The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness.

As men grow older, they tend to let their friendships lapse. But there’s still time to do something about it.

LET’S START WITH THE MOMENT I realized I was already a loser, which was just after I was more or less told that I was destined to become one.

I’d been summoned to an editor’s office at the Globe Magazine with the old “We have a story we think you’d be perfect for.” This is how editors talk when they’re about to con you into doing something you don’t want to do.

Excuse me? I have plenty of friends. Are you calling me a loser? You are.

The editor told me there was all sorts of evidence out there about how men, as they age, let their close friendships lapse, and that that fact can cause all sorts of problems and have a terrible impact on their health.