Our need to feel special is making us lonely

About a month ago, a group of about 20 men—all fathers in their 30s and 40s—gathered at a home in Oakland, California to talk fatherhood. Alarmingly, when asked how many of them had “real friends”—the kind of confidantes with whom they could talk honestly and vulnerably about life on a regular basis, through good times and bad—only two people raised their hands.

It might be tempting to interpret this sense of isolation as a crisis of masculinity in the US. But the available...

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