Man Sloth Mode From November 2016 until October 2017, I was in what I have learned to call man sloth mode.

For about a year, I did nothing.

From November 2016 until October 2017, I was in what I have learned to call man sloth mode.

Honestly, apart from writing the first radio series of Foiled (which I never would have done without the impetus of Beth Granville), I can’t remember a single thing I did in that entire year.

Two things in particular that I didn’t do all year were:

  1. See my friends much
  2. Travel

As someone who travels a lot and feels a bit glum when isolated from friends, this was WEIRD.

To be fair to me, I knew something was WEIRD. That’s why, the summer of 2017, I started to track my wellbeing using a well-respected psychological instrument, the Satisfaction With Life Scale.

Oh, and, for literal good measure, I also regularly tested myself on the Scale of Positive and Negative Experience, Flourishing Scale, Inventory of Thriving, General Self-Efficacy Scale and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale.

I’m nothing if not thorough in my weirdness.

But none of these scales or inventories helped me understand what was happening.

Stuck In The Mud

On paper, things were going well. I’d just co-written and co-produced a successful Edinburgh show, now commissioned for BBC radio. I’d also been hired to work for The Bike Project, helping them give bikes to refugees in London.

In March, I moved into a lovely houseshare near Burgess Park with my partner. We had a garage for our bikes, tomatoes in the garden and only shared a bathroom with one other couple.

Perhaps for the first time in my life, I felt like an adult — I even managed to buy us a super king mattress for £10 off a millionaire in Kensington.

Life was totally going my way, but I seemed to be stuck in the mud, somehow unable or unwilling to let it flow.

This feeling of mudiness not only affected my mental wellbeing, but also — not surprisingly — affected my relationship.

Then, as now, I worked from home and found myself, most days, pretty much waiting around for my partner to get back from work. Then, somehow, I thought, my life could begin.

Except, increasingly and understandably, I wasn’t the sort of person she wanted to spend time with. Who wants to hang around that guy?

Like I said: I didn’t do anything. For a year!

The Spreadsheet Counsellor

Actually, that’s a lie. One other important thing that I did in 2017 was a 10-week introduction to counselling course at CityLit.

(Side note: An introductory counselling course should be on the national curriculum in its entirety, but if you only take one counselling technique into your life, take these 12 Blocks To Active Listening.)

This course taught me a lot that I didn’t know about the simplest things. One of those things was the importance of simple observation of your own mental landscape.

That summer, with the help of those psychological instruments, I observed that I didn’t always feel ‘dissatisfied with life’ and that, most often, the balance of my life was toward ‘positive experience’.

It wasn’t difficult, then, to pay closer attention to the moments when I felt most positive.

I’ll give you a second to roll your eyes.

Yep: it was those horribly rare occasions when I got out of the house to spend time with friends.

On 28 October 2017, I spent half an hour building a spreadsheet to keep an eye on how often I was seeing my friends. Then I phoned my parents and met up with an old primary school friend for a stroll along the beach and a Harvester.

I originally set up the spreadsheet as a 30-day experiment in order to, in the words of my diary at the time, ‘see what my social support is like and how we can build and expand and whatnot’.

Over four years later, I still update my (now legendary) friends spreadsheet every single day.

Why? This newsletter is the answer to that question.


I don’t intend for this to be the final word on masculinity, but more of a provocation. Only by talking about this stuff can we hope to live in a more harmonious, creative and joyful future.

I would LOVE to hear your side of the story: your experiences, observations and coping mechanisms. Thank you.

What Is Man Sloth Mode?

Essentially, man sloth mode is a temporary depressed state of being to which men are particularly susceptible.

I don’t mean depressed in the diagnostic sense — although it can lead to that — I mean low energy, low initiative, low activity, low affect, low arousal.

And it’s worth reiterating that this is a temporary state, usually triggered by specific environmental factors.

It is perfectly possible for a man to miraculously exit man sloth mode when faced with a stimulating environment, such as a table tennis table, a lively speakeasy, or a room that really needs its skirting boards deep cleaned (real life example).

There is one enormous environmental elephant in the room here, which I’ll get onto in a second.

First, however, let’s look more closely at the symptoms of man sloth mode so that we all know what we’re talking about.

Man Sloth Mode: The Symptoms

Man sloth mode has a diverse range of symptoms, covering life at home, work and play.

In fact, it’s actually useful to split them into two strands. Let’s call them social man sloth mode and work man sloth mode.

These are not mutually exclusive, but you might find that you slip more easily into one or the other.

What’s interesting is that, while almost everyone has stories of work man sloth mode, social man sloth mode seems to go under the radar. Which is a big shame because social man sloth mode is quite literally a killer. But more on that later.

First: the symptoms.

1. Social Man Sloth Mode

As we’ve seen, when I was balls deep in man sloth mode, I inexplicably stopped doing the things that make me happy.

In so doing, I effectively outsourced the majority of my social support network to my partner. Not cool.

Here are some more symptoms of social man sloth mode that you might recognise, in yourself or loved ones:

  • Not seeing your own close friends
  • Not doing the things that make you happy, or other inexplicable radical change in past-you and now-you
  • Spending a disproportionate amount of your free time on passive past-times like watching television or scrolling through the internet
  • Losing your ambition or get-up-and-go in both social and work settings
  • Piggy-backing on the social plans and activities of other people
  • Increased dependence on one other person for social support
  • Never hosting social events
  • Saying things like, ‘I don’t mind, you decide’ when asked what you want to do
  • Not introducing other people to your close friends

By the way, I’m not talking here about feeling bored or apathetic when faced with niche social pursuits. I can understand why some people might be less enthusiastic than I am about spreadsheets, word etymologies and bike pannier bags.

This is about switching off from social contact and activities or shifting into auto-pilot when you used to take the initiative.

2. Work Man Sloth Mode

This is the one that a lot of people get proper angry about — and for good reason.

While social man sloth mode tends to be a slow boiler, work man sloth mode has an immediate and disruptive impact on the lives of others.

This is all about the essential admin that goes into basic human functions like eating food, inhabiting a home, wearing clothes, and caring for other humans.

The symptoms of work man sloth mode include, but are not remotely limited to, the following:

  • Sitting back and letting others do the cognitive and emotional labour of shared tasks
  • Doing shared tasks badly so you’re never asked again
  • Only doing the fun or exciting bits of shared tasks
  • Only doing joint activities on your terms: your way, your timeframe, your strengths, your activities
  • Waiting until instructed on tasks, rather than taking the initiative; requiring micro-management in those tasks
  • Offering to help someone else in a task and then not moving from the sofa
  • Neglect of basic self-care: cleaning, cooking, washing, exercise
  • Tolerating or simply ‘not seeing’ deteriorating living conditions until someone else fixes the problem
  • Failure to anticipate future problems, especially when they concern other people (and responding to criticism by saying that you’re ‘living in the moment’)
  • Failure to anticipate the needs of others
  • Procrastination
  • Limited expressions of gratitude, including compliments, gift giving and appropriate apologies, creating a sense of entitlement, taking advantage or simply not seeing the work others do to keep the world spinning around
  • Always having an excuse or shifting the blame: ‘but you enjoy doing X’, ‘you know I’m no good at Y’, ‘I physically can’t see the problem’, ‘I’m just more laid back than you’, ‘you make me feel like a failure’, ‘I can’t multitask’, ‘I’m too tired after work’, ‘yeah, you being so busy has been hard for me too’, ‘you’re not being fair — I do the bins!’

Do you know what I’m talking about? Recognise yourself or any of the men in your life? Can you think of any other symptoms? Please let me know!

The Enormous Environmental Elephant

Yep: the biggest environmental predictor of man sloth mode is the convenient presence in that man’s life of a woman.

Someone to pick up the slack, someone to keep our lives ticking along.

Stop A Second, Dave: Why Do You Hate Men?

I don’t. I write this because I am a man and I love men. I think they’re pretty cool. At least some of the time.

I write this because, when we unwittingly slip into man sloth mode, we’re shooting ourselves in the face.

As a friend said to me only last night: it’s as if the world has moved on and men haven’t noticed.

In the past seventy years, at least in wealthy liberal societies, gender roles and opportunities have changed. Today, all around me, I see inspiring, active women and men struggling to get up to speed.

Real life example: I moved to Bournemouth a couple of years ago and I’ve found it much, much easier to make female friends.

Is this because too many men are stunted by social man sloth mode?

Admittedly there has been a pandemic on, but consider this:

  • The surfing class that I recently joined is female led and majority female
  • The off-road cycling club I’ll be riding with tomorrow is female and non-binary led and majority female (tbf, their motto is ‘shred the patriarchy’)
  • Plus I’m the only man in the room when I train at my local bare-knuckle bloodsports wrestle club


Obviously I’m NOT saying that women have overtaken or can even match men in mega-important stuff like how much they actually get paid for the work that they do.

But personally I see far more women than men putting themselves out there, doing epic shit and making the most of life: at home, at work and at play.

What about you? When you think about successful adults in your life, the ones who are totally smashing it out of the park, who comes to mind?

We Don’t Know What We’re Doing

Sometimes, when my female friends talk about what I’m calling man sloth mode, they see an evil, almost Macchiavellian intent behind the behaviour.

Maybe they’re right, but I genuinely think that, most of the time, the lethargy of man sloth mode is unwitting.

We don’t know what we’re doing.

That isn’t an excuse — I just mean that most of us lack the emotional self-awareness to properly understand what we’re doing to ourselves.

If we seriously confronted what we do to ourselves by choosing inaction, then we would see that man sloth mode makes us miserable.

That’s exactly what happened to me. Unconsciously, I was letting a woman do the cognitive and emotional labour of, well, pretty much my entire life.

(Just to be completely clear: man sloth mode was NOT something that my partner did to me. I accidentally choose it for myself, like pulling clothes out of the wardrobe at random and only realising at an important job interview that I was wearing Mickey Mouse pyjamas.)

The Truth Of What We’re Doing To Ourselves

In 2016-17, I was what we can call a functional man sloth.

I still did the basics of cleaning, washing, shopping and whatnot, but I stopped doing anything interesting outside the home and just kind of hung around waiting for my partner to make my life exciting.

Classic social man sloth mode.

It’s not surprising, then, that man sloths are statistically more likely to be socially isolated than women — because who wants to spend time with that guy?

(Or, in the words of one friend, man sloth mode is the opposite of sexy.)

It’s also a sorry statistic that social isolation is positively correlated with depression, illness, all-cause mortality, including, most tragically, suicide.

(Note 1: The studies referenced above almost universally report these statistically significant effects for social isolation, not necessarily for feelings of loneliness. You may know some people who are perfectly happy when they are alone. Happy, but, statistically speaking, probably not healthy.)

(Note 2: This study of social isolation and gender neatly summarises the differences between the social support networks of men and women: ‘men generally get their emotional needs met by their spouses/partners while women often get their emotional needs met by their female friends’. Boom. That was me: social man sloth.)

Why We Need (The Concept Of) Man Sloth Mode

Despite the shadowy threat of depression, illness, death and suicide, rather than trying to change our behaviour, we men find it easier to deploy a long litany of excuses and finger-pointing to re-write the narrative of what we’re doing so that it sits more comfortably with our sense of self-esteem.

The man sloth imagines a world where other people genuinely enjoy scrubbing the toilet bowl, where other people just need to chill out more and where only we’ve had a hard day at work.

‘Besides,’ the indignant man sloth cries, ‘we do the bins once a fortnight!’

I believe that this inability to accept responsibility is at least partially because we don’t have the language to understand our own predicament.

This makes it very difficult for us to talk about the problem as adults, to address our behaviour without resorting to insults or shame, and to change ourselves for a more just society.

Hence our need for a new concept: man sloth mode.

(Almost inevitably, the term ‘man sloth’ was created by a woman. Thanks G!)

Hang On: What’s Wrong With ‘Selfish Lazy Man Child’?

‘But Dave,’ I hear you cry, ‘we already have the words to describe such a man: we call him a selfish lazy man child.’

It’s a good question. Why (apart from lucrative opportunities for merch) do we need an entirely new term for such age-old behaviour?

Firstly — and I flagged this up earlier, if you remember — man sloth mode is a mode, a temporary state of being, not a fixed character trait.

(By the way, I have thought about removing the ‘man’ and calling it ‘default sloth mode’. Maybe that would not only make it more palatable to our male ego, but also recognise that this is a collection of behaviours that men seem to revert to almost by default when someone else is there to take care of us.)

The problem with terms like ‘selfish’ and ‘lazy’ is that, even when objective rather than accusatory, they come across as fixed character traits. If you’re lazy, then you’re lazy — and always will be.

Terms like these, although often thrown around in bitterness, can actually turn into excuses to protect the status quo: ‘He’ll never change, he’s just lazy’ or ‘You know me, love, I’m a lazy bum’ (said with a forgive-me-twinkle in his eye).

But adult males are more than capable of stepping up into very active roles (in fact, sometimes we all wish they wouldn’t, but that’s another story…)

‘Man child’ is a little better. It at least acknowledges that this is largely a problem with men, rather than ungendered character traits like selfishness.

Man sloth behaviour is also very child-like and friends even tell me that they have to speak to their male partners as if they were children just to get them to function.

This ‘mothering’ seems to happen in at least four ways:

  • Straight-up scolding
  • Making deals to the effect of ‘you can watch TV if you do the dishes’
  • Silently spinning plates and tidying up after them
  • And the most pernicious: over-praising the accomplishment of basic tasks, like successfully chopping two carrots (real life example)

But we are not children.

Treating us like children is not only degrading for the ‘mother’, a role that friends tell me makes them feel guilty and ‘naggy’, but it also re-enforces infantile behaviour.

It needs to stop.

Real Life Example Of Over-Praising: The Man’s Barbecue

The Man’s Barbecue begins several days before, when The Man’s Partner makes a list, does the shopping and invites guests.

The night before, The Man’s Partner spends a couple of hours preparing salads and marinading the meat.

On the day of The Man’s Barbecue, The Man’s Partner tidies the garden, sets out the table and welcomes the guests.

Meanwhile, The Man cracks open a beer and drags out the barbecue and coals from last summer. With great theatre, the guests gather round to watch The Man light The Man’s Barbecue. He can’t find the matches.

The Man’s Partner finds the matches.

The Man’s Barbecue is officially lit. The Man sits down beside The Man’s Barbecue with a poker and another beer. Two hours later, the meat is still raw. The Man’s Partner finishes it off in the oven.

While The Man’s Partner cleans up in the kitchen, the guests pick through the last of the salads and applaud: ‘Wow, Man, you sure do a great barbecue!’

I Understand Why You Do This, But Please Stop

Treating an adult male as a man child inadvertently enables the status quo.

The tougher reality is that we can do all the adult stuff and, if there’s some stuff we still need to learn, then it’s not the responsibility of anyone but ourselves to act as our trainer.

There is no excuse: the internet is stuffed with detailed instructions on how to do every single adult task required for modern living.

Of course, we shouldn’t expect men to become mind-readers, but they must become able to hear the needs of other people and to teach themselves the necessary skills to respond effectively.

No one likes to think of themselves as selfish, lazy or a man child. When we are told those things, either in words or through actions, we don’t hear needs being expressed. Instead, we re-write the narrative to maintain the coherence of our self-image.

That’s why ‘selfish lazy man child’ doesn’t work and that’s why we need a new term: something that men will actually hear and respond to.

3 Reasons Man Sloth Mode Might Just Work

  1. It acknowledges that there is a problem: sloth behaviour isn’t desirable
  2. It applies to all men: it’s not a personal attack
  3. It’s a temporary state of being, like boredom or anger, that we can shift out of

(While we’re here, a word on #2: A lot of women, when I describe man sloth mode to them, say: ‘But it’s not all men’. Fellas, let’s be honest here: yes it is. We might be susceptible in different ways at different times and perhaps to different degrees, but this is surely universal among men.

I genuinely believe that I’m one of the ‘good guys’, but the whole reason I’m writing this article is because I still need to find reliable ways of levering myself out of man sloth mode.)

Hopefully I’ve done at least a half-assed job at explaining what I’m talking about and convinced you that we men need new language so that we can talk about what’s happening to us when we’re being crap.

Hopefully, too, I haven’t offended too many people: please remember that this is very much a first draft and I still need your help to understand what’s going on.

Phew. Okay, now it’s time to go deeper.

What Causes Man Sloth Mode?

I think this is an important question because the answers can help us, as men, understand what we can do to change.

But first, a warning: we don’t want to be trapped on either side of the explanation canyon:

I don’t want to come out of this section shrugging my shoulders and saying, ‘Love them or hate them, men are just like that!’ Nor do I want to point the merciless finger of shame at the individual man.

The path on one side of the canyon won’t change anything, while the other path might (and only might) change a single person alone.

I want to come out of this section with answers that will open up a path right down the middle.

I want to believe that the problem of man sloth mode is both tractable and bigger than any one man. In fact, I want to believe that it’s excitingly gigantic (more on that in a bit).

So here we go.

First up is the depressing answer that things are the way they are because things are the way they always have been.


Social Conditioning

Average hours of unpaid work done per week in each category for women (orange bars) and men (green bars), 2015 (Source: Gender Equality Monitor)

In the UK, according to the government’s Gender Equality Monitor, women do 25.5 hours of unpaid work per week, while men manage only 16 hours — and more than 7 of those are spent on transport, probably commuting to work.

In high income countries, which are globally the most equal, women do an average of two hours more unpaid care work per day than men. Overall, when unpaid is added to paid work, men find themselves with an extra half hour per day to put their feet up.

This social conditioning starts young. In Denmark, 75 percent of girls participate in household chores, compared to 66 percent of boys. Meanwhile, in the United States, girls’ participation in household chores is already significantly greater than boys’ by age eight.

The social conditioning explanation for man sloth mode is given weight by the ‘glacial’ rate of change in men’s share of unpaid care work over recent decades.

According to this fascinating International Labour Organisation report, between 1997 and 2012, the gender gap in time spent in unpaid care work declined by precisely seven (7) minutes.

At this pace, it will take 210 years before we have eliminated man sloth mode. I’ll be dead by then. Too slow.

But if a couple of centuries is too long, then how about millions of years? That brings us nicely to my second answer to Where Does Man Sloth Mode Come From?

My Spurious Evolutionary Explanation™️

Disclaimer: I’m not a scientist, evolutionary or otherwise. But this is a story that might help some men move past any feeling of being under personal attack, paving the way for positive action.

Bear with me on this one because it might sound for a while like I’m making intractable excuses for man sloth mode. I’m not.

Massively Generalised Proposition: Men evolved for explosive life-and-death activities.

Men seem to have an evolutionary advantage when it comes to stuff like fighting (to the death), sprinting (to kill things) and lifting heavy rocks (to crush things).

This massively generalised proposition has two aspects:

  1. Men perform better when they and their loved ones are under threat or facing an epic struggle, rather than when faced with the non-threatening day-to-day life admin
  2. This life-and-death stuff tends to be explosive: it requires a huge outlay of energy in a short space of time

The consequence of all this is that, when not under threat or facing an epic struggle, men will conserve energy for when they really need it.

There you go: a neat little evolutionary explanation for man sloth mode. We’re not being lazy or selfish, we’re saving our energy so we can throw rocks at bears.

The problem is that, most of the time, for men like me, a life-and-death threat or epic struggle never materialises and we can slide unwittingly into a semi-permanent state of man sloth.

(There is one notable exception to this dearth of life-and-death in our modern man lives. Included in my list of life-and-death activities is mating. Yes: we can be pretty good at seduction.

So now you also have a neat little evolutionary explanation for that infuriating tendency for men to be incredibly attentive right up until the moment you decide to sleep with them.

As a good friend said to one of her girlfriends who was being messed around: ‘Hun, he wasn’t leaving it six days to reply when he wanted to fuck you.’ Amen to that.)

Evolutionary Addendum

After reading the first draft of this article, a very smart friend cast doubt over the suggestion that evolutionary pressure could possibly exert much of an influence over our lives today.

She also described her scepticism about gender essentialism, the idea that evolution has somehow prepared ‘men’ as a biological category to do things differently than it has prepared ‘not-men’.

But, she added, ‘Maybe the concept of evolution and the concept of the biological category has!’

So the challenge for us men is how to use this popular, if scientifically unlikely, evolutionary story to support men’s growth rather than to fossilise it.

Where Does That Leave Us?

The point is that my Spurious Evolutionary Explanation™️ pins the ‘blame’ for the existence of man sloth mode on powerful forces outside of our control.

That doesn’t mean we shrug our shoulders and give up: it means that we now have two ways to understand our predicament and two approaches to change.

On the one hand, the social conditioning explanation shows us that change is possible: if slimy girls can learn how to anticipate the needs of others and change the sheets more than once a year, then so can we adult males.

On the other hand, my Spurious Evolutionary Explanation™️ helps us shift the weight of individual shame or guilt (which isn’t helping anyone) and understand what might motivate us to elevate ourselves out of this temporary depressed state of being.

In a word or six, we men need something that’s…

Excitingly Gigantic (But Also Totally Achievable)

This is where we get back to my legendary friends spreadsheet.

Every evening, I take a second to note down the number of meaningful interactions that I had with friends that day, either in person or on the phone.

Then, every Monday, in my personal finance and business accounting spreadsheet, I write down the total number of meaningful interactions for that week.

Over the past year, my average weekly total was 16 friend interactions, with a record high of 36 and a low of just 3 (shocking and only partially explained by the November lockdown).

I have data like this going back more than four years: that silo of numbers is (to me) excitingly gigantic, making me feel like my social life is some kind of epic data-based struggle.

At the same time, the individual actions that I take every day are almost pathetically achievable, pandering to my default laziness even on my most man sloth mode days.

The spreadsheet plays to my strengths as a man, but its purpose is to hold me to account.

Am I feeling a little blue today? Well, maybe it’s because I have only spoken to three people all week.

Finally, this is the answer to the question posed at the start of this newsletter

Drum roll please because coming right up is my answer to why, over four years later, I still update my (now legendary) friends spreadsheet every single day:

Rather than outsourcing the management of my social support network to a woman, I have outsourced it to a spreadsheet.

My friends spreadsheet was the first of my excitingly gigantic but also totally achievable strategies to protect myself against the type of chronic man sloth mode that I fell into back in the winter of 2016.

I have plenty of others, like my two daily journals that help me watch my mental health or my 100 Days of Adventure challenge that pushes me to get outside regularly.

But these strategies only tackle personal pickles like my year-long social man sloth mode.

They don’t cover (except obliquely) the more immediate man sloth mode behaviours that result in other people picking up the majority of society’s practical care work as well as the bulk of its cognitive and emotional labour.

We need a strategy that will help us in the very moment that work man sloth mode strikes.

What About Strategies To Defeat Work Man Sloth Mode?

Confession: I don’t really know. This is all new so I’m still experimenting. I would love to hear from you on this one.

What I do know is that the creation of the term ‘man sloth mode’ has already helped me overcome its seductive allure.

Last night, I went over to a friend’s house for dinner. She was in the middle of cooking us a curry and, when I arrived, I noticed that I could quite comfortably slip into man sloth mode.

I felt a strong urge to do nothing but drink tea and chatter inanely while she worked at the stove, making the dinner that I would later scoff contentedly.

But instead of succumbing to man sloth mode, I called myself out.

I explained what I was feeling using the language of man sloth mode (it helped that I’d spent the whole day writing this article). Then, instead of sitting down and watching her work, I made rotis for us to eat with the curry.

This might not sound like much (and it really isn’t), but it is, I hope you’ll agree, a step in the right direction.

If this is a strategy for overcoming acute daily man sloth mode (and I think it could be), then it has four stages:

  1. Notice yourself slipping into man sloth mode. If you’re not sure when this happens, look closely at the symptoms listed at the top of this article
  2. Call yourself out publicly and explain what’s going on (without being boring or attention seeking). At first, acknowledging man sloth mode out loud will really help, but the ultimate goal is to effortlessly skip from stage one directly to stage three. (Who knows: stage one might one day miraculously vanish altogether…)
  3. Seize the initiative. Take positive action to drive yourself out of man sloth mode. If you genuinely can’t think of anything to do, simply ask how you can help and listen to the answer. WARNING: If you find the other person instinctively micro-managing your contribution, don’t get annoyed. Remember that they might well be used to dealing with man sloths as if they were children. Politely request that they step back: you’ve got this.
  4. If you discovered in stage three a pretty basic life skill that you couldn’t do without a lot of help, go onto the internet and learn how it’s done properly. Do not waste other people’s time: they are not your personal life trainer. If you regularly find yourself unable to think of helpful things to do, then spend more time observing the things that other people do to be helpful. Copy them.

As the infamous man sloth Theodore Roosevelt once berated himself:

Get action; do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create; act; take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action.

Life in man sloth mode is miserable. It is ending our relationships, fossilising our personal growth and slowing killing us. For our sake and for your own sake, get action.

Coda: Over To Us

This morning I was chatting to a friend on a bike ride. She’d just had a blazing row with her partner about his passivity and told me that the ideas around man sloth mode gave her hope for her relationship.

Guys: let’s not make that a false hope.

Over to us.

Now It’s My Turn To Ask The Questions

  • Have I gone too far? Not far enough?
  • What strategies do you have to protect yourself and others from man sloth mode? (Or whatever you call it)
  • Have I missed any symptoms, major or minor, of man sloth mode?
  • Is there an equivalent mode of being to which females are more susceptible?

Thank You

Thank you so much to everyone I’ve spoken to about this topic over the past million years and thank you to everyone who has responded so thoughtfully to this article.

You have all been incredibly generous with your experiences and helped me mis-understand things a little less.

Special thanks to BG for holding up a mirror to the man sloth over so many years, to GC for coming up with the term ‘man sloth’, and to LH — for dinner!

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David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at

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