5 Challenges & Tips for the Middle-Aged Man with No Friends


Anyone can suffer from loneliness. You might think of yourself as a middle-aged man with no friends and start to feel hopeless. But the truth is many men have a hard time making friends as an adult and feel like they’re missing out on friendship.

You might ask yourself, “Why don’t I have friends?”. There are tons of contributing factors that lead to you being a middle-aged man with no friends.


5 Challenges for the Middle-Aged Man with No Friends


1. Your career

Many men are ambitious and prioritize their careers. There’s nothing wrong with putting in the time and hard work to create a stable, meaningful life for yourself. But you might have also got caught up with the lie that our society tells us—that we’re only as good as our job. It makes guys spend extra time and effort focusing on their careers when they could be spending time with friends.


2. Your family

A lot changes from our twenties and thirties into middle age. Typically, this is when men get married, have children, buy a house, and have to make sure they’re making enough money to keep up with all of that. It doesn’t leave a whole lot of time in your schedule, does it? Plenty of well-connected, affable guys in their 20s turn into middle-aged men with no friends simply because friendships fell by the wayside while they started a family.


3. Friends change

When we’re young, many of our friendships simply happen. We were in the same grade, lived in the same dorm room, or played pick-up basketball together. But once we leave those social groups, guys start to move away or follow a different path. Sometimes, you or your friend start to have different interests and values, weakening the friendship until there’s nothing there anymore.


4. Social skills

As a middle-aged man with no friends, you might find that your social skills have gotten a little rusty over time. Like with anything, you’re out of practice and don’t have the ease or confidence to navigate the complexities of forging a new friendship as an adult.


5. Fear of Rejection

Everyone has fears in their heart and mind. It can be intimidating to jump back into socializing for a middle-aged man with no friends. You might internalize it as a flaw of your own when you ask yourself, “Why don’t I have friends?” or someone doesn’t appear to want to be your friend.


5 Tips for Making Friends as a Middle-Aged Man

If you’re wondering, “Why don’t I have friends?” there is hope! Here are some simple steps you can take to rediscover the joys of friendship.


1. Self-Reflection

Think about who you are and your story. Sometimes, we have illusions about ourselves. Other times, we have patterns of distancing ourselves or driving others away. It’s not your fault—they usually go back to deep-seated behavior we learned from our parents. Understanding this can free you from these patterns and preconceived limiting ideas about ourselves. It gives you a fresh start when you begin relating to others and building friendships. Instead of wondering, “Why don’t I have friends?” I hope it excites you about the prospect of making friendships.


2. Seek Support

If loneliness is affecting your well-being, don’t be afraid to approach a mentor, an elder at your church, your dad or father-in-law, or a therapist. Simply being able to voice these thoughts can go a long way in getting out of your head and getting some good, personalized advice.


3. Join Clubs or Groups

What are the hobbies or pastimes that really excite you? Maybe it’s something you haven’t allowed yourself to spend time on while you built your career or started your family. Consider joining a club or group related to your interests so you can meet like-minded individuals.


4. Reconnect with Old Friends

You might feel like a middle-aged man with no friends because you’ve moved away or your friends have moved away—and you all have busy lives that have kept you from reconnecting. Reach out to old friends and catch up with them. This can give you the joys of friendship and rebuild your confidence so you can make new ones, too.


5. Be Intentional

This is the most important advice. Being intentional about making friends puts you in the vulnerable position of being rejected. But most guys probably feel just like you and would welcome a guy taking the initiative to start a friendship. But it’s so important for another reason—turning a good acquaintance into a true friend is about being intentional about being there for each other, being open, and going through life together.


It’s never too late to make friends

Remember, it’s never too late to make new friends and enrich your life with the bonds of friendship. Learn how to achieve deeper friendship and download Playbook for Level 5 Friendship.

How to Take Your Friendships to the Highest Level

I know you’re busy. Most of us are. We have all sorts of stuff going. Some of us have a business phone full of too many emails and texts as well. Some of us are busy traveling. Most of us check a steady stream of social feeds—Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook—rinse…recycle…repeat. Maybe you’re the guy who enjoys a recreational sport when you can. 

Maybe your version of busy has doubled now that you’re a husband or a dad. And as an owner of a home, there’s always something that needs fixing or at least maintenance. Oh, and if your kids are in sports, then you’re too busy to do anything I mentioned in my first paragraph. 

Despite all of that, you don’t feel as strong as you would have expected. Maybe you’ve made compromises and slid into negative habits. On top of all of this, you might be realizing that, even though you’re so busy, you’re actually lonely. You miss those days when you had a best friend—someone you spent a bunch of time with, really knew you, and actually had time to be around you. 

Guess what? You’re not alone. In fact, it’s been declared an “Epidemic of Loneliness.” Fifteen years ago, researchers started noticing a shift in our social fabric. The US Surgeon General recently declared it a public health crisis. Here are just a few stats:

  • Four in 10 Americans say they don’t have a best friend at all (a 25 percent increase since 1990).
  • Men typically have fewer close friends than women do.
  • The percentage of men without any close friends jumped fivefold to 15 percent in 2021 (from three precent in 1990).
  • 76 percent of men don’t have a close and trusted friend they can share anything with.
  • Success Magazine reports that 61 percent of young adults (age 18-25) feel “serious loneliness.”

Don’t worry, I won’t go on further about this discouraging stuff. Instead, I’m going to focus on what you and I really want. Friendship. Finding real friendships makes us better men, prevents many of the dumb things we do, and improves the important things we do in life. 


How do you make these deep bonds?

One study reported becoming a best friend takes 300 hours of togetherness. Racking up those hours takes a lot of intention. In fact, I’d argue it’s more about the intentionality than the amount of time. 

My friend Dave and I hit it off, we developed a deep friendship after only four calls. I didn’t even meet Dave in person until a couple of months ago, but we’ve been connecting over Zoom. We withhold nothing from each other and pray about everything. We are intentional, that’s the big difference maker. 

He’s a Level 5 friend. Level 5 friendship is a concept that came to me while reading Good to Great, a brilliant business leadership book by Jim Collins. In it, he highlights the traits shared among the most influential leaders, what he called “Level 5 leaders.” I realized you could apply the same tiers to types of friendships.

Level 5 friends are in it for the long haul. I’ve been benched, traded, cut, and seen my football career go pitch black. I’ve had to fire myself from the non-profit I started. I saw my dad die of cancer. My daughter-in-law underwent brain surgery for a tumor. Sharing my troubles with friends didn’t only lessen the burden, it bonded us together.


Time to take your friendship to the next level.

Of course, this type of friendship is not my idea. Like everything good, it started with and belongs to Jesus. Deep transformative friendship is the essential way Jesus lived and worked with men. He changed the world by calling twelve working dudes to be His friends, grew them into friends of each other, and sent them out as teams of brothers. 

Huddling with 2-3 men to encourage and equip one another can be one of the most life-giving things in your life. Explore MenHuddle now and see how a group of men can commit to deep friendship and bring each other closer to God.

Why True Male FRIENDSHIPS are Needed Today

Men are going through a blitz right now—and they need male friendships to turn the obstacles into growth.

For years, technology has been growing all around us, encroaching on our lives and building walls of isolation. It certainly didn’t help when the pandemic arrived, further cutting people off from others and their communities. 

Both men and women are feeling lonely, but we guys aren’t as “comfortable admitting” it, a recent study suggested. Maybe that’s why they carry on without taking action. 3 in 4 men report not having “a close and trusted friend.”

At the same time as loneliness has grown, the #MeToo movement called out some of the widespread abuse of men using their power and influence for their own selfish gratification. The word masculinity became a word charged with all kinds of negative meanings. But masculinity is not inherently toxic. A healthy, positive masculinity can and should be fostered among friends.


“As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.”

Proverbs 27:17


Male Friendships Are More Important Than Ever Right Now


Male friendships provide something unique.

If you’re married or in a committed relationship, you know there’s nothing like the closeness between you and your wife or your girlfriend. But even if it’s the central relationship in your life, it shouldn’t be the only close one you have. Male friends can relate to you better in some ways. They can understand some of your dreams and struggles intimately because they’re going through them too. They can even help you grow spiritually as you go through life together.


Men miss male friendships.

Many men look back on the glory days of their youth. But more than any athletic accomplishments, they’re nostalgic for spending a bunch of time with a group of guys. Male friendships take up less and less space as family and work take up more. The result is that men feel something is missing, and rightfully so. It’s a camaraderie that brings joy and meaning to our lives.


Men need dependable friends who they can be totally honest with.

Men have all kinds of insecurities that they never share with others. They think it will make them look weak and lose the approval that they’re seeking. Nowadays, some men seek to unburden themselves by posting anonymously in an online forum. But you need a true friend you can trust who knows your story—someone who is there to listen to and provide personal advice. 


Men need friends to hold each other accountable—and uphold positive masculinity.

Without accountability, men have the tendency to tell half-truths and indulge in destructive behaviors. But a group of men can hold each other, without judgment, to a higher standard of masculinity—one that puts others first and care for them as Jesus cared for His disciples, encouraging them and washing their feet. This way, men can positively use their strength to challenge others to be better. Remember Jesus standing between the angry mob and the woman (John 8:1-11). 



Stronger Male Friendships Build Stronger Men.

I hope the reasons above give you the courage to make new male friends, remind you to reconnect with an old friend, or compel you to get some guys together for a MenHuddle—that’s what I call a group of friends who have committed themselves to intentional, deep friendship that brings them closer to Jesus. If you’re ready to do that with your male friends, download the Playbook For Level 5 Friendship now. 

Signs of Self-Isolation and How to Stop It

A man can find himself in a season of self-isolation when he’s without someone to turn to. Some men start self-isolating because they are afraid to be real and show people their insecurities, while others let pride raise them above the reproach of anyone, living on their own self-righteous pedestal. Some have lost hope for carrying out a meaningful purpose in life and waste away alone doing trivial things to stay distracted. 

Whatever the reason, it’s not too late—recognize the signs of self-isolation so you can live the way God wants you to live. To be fully alive. 


What are the Signs of Self-Isolation?


1) You automatically say “no” to plans. 

You have begun to no longer see the value of spending time with others.


2) Numbing yourself with solitary activities.

Hobbies are great and so is a bit of alone time, but you can’t use it as an excuse to avoid others.


3) Feeling detached.

You don’t have an interest in connecting with others and have a hard time enjoying their company—even with friends and family.


4) Throwing yourself into your work.

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book that men use to self-isolate.


5) Not being alone with God.

Are you afraid God will stop you in your tracks and call you into the sometimes difficult world of being with others?


6) Worsening mental health.

You don’t enjoy being around others and you feel anxious when you are.


7) Poor health.

Scientists have found that a lack of social interaction can lead to all kinds of health risks, including heart disease, increased blood pressure, and dementia.


How to Stop Self-Isolation

Giving up the short-term safety of self-isolation is not easy to do. But you have the power to change your mindset and stop self-isolation—and these 5 steps will help.


1) Remember that God made humans to be relational beings.

God is a relational being—Jesus came down to earth to demonstrate the way He related to the Father and encouraged us to do the same. Because we are made in the image of God, we are relational by nature, too. From the very beginning of the Bible, God says this Himself: “It’s not right that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18).


2) Invest in others.

You might self-isolate because you’re disappointed in what you get from others. Instead, take an investor mindset to the people around you. Pour your effort and time into them—not because you expect to get anything back (no one can live up to the expectations we have for them in our minds) but because you want to see them grow. You’ll be amazed how this transforms your ability to give others and the satisfaction it brings you.


3) Invest in others.

For one, this will remove any delusions of self-pity. You might have been self-isolating because you’re waiting for someone to notice—when they don’t, you think no one cares, distancing you further. Any true friend will take action and get you out of isolation. Telling others will also keep you accountable when you want to cancel plans. Best of all, though, sharing your struggles will alleviate the burden you’ve been carrying. 


4) Get plugged into your community

God doesn’t just ask us to seek Him. He wants us to build community and bring joy to each other’s lives. Join a club or volunteer, so you can make new friends and give back. When you’re alone, you’re always thinking about the next desire you want to fulfill. Shifting your focus to others brings you gratitude, satisfaction, and peace.  


5) Be intentional with your friends.

Once you’ve started to pull yourself out of your self-isolation, it’s important to really commit to your friendships. Set aside a time every week or month to get together and be real with one another.


What is Level 5 Friendship?

Are you ready to stop self-isolation and find friends in Jesus? Download the Playbook for Level 5 Friendship to get easy-to-follow advice for getting real with others and closer to God.

Find a True Friend in Jesus

What is a true friend? A true friend is someone who’s always there for you. He gives you unconditional support and helps you see who you really are. He holds you accountable and always encourages you, building you up to be the man you were meant to be. 

Where do I get that picture of a true friend? It’s not inspired by any real friends in my own life, even though I have a few great friends who do those things for me.

And I’m not fleshing out the idea of a perfect friend with a set of ideal characteristics, either. Psychology Today, for example, has these essential traits of friendship:

  1. Trustworthiness
  2. Honesty
  3. Dependability
  4. Loyalty
  5. Trustworthiness
  6. Empathy
  7. Humility
  8. Attentive
  9. Supportive of Others
  10. Confident
  11. Humourous
  12. Fun


I get it from Jesus, who gave us the perfect example of a true friend with his life on earth. He exhibited all those traits listed by Psychology Today (including a good sense of humor) and so many more at a standard that no one else could. 


5 Ways Jesus Modelled True Friendship

  1. Non-judgmental: Jesus hung out with the sinners and courageously saved a woman from a self-righteous, blood-thirsty mob. He asked His Father to forgive the very people who had him killed. He forgave His friends: Peter for denying Him and Thomas for doubting Him.
  2. Honesty: Jesus never deceived, but always revealed the truth instead. He even called out his friend Peter for losing sight of their mission to save humanity.
  3. Empathy: When He saw his friends weeping over the death of their friend Lazarus, Jesus, who knew he could and would raise him from the dead, felt their pain and wept alongside them.
  4. Selfless: Jesus served his disciples. He sacrificed His life so that sinners like you and me could have eternal life.
  5. Dependable: He constantly looked out for his followers and disciples in life. He huddled up with them and created a deep bond. Now, He looks after us with a personal relationship and unconditional love. 


He will be your true friend if you invite Him into your life (if you have not already). Spend time with him like you would with your real friends. Sometimes, hang out with Jesus one-on-one to get closer to him and grow spiritually. Other times, get a group together to spend time with Him and build a brotherhood of deep friendships.


How do you apply Jesus’ example and become a true friend to others?  

It’s important to turn a few of your friends into true friends. As someone who’s dedicated 30 years of my life to helping men form deep friendships, I realized there was a proven path they could follow. 

Few people have all the traits that Jesus modelled and no one does it perfectly like He did. The key to being a true friend is making a commitment to help each other get closer to Jesus’ example. That means you meet regularly and go deep. You disclose your dreams, struggles, and everything in between. You go through life together. 


Are you ready to live by Jesus’ example and be a true friend to others?


Build Deeper Friendship with MenHuddle.

If you’re looking to deepen friendship and mutual mentoring, check out the PLAYBOOK FOR LEVEL 5 FRIENDSHIP—a guide that will help you connect with other men in a meaningful way and catalyze spiritual growth in each other’s lives.

Deep Friendship and the Way of Jesus

How are we lonelier than ever when we can count all the friends we’ve made over the years on Facebook? Recently, 60% of Americans report that they feel lonely on a pretty regular basis. 


Some have a hard time finding friends in adulthood. Others have no shortage of friends, but still long for a deeper friendship in their lives. 


It’s more than having buddies at work to pass the time easier or a couple guys around for a free weekend here and there. Research says that deep friendship can help us “find purpose and meaning,” not to mention “stay healthy and live longer.” 


So how can you cultivate deep friendships? Among the many things Jesus taught us, He gave us the perfect model of a true friend.  


The 4 Keys to Deep Friendship


1. Shared interests (and a common goal)

To build a deep friendship, you need to have something in common. Tom Flick is a good, true friend of mine. He and I couldn’t be more different except for the position we played in football. He’s an introvert. I’m an extrovert. I’m a dreamer with a serious streak of spontaneity. Tom is methodical and detail-oriented.


Despite our differences, our friendship is going strong long after we retired from our NFL quarterbacking careers, thanks to our shared interests in biking, skiing and, more importantly, our faith in Christ.


This common trait at the core of our identities aligns us in the most important ways. We are both going in the same direction—focused on living for God and growing spiritually.


Am I saying you should only be friends with people who believe the same things as you?


Absolutely not. Jesus showed us that He would talk to anyone, especially those who had been shunned by the so-called righteous of society. He found people who desired change, like the woman at the well (John 4:15) and the crucified criminal (Luke 23:40). 


My point? Find friends who won’t pull you down but are committed to going in the right direction, too. 


2. Deep friendship means deep care

Our culture rarely depicts two male friends who care for each other openly and deeply. One of the best, simplest things you can do to build a deep friendship is to go out of your way to show interest, appreciation and care for the other person. 


When an obstacle comes up in a friend’s life, don’t think of it as a chore you need to help out with if he asks you. Proactively offer your time and effort. Sometimes, it’s as easy as checking in and seeing how he’s doing. That’s the sign of a true friend.


Jesus was always caring for his disciples. He encouraged them constantly and prepared them for what lay ahead. He was always thinking about their physical and emotional needs. 


The most striking example? The Son of God taking the place of a servant to wash their dirty feet after a long, dusty day of travel. As Jesus lowered Himself to serve them, he also raised their spiritual understanding and counted them as friends.


“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:5). 


3. Total honesty

Deep friendship cannot form without honesty. You’ll have to be open about who you really are, including all your flaws and insecurities. I’ve found that being vulnerable bonds us together. We all struggle but we don’t have to feel alone in it. 


What did Jesus do when he felt “greatly distressed and troubled?” He confided in his friends, telling them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” (Matthew 26:38).


This openness also gives us the accountability and safety to confess our mistakes. Instead of hiding in the darkness, we move forward in the light. 


4. Intentionality and consistency

Jesus chose his friends specifically and built a deep friendship with each of them. He set up meals, walks, boat rides, silent times in the hills and more. These were times they could share in the intimacy of their brotherhood.


You can do the same thing. I challenge you to be the true friend who calls someone out of the blue to see how he’s doing. Set up a time to get coffee. But the real key is consistency. Decide to connect in a dependable and frequent way that works for you. Plan a weekly meeting designed for you to share about your lives (I call it Men Huddle). You can get on a Zoom call tonight! 


Build Deeper Friendship with MenHuddle.

If you’re looking to deepen friendship and mutual mentoring, check out the PLAYBOOK FOR LEVEL 5 FRIENDSHIP—a guide that will help you connect with other men in a meaningful way and catalyze spiritual growth in each other’s lives. 

How to Find Friends and Develop Deep Connections


We’re taught how to do a lot of things growing up. How to tie your shoes, ride a bike and throw a football… But were you ever taught how to find friends? 

Nowadays, people are feeling more isolated than ever. A striking 76% of men “don’t have a close and trusted friend they can share anything with on any topic,” reports a 2021 Perspectives Survey by The Survey Center on American Life. 

Part of it is the natural progression of life. We grow up, get married and have kids, creating meaningful new relationships that require tons of time and attention. Too often, friendships go by the wayside. 

Then, when you realize friendship is missing from your life, you don’t know how to find friends. It just came naturally when you were growing up. You didn’t need tips for finding friends. You just met kids in your neighborhood or in the classroom. Maybe you made a bunch by joining a club or playing sports. 

Whatever it was, you felt like you belonged on the team. So why leave the joys of teamwork in the past?


Four Tips on How to Find Friends


1. Join a club or volunteer organization based on one of your interests. 

I started playing sports at a young age and quickly enjoyed the bonds of friendship. I was lucky enough to play football in high school, college, and the NFL. It pretty much guaranteed a close-knit group of buddies—the kind that spent every day together and had a shared mission that bonded us through both victory and defeat. 

My advice? Pick something with a purpose. In my 30 years of focusing on teamwork, I’ve found that working toward something forges true friendships faster.


2. Reconnect with an old friend in a meaningful way. 

In the age of super-connectivity and social media, it’s easy to think we’re keeping up with our social lives. We look on Facebook or Instagram and have a superficial, one-way relationship with the friends in our feeds. 

You might think, “I don’t know how to find friends in this modern age.”

Do it the old-fashioned way. Take some time out of your day to call an old friend and find out about what’s happening in his life. Find out how he’s doing deep down.

Really, it all comes down to how much you’re willing to invest.  

Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus showed us how to find friends and develop them. He was intentional in choosing his friends. And He had strong, close friendships with them, largely because He invested in them and helped them grow. He gave them attention and help. He challenged them and encouraged them. 


“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:12-13). 


Many men have been conditioned to take as much as they can and give very little. Jesus gave, and gave, and gave. 


3. Remember that everyone is looking for connection.

All the best investors are comfortable with a little bit of risk. You will likely have to do the same to make new friends. It’s possible that you’ll be the one who strikes up a conversation at your kid’s school event or put yourself out there and invite someone out for coffee. 

You should know that the odds are in your favor. There is something called the liking gap—the difference between how much we think a stranger likes us and how much they actually do after one conversation. Good news, people are more liked than they think. 

Everyone wants to know how to find friends. Sometimes, it just takes one person going out of their comfort zone.


4. Be a long-term investor and be real. 

Most importantly, you’ll need to be in it for the long run, like any good investor. You’ll invest your time, effort, and attention over the years—everything from helping a friend move to listening to the challenges going on in his life. You’ll have to sacrifice that perfect version of yourself that you’re always trying to present (I know I did) and share your own struggles. 

That’s how to find friends that will really make a difference in your life.


Build Deeper Connections with MenHuddle.

When a small group of good, intentional friends (I call it a MenHuddle) share every aspiration and confession, our insecurities, doubts, and limitations disappear. Remember, there is more strength in the unity of three (Ecclesiastes 4:12). What’s next? Time to take these tips for finding friends and forge a new friendship.


If you’re ready to enjoy the full, transformative power of friendship, download the Men Huddle QuickStart.