Mark Gaisford, a 52-year-old CEO of a marketing recruitment agency published a video one month ago about how he has no friends. "I have no friends. It's a scary thing to admit that on LinkedIn but it's true," says Mark in his introduction.
Since going live, the video has resonated with thousands of other men admitting they are in the same situation.
Mark is married, lives in Kent and is father to two grown-up children. He explains that he does know a lot of people but they are mainly colleagues and not people he would "go on long country walks with." He acknowledges how lucky he is to have "amazing" colleagues with whom he gets on well with but that work acquaintances don't replace genuine friends who he can talk to about anything, however serious.
Mark quotes a number of articles and research reviews which have uncovered the reality of how many men are lonely in the UK. One reference is to a Guardian article which highlights that one in five men admit to having no close friends.
The video also includes quotes and sentiments which acknowledge how being 'manly' doesn't put much emphasis on socialising and building platonic emotional connections.
In an interview with the Mail On Sunday, Mark said: "I’ve been the butt of my children’s jokes for as long as I can remember. ‘Dad’s got no friends,’ they’d jibe over the dinner table, falling about in fits of laughter. I shrugged it off but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt."
In the video, Mark reveals: "No-one wants to be the sad lonely git who admits to having no friends, but I haven't."
The end of the video sees Mark head to MeetUp group, as a new member, in his local pub. He doesn't film the event itself so he can have a genuine experience but he reacts to camera on his way home, saying "well that was really great, what a great evening and what a brilliant bunch of people as well."
"I'm so glad I got off my backside, got a bit of guts and went and did something like that."
Mark concludes: "I wouldn't necessarily call them friends yet but I hope they will be in the future."
Mark has since posted another video in which he goes for a pie and a pint at the pub with one of his new friends, Joe, in Folkestone.
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