Random Thoughts on Lack of Friends, Dopamine and More

This installment of #500words a day is a series of random thoughts and observations I’ve had during the past week.

The world lost a true southern gentleman three years ago today. William P “Bud” Albritton was a renaissance man. He had a PhD in electrical engineering and was what’s called an SME or Subject Matter Expert in radar technology. Bud taught at both his Alma Mater Auburn University and the University of Tennessee. Unlike most folks with that sort of technical background, Bud loved to discuss and debate theology, church polity and why using the hymnal should be mandatory in Southern Baptist Churches.

Right before he turned 50 Bud decided to give the business world a shot and founded Amtec, a company that provided technical support to various sectors of the Department of Defense and NASA. The company’s success allowed him to support churches and causes in the best way, anonymously. I doubt anyone, including his family, will ever know who all Bud helped.

Bud was my friend and boss and I miss him. I’m thankful for the lessons he taught me and I hope to never forget them.

An unspoken crisis in america is the alarmingly low number of friends the average adult male has. I was reading an article from the Boston Globe on the topic and the writer made some great points and observations:

“IN FEBRUARY AT A CONFERENCE in Boston, a researcher from Britain’s University of Oxford presented study results that most guys understand intuitively: Men need an activity together to make and keep a bond. Women can maintain friendships over the phone.”

We need to go through something together. That’s why, studies have shown, men tend to make their deepest friends through periods of intense engagement, like school or military service or sports.

“That’s why Schwartz and others say the best way for men to forge and maintain friendships is through built-in regularity — something that is always on the schedule”

Turns out being lonely is deadly.

Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general of the United States, has said many times in recent years that the most prevalent health issue in the country is not cancer or heart disease or obesity. It is isolation.”

Not sure what this means for me and Modern Southern Gentleman but at least I know I’m thinking rightly about the problem. But you know what, I didn’t need a researcher to tell me what I already knew. I’m a middle aged guy who struggles to maintain a friendship. This article just articulated it better than me.

I’m teaching a men’s bible study through the book of Proverbs and the next session is all about friends. How to pick them, who to avoid and the power a friend can have my life. This article is going to be help frame the discussion.

The brain chemical Dopamine is at the root of so many issues men deal with. Porn, gambling, smartphone, facebook, twitter, overeating, and drug addictions. There has been a ton of new research about Dopamine in the last 10 years. Researchers have learned how powerful this brain chemical is and how much damage addictions fueled by it is being done to men. The good news is there are natural sources of dopamine that lead to healthy addictions like exercise. I’m writing a very long post on the topic and I think I need to finish it sooner rather than later.

Random Thoughts on Lack of Friends, Dopamine and More

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