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52-yr-old CEO’s video confessing, ‘it’s scary to admit … I have no friends’ resonates big online

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=170&v=5vWT-nun5FQ&feature=emb_logo
Screen capture … Mark Gaisford

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“I have no friends,” said a man from the UK in a brief LinkedIn video, and it struck a chord, bringing to the fore some facts that indicate a surprising number of lonely people out there are without close pals.

Mark Gaisford, a 52-year old recruitment CEO, entitled his thought-provoking video: “I have NO friends and I’m NOT THE ONLY ONE.”

Watch the video here …


Video by Mark Gaisford

Gaisford opened the video saying: “I have no friends. It’s a scary thing to admit that, especially here on LinkedIn. But it’s true.”

He went on the explain that he knows a lot of people, but not well enough to count on them as buddies with whom he can talk with about pretty much anything.

“I know a lot of people, but it’s mostly through networking and work and everything to do with work,” he said. “I’m really lucky because I’ve got some amazing work colleagues, and naturally we share our lives with each other. So we share what’s going on, but I don’t take them out for dinner and I don’t go on long country walks with them. I don’t do stuff with them that friends do.”

Of course, this clearly isn’t a unique story today. In a fast-moving world where we are all potentially well-connected with others online, we’ve lost the knack for personally interacting and building solid relationships without ulterior motives.

“It’s not just me who’s got no friends,” said Gaisford.

“There are a staggering number of people, and mostly men, across the UK who’ve got very few, if any people, friends that they can actually talk about any serious stuff with.”

“And it’s a tough one,” he continued, “… because you don’t want to be the sad, lonely git that admits to having no friends. But I haven’t.”

In the video, Gaisford refers to data quoted in a September 2019 article published by The Times indicating 18% of men don’t have a close friend and that 32% have no one they count as a best friend. The article’s title is “All the lonely people … are men: a fifth have no friends.”

“So charities are urging men to make more time for socializing and starting hobbies,” he tells viewers.

“How do you make friends?” he asked of the camera.

The Times news article is quoted as saying, “Men still compare themselves to a ‘gold standard’ that values power, control and invincibility. In childhood, men are taught that being ‘manly’ doesn’t emphasise social and emotional skills.”

But fear not, this sad tale is not about “a sad lonely git” that will “wallow in self-pity.”

Gaisford wrapped up the video in a way that offered hope for others like him that there are ways to get out there and meet people looking for friendship. He decided to swallow his pride and take the courageous step of going to a “meet-up” group in a local pub. He was nervous going in, but afterward, he shared that he had a great evening with a “brilliant group of people.”

“You’ve got the quiet ones, you’ve got the confident ones, but really good fun,” he said in front of his camera. “I’m so glad I got off my backside and got a bit of guts and went and did something like that.”

“I wouldn’t call them necessarily friends yet,” he said. “But I hope they will be in the future.”

The number of views and comments on the video, not only on LinkedIn but also on YouTube and other social media venues have accelerated in recent days, as it has been picked up by legacy news reporting outlets.

One comment read: “Great video Mark fair play for putting yourself out there and making this! I always notice how women are so much better at socialising and hanging out with their other girl friends than us men.

“You see it everywhere in restaurants, bars, events etc across the country. We need to figure out why this is, if we are to properly tackle loneliness and suicide rates across society.”

Still several women did also weigh in to say that the issue is not limited to men. One wrote: “I’m the same. I have gone a whole 46 years with no friends.”

Another 51-year old woman commented that she had not had a best friend since she was five or six-years-old.

Victor Rantala

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