discomfort. 

18) He overly focuses on failures

When a man often talks about past mistakes or dwells on his setbacks, consider it a sign that he feels unfulfilled.

It shows he’s stuck, focusing more on what’s gone wrong than on finding ways to improve

Sure, there are men who are self-reflective – those who look at their failures as lessons, analyzing what didn’t work so he can make better choices for next time.

But a man who feels unfulfilled dwells on his failures, constantly thinking about what went wrong without any intent to move forward.

It’s as if he’s stuck replaying the same sad song over, and over, and over again.

The takeaway

A lot of men struggle quietly, unsure about where they stand in life.

We rarely notice this because they don’t say much about how they feel, probably because it’s also tough for them to open up, let alone about matters that deep.

But a simple gesture from you can make a big difference. 

In the same way that they can’t use their words to express how they feel, you also don’t have to use your words to express your support.

If any of the behaviors above sound familiar and you suspect that a man in your life may be struggling with his sense of fulfillment, why not invite him for a drink, a cup of coffee, or maybe a round of golf or a game of hoops?

Use your actions to show that you’re there for him.

Because sometimes, just knowing someone is willing to listen can help him feel less alone and more understood.

For all you know, your simple yet kind gesture could be what he needs to help him rediscover his purpose.

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.