7 signs a man is secretly lonely in life, according to psychology

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found that it takes a long time to get to know men and whether they’re doing alright or not. They seem to be the masters or hiding how they actually feel.

Luckily for us, we can check these 7 signs that psychologists have discovered that tell us if a man is lonely in life or not. Read on to find out more.

1) Excessive social media

I’m sure you’re not surprised to see excessive social media as the top sign. I’m sure there’s been a time when you’ve been feeling sad at home and just scrolled the day away too. I know I’ve done it many times before.

But it’s not just when we’re hungover or tired or feeling unwell I’m talking about a constant obsession, almost an addiction. 

When we are lonely, we crave connection. Often men think that by going on social media, they’re connecting with others. However, we know that sending each other funny memes is so different than going down to the pub for a beer and a chat.

An interesting article about the effects of excessive social media use explains, “The more people used the internet, the less time they spent talking to their families and friends, the less time they spent with them, and the less they attended events outside the household”.

It seems like a downward spiral.

2) Overinvests in hobbies

Have you noticed any men in your life who get so deep into their hobbies that they don’t have time for anything else? 

They don’t have time to think, let alone dwell on any feelings or emotions. When they do go out and speak with people, they only talk about what it is they’re into.

My friend’s dad was like this. He loved tinkering on his motorbike.

But that is the only thing that he would talk about, and he would always be out in the garage doing something on it, or else he’d be watching videos on a way to improve it or change something on it.

I never found out anything else about him.

Constant gaming is another way in which men who feel this way overinvest in a hobby, however, if they are involved in a gaming community then this could be a way to combat loneliness.

3) Social withdrawal

A mental health blog suggests that men who don’t have social hobbies don’t create the friendships necessary to combat this loneliness. This can then lead to social withdrawal. 

When you notice a man spending less and less quality time with their friends and family, it could be a sign that they are feeling unhappy or lonely. There are many reasons why they might do this to begin with, for example;

  • Life changes such as a job loss
  • Mental health issues
  • Trauma or loss
  • Physical health issues
  • Or even some kind of stigma or shame

Any of these could be the catalyst to withdrawing from social interaction, and once a man starts this kind of behavior it’s often hard to come back from.

Men generally have a lot of pride and can find it difficult to come back from changes they’ve made in a social setting.

4) Trouble sleeping

Trouble sleeping alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely or that your loved one is lonely. But it can be a clue when coupled with a few of the other signs.

This article explains that addressing loneliness could be the key to a better night’s sleep as well as healthier aging. 

The article continues by stating “A simpler concept is loneliness may make it more difficult for people to cope with stresses of everyday life, which can lead to insomnia symptoms.” and then explains that we are born to be connected to others both socially and emotionally.

It continues by saying that a way to combat this could be to connect with others by joining a club or by engaging in social activities. It even suggests volunteering.

These are things where the person can meet new people and even feel better about themselves by giving back to the community.

drinking to cope with pain 7 signs a man is secretly lonely in life, according to psychology

5) Drinking excessively or binge eating

Again these signs could mean a lot of different things, (usually not positive ones) but as with the last point, if they are seen together could mean this person is feeling alone.

Drinking excessively could be this person’s way of coping with social anxiety, or their way to try and fit in, or perhaps as an excuse for if they behave stupidly.

But it could also be a way that they are trying to forget about how they feel about things in life.

Sometimes excessive drinking can alienate a person from their friends because of the way that they act when they are intoxicated. And unfortunately, this will often feed a man’s loneliness and usually encourage the cycle to continue.

As with excessive drinking, binge eating can also become a habit for someone with low self-esteem or mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, (which are often catalysts for loneliness).

People who binge eat are often embarrassed by this habit and therefore begin to isolate themselves more from the people who care about them. Thus they become more lonely than before. It’s a vicious cycle.

Most people who end up binging food or drinking excessively need professional help to get out of these cycles and habits. But connection, love, and a lack of judgment from the people around them are also key.

6) Craving validation while still seeming confident

Have you ever seen a guy who just seemed so confident on the outside, but when you got to know him he was deeply insecure on the inside? I always wondered why this happens.

As it turns out, there are many reasons why they do this. Such as;

  • Masking insecurities
  • Social comparison – thinking they need to act a certain why
  • Fear of rejection if they’re not big, confident, and interesting
  • The desire for connection – thinking that acting this way will help him find this
  • External validation – used as a way to boost their confidence while they’re out

Sometimes these men are easy to pick out of a crowd, but at other times they seem like they are confident, fun guys.

One clue is that they will try to outdo other people (especially other men) with an alpha-male-like tendency. They will also try and charm the ladies to try and get that validation that they are likable.

Unfortunately, since these men aren’t making true connections with the people they are with when they are out, it is hard for them to form a real relationship with anyone. 

These men need to realize that they need to find like-people because they won’t judge them and they can be open and real without needing to worry.

7) Emotionally unavailable

Can you think of a really cool guy you’ve met that you got on with well, but you just couldn’t break down that emotional brick wall?

This man may be feeling lonely on the inside. But why does he act this way?

When a man is feeling lonely they keep their emotions inside due to reasons such as these;

  • Fear of vulnerability
  • Past betrayals or trauma
  • Avoidance attachment
  • Lack of self-worth
  • A form of control
  • A way of keeping themselves safe

Until a man feels comfortable with someone, after taking a long time to get to know them and finally beginning to trust them. Only then will they begin to open up. 

This article has some good insights into emotional unavailability and talks about what it looks like, as well as some of the reasons why someone might act like this.

It goes on to say some things about what you can do if you have been feeling like this or if someone you know has been emotionally unavailable. 

If you are trying to get through to that lonely, emotionally unavailable man then you can try carefully bringing up some of the behaviors that you’re concerned about, or point out (in a compassionate way) how the way they are affects your relationship.

Other suggestions were to suggest therapy (again compassionately and kindly) and if they do begin to open up, encourage and support this. 

Final thoughts

If you’re worried about yourself or someone else, there is a helpful loneliness scale that you can read through.

Find out how you’re doing and don’t forget to reach out for help. If you feel like you can’t speak to anyone close to you, then speaking with a professional, such as a therapist is always the best option. 

As Helen Keller once shared, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.”

Picture of Louisa Lopez

Louisa Lopez

Louisa is writer, wellbeing coach, and world traveler, with a Masters in Social Anthropology. She is fascinated by people, psychology, spirituality and exploring psychedelics for personal growth and healing. She’s passionate about helping people and has been giving empowering advice professionally for over 10 years using the tarot. Louisa loves magical adventures and can often be found on a remote jungle island with her dogs. You can connect with her on Twitter: @StormJewel

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.