In recent years, a noticeable trend of risk aversion among young adults is contributing to a rising loneliness epidemic. This phenomenon is particularly evident in the reluctance of young men to approach women they find attractive. According to a poll conducted by psychologist Andrew Thomas, a staggering 59% of young men aged 18-25 have not approached someone they're interested in within the past year, and 45% have never done so.
On the flip side, a significant 74% of women aged 25 and below express a desire to be approached more, reflecting a glaring disconnect between the sexes. This disconnection mirrors a broader societal issue - the escalating loneliness crisis, further underscored by the spike in loneliness among teens from 13% to 30% in less than four years.
WHAT IS RISK AVERSION?
Unpacking this issue requires an understanding of risk aversion—a tendency to prefer a sure outcome over a gamble, even if the gamble might have a higher payoff. This trait is increasingly prevalent among young adults, especially young men, who fear the social ramifications of approaching women. The fear of being labeled as 'creepy,' a concern for 53% of men, coupled with the fear of rejection and negative social judgments, are powerful deterrents, leading to a lifetime of regret for over 60% of men across all ages who wish they had approached more women.
THE FEAR OF BEING SINGLE
The term 'dysphoric singlehood,' as introduced by Thomas, encapsulates the profound and enduring unhappiness, uneasiness, and discontent associated with being single, which resonates with many young adults today. The reluctance to approach and form romantic connections further exacerbates this state of dysphoric singlehood.
However, the picture is not entirely bleak. Encouraging data reveals that the majority of men who pushed through their fears and approached women in social settings at least received contact info or went on a date. Over 41% of these men made a romantic connection, and about 13% formed a long-term relationship, which highlights the potential rewards of overcoming risk aversion and taking the first step.
Psychologists like Jean Twenge have also spotlighted the loneliness crisis among the younger generation. Their insights further underline the importance of breaking through modern restrictive social norms to foster genuine human connections.
YOUR MASCULINE DUTY IN SOCIETY
The call to action is clear. It's high time that good men step up to combat the loneliness crisis by breaking through the barriers of modern social norms and fear. By merely saying "hello" and initiating conversations, men can help build connections, reduce loneliness, and contribute to a happier, more connected society. This action aligns with the traditional masculinity ethos of taking the initiative, hence playing a part in alleviating a crisis that's worsening with every generation.
Next time you find someone attractive, overcome the fears, and just say hello. The data suggests that contrary to social media narratives, men aren’t facing severe consequences for respectful approaches. You won’t be facing jail time for inviting her to get coffee. Long-term consequences are a separate issue.
Taking this small but significant step can lead to meaningful relationships and contribute towards mitigating a growing societal issue—one hello at a time.
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