In my job, one of the commonest problems I hear men complain about is loneliness (I’m a GP and church pastor). Actually, I’m bending the truth there; it’s rare men complain about being lonely directly – I often have to pry it out of them.

Most blokes suffer in silence, sadly. We did a survey in our church, and a quarter of men wished they had more male friends “often” or “always”. When you added “sometimes”, it increased to 75% of the lads! Here at Sorted, we are passionate about seeing men well set up for life. That means having quality friends to walk along with. The challenge? Finding them. Here’s a few ways to connect with blokes better.

Go one-on-one

There’s almost certainly someone in your life that you exchange words with regularly. A colleague? A neighbour? An old school friend? It can be daunting, but simply saying “Fancy meeting for a coffee?” works wonders. Or a beer, if that’s your sort of thing. Almost every one of my quality friendships has started over totally casual social encounters. Just grab half an hour, and then do it again. I’ve got a mate who is (nearly) double my age and we meet for coffee every few weeks. On the face of it, we don’t have a huge amount of shared interests – but it turns out that doesn’t really matter; just doing anything together has sparked a lifelong friendship.

Find something you enjoy

I love board games; one of the first things I do when I visit a new place is join an evening board game club. It’s instantly not awkward, because everyone there wants to talk about the same things I do. You absolutely don’t have to like board games though; has local groups in most towns for almost any interest. Watching sport can be a great bonding experience too; and it works across languages and culture beautifully too. I went to a Warrington Town game with some Iranian and Hong Kong mates recently; we can’t communicate in English very well, but we can all groan and shout when the ref makes a terrible call. Sports clubs are a reliable option too; especially running groups – there’s lots of low-pressure time to chat whilst plodding alongside someone.

Check out a church

Look, maybe the whole church thing isn’t your cup of tea. I’ve been there. The thing is, most churches are filled with people who deeply care about one another. In many of them there’s an unusual sense of belonging, of family, of commitment to wholehearted friendship with one another. Christian Vision for Men operates a directory of churches that intentionally run men’s groups, aiming to connect blokes. To connect you. Most of them will operate in a very low-pressure way; stuff like breakfasts, walks in the countryside and curry nights. Check out your area at, or drop them an email if you’d like to try connecting to someone local.

Chris Lowry

Chris Lowry is a community pastor and a doctor, based in Warrington. He is married to Katherine and they have three children. He also creates books and games at, writes for Tabletop Gaming magazine, and massively values his male friendships.

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