A study came out today that said almost a fifth of people in the North West are ‘always’ or ‘often’ lonely. (http://www.itv.com/news/granada/2016-12-08/our-loneliness-epidemic/) I was not surprised by this statistic because modern life has brought many challenges with it. There are lots of reasons why we can feel alone and it doesn’t have to be because we are physically on our own, although that appears to have been the focus of the study.
We can feel alone even when we are surrounded by people. In the largest crowds we can feel distant if our mental state is that way. If anyone has ever sat for five minutes watching the world rush by then they will know that feeling of being invisible. I had that experience when I visited Rome in the summer. I had a bit of time to myself when I visited the Vatican. I was on my own and as I sat contemplating the surroundings I realised people were rushing by and didn’t even notice me sitting there. It didn’t worry me but I am sure if the same thing happened at home and I was distressed it would feel a lonely place.
Technology has given us the chance to be able to connect to people at home and all around the world. It gives us the opportunity to have conversations with people at any time of the day or night. It has brought the world to our fingertips and yet it can just make people feel even more isolated.
If you are being ignored on social media or you don’t know how to get involved then you are merely watching the world pass by. This isn’t just something that will be affecting the older generation; we can all feel that we are missing out on what is happening. In 2016, young people feel they have to show how fantastic their life is through social media and this creates added pressure.
As we head towards the festive season, more people will be reflecting on the past year and their lives and will potentially be feeling alone. It is a time when we all need to think about those around us and extend a hand of friendship to make sure everyone feels part of the local community.