Social Distancing Blues: Indiana men admit missing their drinking buddies

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A survey of 2,445 American men has revealed the impact of social dis­tancing on men’s health since the start of the pandemic. While men are often stereotyped as less inclined to discuss their feelings (with 1 in 10 having experienced feelings of depression and anxiety on a daily basis, yet less than half (41%) have sought help from a mental health professional), it appears that the ab­sence of meet-ups with their friends has had a significant impact on their general well-being. Whether it is hanging at the barber shop, watch­ing sports in a bar or cards in the basement on a weeknight, the sur­vey by AlcoholRehab.com has re­vealed how much men miss just being with their buddies.

Half of those polled in Indiana (49%) revealed they have often felt depressed as a result of having lim­ited contact with friends since the start of the pandemic. Interesting­ly, 1 in 5 (15%) of them said that in pre-pandemic times, they’d offload to their friends before their part­ner about any issues they might have (perhaps not wanting to bur­den their significant other or wor­ry them unduly).

But what is it that men have missed the most discussing with friends? Understandably, the survey found that nearly a quarter (23%) dis­cussed relationship issues and a similar amount talked about fami­ly issues. However, it is work-relat­ed issues that men are most willing to get off their chest (46%). Since so many are working from home, they are unable to discuss issues with work colleagues. Money issues pre­occupy 8% of men.

“Bonding over alcohol is nothing out of the ordinary – some employ­ers even encourage drinking among coworkers during team-building ac­tivities or as a routine occurrence af­ter work, and many people often drink with their friends,” said Court­ney Messina, outpatient clinical di­rector at Greenhouse Treatment Center and spokesperson for Alco­holRehab.com. “If drinking with others took place frequently, now is the time to check on those close to you. Habitual drinking can lead to problematic drinking, which can devolve into dependency. If you sus­pect that you, a friend or coworker is having trouble coping with these difficult times and may have an un­healthy relationship with alcohol, take the time to understand all op­tions available and provide support when needed.”

When it comes to bonding, a sub­stantial 70% said they are happi­est when just hanging out togeth­er. Nearly 1 in 5 (16%) feel they bond most when watching or play­ing sports together, and more than 1 in 10 (14%) say it is when they drink together.

The most popular drinking ses­sion is during the Super Bowl; 33% of men say this yearly event rep­resents the best drinking session of them all and nearly a quarter (24%) prefer to share beers on Christmas Eve. Twenty-one percent enjoy a session on New Year’s Eve and the same amount enjoy drinks over Thanksgiving. Of course, this year will be very different; thanks to social distancing measures, many men (and women) may have to spend these normally significant so­cial occasions with far fewer friends or family.

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