Overcoming loneliness

Social networks and mobile communications are connecting people like never before. This begs the question: Why does study after study confirm that loneliness is at an all time high?

I don’t have the answer. But maybe it’s because people are replacing face-to-face interactions with virtual ones? Think about it:

 We find out how the people in our lives are doing via Facebook, without actually meeting them. We can shop from home, without having to visit the local store. We can watch a movie on Netflix, without leaving our home. And many of us can go to work, without actually “going” anywhere.

There are many, many other examples. All of which allow us to live our lives, with an absolute minimum of human contact.

I thought I’d test my theory. Here’s what happened

Around 18 months ago, I decided to get out more and meet more people. I wasn’t feeling lonely. I have a great family and I’m blessed with many good friends. But I knew I wasn’t meeting people like I used to. So, I decided to make some changes and see if it improved the quality of my life.

Here are a few of them.

  • I swapped an exercise bike for an outdoors bike.
  • I swapped a treadmill machine for walking around the village where I live.
  • I swapped working from home, for working from what Andy Ihnatko calls field offices.
  • I swapped texting my friends for having a coffee with them.

The difference this made was huge. Way bigger than I could have imagined. I now see my friends more often. I’ve also made a lot of new friends; people I’d never have met, without the changes I made. Plus, it has massively improved the quality and volume of my work.

In short, I feel so much better in every area of my life. That’s despite having not actually felt lonely before. I can only imagine what impact this approach might have, for someone who is feeling lonely.

I honestly have no idea if sharing this will help anyone else. But spending more time with people offline has been transformational for me.

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