Men who are struggling to find meaning in life often display these 17 behaviors without realizing it

Historically, men have played the protector role, expected by society to be the strong and silent type.

Whether we admit it or not, this expectation has stubbornly persisted in this modern age.

What’s unfortunate is this stereotype prevents us from seeing men’s vulnerabilities and prevents them from asking out loud, “What am I doing in my life?”

Thanks to society’s pressures to “man up,” men rarely verbalize their internal battles.

But here’s the catch:

Without even realizing it, their actions can say more than their words ever could.

So, if you’re wondering whether a man is searching for meaning in his life, pay close attention to any of these 17 behaviors that speak volumes about a man’s inner search for meaning:

1) He drifts along

If he always lets others make choices for him or shows no interest in opportunities for growth or change, it might be a sign of his passive approach to life.

This passivity could be his defense mechanism for fear of failure or rejection.

But it could also be a sign of his disinterest in taking charge of his destiny because he struggles with determining his purpose in life.

Either way, letting life happen to him instead of actively creating an intentional life prevents a man from discovering his true passions and potential.

2) He does the bare minimum

A man unsure of his purpose in life may often seem listless or sluggish.

It’s not that he can’t.

It’s just that he doesn’t have clear goals, so there’s little to nothing that drives him to exert any effort.

This lack of motivation often makes him question the point of hard work or ambition, so he doesn’t bother engaging in activities beyond the bare minimum.

3) He procrastinates

Some do the least they possibly can, while some delay doing anything for as long as possible.

And while procrastination can be explained by a simple time management or prioritization issue, it can also be a symptom of deeper problems, like struggling to find meaning in life.

But it can be a dangerous cycle:

Failing to complete tasks on time can cause a spiral of negative emotions, derailing his efforts to find his calling.

4) He is reluctant to try new things

If you find that he often declines invites to new activities, it can be a behavior tied to his deeper feelings of meaninglessness.

It has less to do with the experience but more with him choosing to stay in his comfort zone.

For men whose purpose is unclear, their comfort zone is a place that gives them a sense of security and predictability.

Stepping out of this means facing the unknown, which can be intimidating for someone who has no clear sense of direction to guide his way.

5) He avoids social interactions

When he also starts rejecting invites to hang out with friends or family, take that as another sign of his search for direction.

A man who struggles to find meaning in life will often withdraw from social interactions because these encounters can force him to confront his feelings of emptiness.

Again, it’s not that he doesn’t want to connect.

It’s just that catching up with others can unintentionally bring his life’s doubts into sharper focus.

6) He prefers superficial relationships

Avoiding social get-togethers doesn’t mean they will avoid all relationships altogether.

The reality is, they’re still capable of forming relationships, only they avoid deeper, more meaningful ones.

They don’t feel secure in their own lives, so they’d rather go for relationships that demand less commitment, because it mirrors their personal feelings of instability.

7) He withdraws from his passions

When you notice a man losing interest in hobbies that were once part of his routine, that could signify his deeper existential crisis.

His withdrawal could be his way of saying that these passions no longer give him the same level of satisfaction or joy because he’s confronting the reality that happiness might lie elsewhere.

8) He immerses himself in fantasy land

Sometimes, when a man feels stuck in a rut, he turns to things that make him forget about the real world for a while.

This could mean watching TV shows for hours on end, playing video games more than usual, getting into books or movies about imaginary places, or just spending a lot of time daydreaming.

It’s like hitting the pause button on the stress or disappointment he’s facing. It puts him somewhere else entirely, where he doesn’t deal with any of the real stuff.

But what he fails to realize is:

He’s just putting a Band-Aid on his broken arm – it might cover up his issue for a bit, but it doesn’t really fix the problem.

9) He becomes reckless with money

Reckless spending Men who are struggling to find meaning in life often display these 17 behaviors without realizing it

He may not resort to escapism through his fantasy world, but he’s pretty much using the same Band-Aid solution when he engages in impulsive spending.

Behaviors such as large and unnecessary purchases on a whim or neglecting to pay his bills can signal a man’s attempt to fill a void or distract himself from his lack of purpose.

10) He gets jealous of others’ lives

Another sign that he’s dissatisfied with life and is searching for its true meaning is when he constantly compares his life to others.

It may look like he’s jealous of someone else’s wealth, beauty, fame, or relationships, but it might go beyond that.

What he could be really envious of is that everyone else has found their purpose – something that he is still struggling to achieve.

11) He can’t enjoy the present

The concept of carpe diem, or seizing the moment, is also something a man struggles to achieve when he’s dealing with uncertainty about his life’s direction.

When he dwells on the past or worries about the future excessively, it could suggest his difficulty finding meaning in the here and now.

If he’s living everywhere but in the moment, he’s struggling to find joy in the journey.

12) He works too much or everywhere

There’s the workaholic man, and then there’s the man who overworks himself in search of his true calling.

The difference?

The workaholic buries himself in work because he equates his self-worth with productivity and success.

On the other hand, the man hunting for meaning immerses himself in work or hops from one job to another because he’s trying to find something that gives his life a purpose.

13) He’s a cynic

There’s one more thing being around people who feel content and fulfilled does to men who can’t find their purpose in the world:

It makes them a cynic.

When it looks like he’s the only one who doesn’t know his “why,” it can sometimes create the false belief that this is because there is something inherently wrong with the world and society.

They end up thinking that finding their place in the world is a joke when the world is flawed anyway.

14) He doesn’t care about self-care

Be alarmed if you notice him ignoring basic grooming practices such as shaving or haircuts.

That could be his way of expressing deep apathy in life.

His pattern of thought is probably something like this:

“There’s no value or meaning in my life, so why would I bother taking care of how I look?”

15) He neglects his personal health

Those alarms should be heightened if his lack of care goes beyond his appearance and extends into his health.

If he’s not paying attention to his diet or exercise, or he’s neglecting his medical issues, it can mean a deeper level of indifference.

It could be his silent form of self-sabotage, triggered by his internal struggles and his feelings of hopelessness toward hisr future.

16) He misuses substances

Let’s not forget the other ways one could ruin his health: abuse of alcohol or recreational drugs.

Turning into these substances is a coping mechanism.

It’s his way of numbing his feelings of emptiness or dissatisfaction.

It’s a behavior that indicates a deeper struggle to find purpose or joy in his daily life.

But here’s what he’s missing:

Overusing substances only puts extra obstacles in his way to discovering what he’s really looking for in life.

17) He is indecisive

While it can be annoying when the man in your life constantly changes his mind or struggles to make even the simplest decisions (like where to go for dinner), take it as a sign that he’s going through more than he’s letting you know.

His indecisiveness could be because he’s afraid to mess up. He might worry that even small choices could lead to big mistakes.

This fear can paralyze him, making him miss out on chances that could guide him to his life’s purpose.

Listen to his actions

Men’s actions often speak volumes, especially when their words are trapped by societal expectations.

Often, a man’s behaviors aren’t just habits. They’re clues to a man’s internal thoughts.

Maybe it’s time we start reading their actions and listening to their behaviors.

Because sometimes, a man’s silence is his loudest cry for help.

Picture of Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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