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Men shun social media for old fashioned chin-wag down the pub

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The art of conversation isn’t dead when it comes to the serious stuff

We might be a nation of scrollers, but according to new research from Macmillan Cancer Support and charity partner Greene King, when it comes to catching up, men are switching screen time for air time – preferring to chat with mates in their local, rather than Whatsapping their worries.

When asked how they would share important news with friends, men revealed that they are three times more likely to tell them down the pub (18%) rather than via Whatsapp (5%) or social media (6%).

In contrast to perhaps outdated stereotypes of ‘pub banter’, the new findings show that almost a quarter of men (23%) revealed that they would be comfortable talking about health issues with friends down the pub whereas only 13% of women would choose their local to talk about their health.

Home came in highest, with 41% of men saying they would feel most comfortable opening up about health issues with friends there.

Since partnering with Macmillan in 2012, pub brand Greene King has raised £3 million for the charity to help people living with cancer. The company hopes that raising awareness of these new findings will encourage discussions around men’s health and highlight the importance of talking about their wellbeing.

Sadly, when asked, a staggering 18% of men admitted that they wouldn’t discuss health issues with their friends at all, demonstrating the importance of sparking these conversations – which is why the charity are encouraging men to seek information and support at macmillan.org.uk either for themselves or in order to provide support to loved ones.

When asked where they would feel most comfortable talking to friends about their health issues, men said:

  1. At home (41%)
  2. The pub (23%)
  3. Wouldn’t discuss health issues with friends (18%)
  4. Out for a walk (17%)
  5. Over the phone (13%)
  6. No preference (13%)
  7. Out for dinner (10%)
  8. At work (10%)
  9. Whatsapp (5%)

Other options included *

And it’s not just men who prefer speaking up face to face, as more than half of people in the UK (59%) agree that they find it easier to open up to friends and family over a drink or meal.

Dr Anthony Cunliffe, Macmillan GP Adviser says: ‘Previous research shows that men are 60 per cent more likely to get cancer and 70 per cent more likely to die from the disease than women which is why it’s vital that men feel comfortable airing their concerns with friends or speaking to their GP. Those looking for support can also head to macmillan.org.uk or call the help line on 0808 808 00 00.’

Original ‘pub landlord’ Al Murray says: ‘It’s great to hear that despite modern technology men are still opting to chat about the big stuff face to face. In my experience, talking about issues such as health can help remove worry and lead to action – which is why I’m encouraging men to get together and share their concerns.’

Having originally set out to raise £1 million over three years, Greene King exceeded that target a year early, and in 2015 signed up for another three years of partnership. The money raised by the pub chain going forward will fund vital hours of Macmillan professional care, supporting people with cancer across the UK.

If you’d like support, information or just to chat, call us free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk

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