“I have no friends,” Mark Gaisford, from Kent, said in the opening of the video, which he shared on LinkedIn. “It’s a scary thing to admit that.”
According to Gaisford, he has work colleagues and acquaintances, but doesn’t have any close friends who he can go out to dinner with or go on “long country walks with”.
As Gaisford pointed out in the video, he’s not the only one suffering, as he references studies that have shown 18 per cent of men do not report to have a close friend and 32 per cent say they have no one they counted as a best friend.
The video also cited the importance of friendships, with male bonding found “more likely to lower a man’s stress levels than a night out with his partner or time spent with family," according to Gaisford.
In an effort to make friends “rather than just wallowing in self-pity,” Gaisford documented his decision to join a meet-up group at a pub.
Prior to the meeting, Gaisford explains that he is a “bit nervous” because he doesn't “know anybody coming”. But, following the meet-up, Gaisford tells viewers that he had a great evening and was glad he'd made the effort to go.
“You’ve got the quiet ones, you’ve got the confident ones, but really, really good fun. I’m so glad I got off my backside and got a bit of guts and went and did something like that,” he said, adding: “I wouldn’t call them necessarily friends yet. But I hope they will be in the future.”
In response to the video, which has been viewed more than 19,000 times, people have applauded Gaisford for his honesty and bravery.
“Well done Mark! You will have helped so many people by being brave enough to do this!” one person commented on YouTube.
Another said: “Me too. Thank you for giving me the confidence to tackle this. Now I need to find a group like yours.”
In a second video, which Gaisford also uploaded to social media, he shared an update regarding his effort to make friends in which he said: “I had no friends, and it was really hard to admit that… but I do now, and I’m meeting Joe for a pie and a pint in a pub in Folkestone. Do you want to come along?”
Gaisford’s videos come after a study published in July 2019 found that the majority of Britons feel they don’t have “enough” friends, while two in three British people admitted that they regularly feel lonely.
In an effort to combat Britain’s epidemic of loneliness, the government launched a campaign this year to tackle the stigma surrounding feeling alone.
Led by Minister for Loneliness Mims Davies, Let’s Talk Loneliness aims to create a culture in which people feel more comfortable talking about feeling alone.
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