There’s this typical image – Hollywood depiction. The lonely person is a ‘loser’, different from everybody else. No friends, no style – probably bullied and going home to spend the night’s duration on a laptop. Only, feeling lonely today is also the ‘popular girl’, the ‘party one’, and all the other young people.
To put this in perspective, a BBC News article published this year, shared National Statistics which declare young people are more likely to live with loneliness. In America, Fortune.com says young Americans in particular, experience feeling lonely. And in Australia, SBS News asked, “Why are young Australians lonelier than seniors?”.
Articles based on seclusion and isolation for the millennial generation have increased in what is known as the ‘party season’. Despite what movies may have us believe, it’s becoming hard to spot what a lonely person looks like. The effects of social-media are impossible to ignore, however, my why – why is this happening, focuses on a real-life picture.
Friendships growing apart
My early twenties were about partying, dating; trying to survive my first full-time job. Deep conversations elaborated aspirations and dreams. By mid-twenties, my friends and I had grown. We’d grown apart. Some went off and got married and became pregnant, some took off and travelled half-way round the world to live, and others just simply stayed the same. Had I not have changed; our friendship would have lasted.
An old friend of mine – a few years younger, routinely headed out in the evening with a humongous crowd of people. She was never short of invites, always had a cool or fun place to visit, a nonstop social calendar. Confessing my loneliness to her after breaking ties with my best friend felt embarrassing. I presumed she wouldn’t understand. Instead she told me of her depression, and how few close friends she had.
Society portrays itself as a throwable place. You can instantly delete a partner, a follower, a person who no longer becomes necessary. We use people, and then we wash them away as though we’d never used them before. So, you end up with acquaintance groups and just a handful of genuine friends actually worth caring about. Or maybe we get to a point where our old friends don’t make us happy anymore, but we have no idea how to acquire new ones. We kind of throw away the old without replacing.
Admitting to loneliness
It’s hard to admit feeling lonely, because we try to showcase our lives as perfect. When Angelina Jolie said she didn’t have girlfriends, torrent discussions on Jolie not being a good female friend appeared on every female target-audience publication. The UK Mirror explained that Jolie doesn’t present herself as a girly girl. She comes across cold. For women, close female relationships should supposedly happen naturally. If a woman has a lack of female support, it means something is wrong with her.
The hidden-away shame of feeling lonely, results in the problem festering and not being resolved. According to Psychologytoday.com, loneliness can increase numerous health issues, such as dementia, a weakening immune system, stress, heart disease, and in severe cases, suicide. They argue – and this I believe, that technology is not the sole cause.
The real reason for feeling lonely
“Workaholic parents and Baby Boomer achievers apparently transmitted a cultural message that “free time” was verboten and all activities had to be goal-oriented”, says Psychology Today. If you look at YouTube, blogs and Instagram accounts, when they speak about self-love and motivation, it’s this false idolism of striving for continual happiness.
Posts and captions about how you can organise yourself better, achieve more with the little time you have; how you can become productive in the morning and aim for your dreams. In our attempts at perfection, we have over saturated ourselves. Go online and I guarantee at least one person you follow, has published something today with tips on how to make you better or maximise your time.
Scarcely is there a source on how to speak to someone about feeling lonely, how to cope. The issue is not dwindling. And I think, we need to open our eyes to signs which indicate a person is struggling. Insider has documented constant tiredness, an obsession for materialism and binge-watching shows as signs, and mentions that loneliness is contagious – if your friends feel lonely, you likely will to. More reason to notice the signs and help each other.
Have you ever felt a period of loneliness in your life? Is it something you have discussed with friends and family before?