Brave are the Lonely (10 January 2019)

In our world of social media, Instagram, 24-hours email – at least in the rich parts of the world – we have never been more interconnected; and yet loneliness seems common. The news is full of it: people who feel lonely in a world full of people. The gloomy, post-New Year, cloudy sky (in the UK, at least) seems to add to the feeling of loneliness.

What’s going on?

If you feel affected by this feeling, first ask: am I alone, or really lonely? Many people enjoy being alone, and have social relationships and connections available if they want and need them.

But real loneliness can make you feel emotionally isolated – like you’re not connected to people, or you don’t belong. 9 million people in the UK report feeling lonely, sometimes or often.

It’s normal to experience loneliness, and it’s important that we see it as normal. There are known triggers: moving to a new city or country; starting at school or college; growing apart or falling out with friends; a relationship breaking up; the death of someone close to you; having to care for a family member.

And social media and technology can exacerbate loneliness. Our opportunities for small moments of connection – such as small talk at the bus stop or the supermarket checkout – have been reduced, because we’re often plugged into our phones or have to interact with robots and machines.

How can you stop feeling lonely?

  • Think about what you would like more of; time with friends or family? Invite them to visit you or arrange to do something with them
  • Share your skills and time with others; volunteering is a fantastic way to make new friends
  • Join a community event; a great way to find out what is happening in your local area
  • If you have a passion for something – swimming, walking, reading – join a local club to meet like-minded people

Talk to people, help them, reply to peoples’ greetings - open yourself up, and people will respond to you

Then you won’t feel so lonely

All the best





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