A report from a leading mental health charity confirms that loneliness is a common human experience and suggests it may be more common than ever in today’s society. One in ten participants suffered from extreme loneliness and most were “too embarrassed” to admit to this emotion.
I have to admit that I am always a bit cautious about studies that say we are lonelier than ever, because how do we actually know? Do we have reliable data from the past and might it be that previous generations were even more inhibited when it came to owning up to loneliness, or that we have different expectations than we once did?
However, I am not at all sceptical about the reality of loneliness, I can well believe that one in ten of us is “often lonely” and when I read that only one in five lucky souls is “never lonely” it makes me wonder ...how many of them were too embarrassed to say so?
For the record, I will admit that, although I am not exactly a party animal, I do thrive best if I have regular contact with other people. I have been really busy at work this year and so I have neglected to keep up friendships and social activities (I am aiming to rectify this now that we are at the slack end of the academic year.) I also find that the summer holidays can be a time of intense loneliness. I always feel incredibly selfish about this when so many people would love a six week break from work.
Now, for all you bloggers and internet addicts out there - the report also concludes that technology can be positive in alleviating loneliness, but it is no substitute for real relationships. I once read a quote by someone famous (think it was Ghandi, but I can‘t find the quote) along the lines that,
“In the future we will be able to communicate at speed around the world, but we will have less of any worth to say to each other.”
Hoping this post had something to say to you...