We may 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 face-to-face time, preferring to chat with mates in their local rather than Whatsapping their worries.

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

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 social media (6%) or Whatsapp (5%).

In contrast to perhaps outdated stereotypes of “pub banter”, the new findings show that almost a quarter of men (23%) revealed that they would be comfortable talking about health issues with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, Greene King has raised £3 million for the charity. The pub retailer and brewer 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 is encouraging men to seek information and support either for them or to support loved ones. It’s not just men who prefer speaking up face to face; 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.

Rooney Anand, chief executive at Greene King, said: “It is encouraging to know that many men feel they can openly talk about their problems in a pub. Social media is a great communication tool, but there is nothing neither better nor comforting, than having an important conversation with a friend, face to face and in a safe and relaxed environment.”

Dr Anthony Cunliffe, Macmillan GP adviser, says: “Previous research from Macmillan 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.”

The money raised by Greene King over the last year has gone directly to fund vital hours of Macmillan nursing care. With help from partners like Greene King, Macmillan helps to fund or support over 4,300 Macmillan nursing posts across the UK, helping hundreds of thousands of people with cancer each year. 

-ENDS- 

NOTES TO EDITORS

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%)