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Thread: Loneliness and what we can do about it

  1. #1

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    Default Loneliness and what we can do about it

    I've been thinking a lot lately about loneliness. I've been reading through some old journals and I've come to realise that it has been a recurring theme at different times in my life. Apparently, it's becoming a more common social phenomenon. Part of it is because the population is ageing (and so there are more older people who are socially isolated) but it's actually also just more common. And apparently it's not the quantity of relationships that matter, but their quality.

    So, this gets me thinking - what can we do about it? How can we lessen the experience of loneliness, either for ourselves, or for other people?

    Positive stories and experiences welcome.


  2. #2

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    Default Re: Loneliness and what we can do about it

    I did my masters thesis on adolescent loneliness and extracurricular activities.... Found that kids who were less lonely were the ones that "hung out" with friends... Did social activities... Actually participating in formal activities didn't help.... I suspect it would be the same with adults... You actually have to interact with people. I think it's harder to do that in the modern world as we are so much more isolated from our community than the past (when I say community, I mean people we care about, rather than physical location).

    I guess that means we have to be in contact with friends and family more. Actually reach out and connect.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Loneliness and what we can do about it

    Lately I have been doing quite a bit of reading on single people and loneliness - there are a lot of lonely, particularly single women (but also men) in this world - especially once you hit the 35+ bracket. I can attest to this, and it doesn't get easier as you age, for me quite the opposite. It's a very hard one, because we all long to find someone to love us for us. Yes we can have friends, but it's just not the same thing. You still go home alone, you still have no one to share all of the mundaneness of life with as well as the fun stuff. And once you hit a certain age, you do feel like you are intruding on the family lives of your friends as well and people grow apart.

    I don't really know what the solution is - I do find it quite fascinating though that in a world where we all can contact each other in the blink of an eye through a number of different means, we are a more lonely society than ever before.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Loneliness and what we can do about it

    You know that amazing feeling when you call an old friend you haven't talked to in ages and chat for a couple of hours about nothing and everything? That reconnect that is just so good for the soul? But how often do I actually do it? I don't have that many good friends but I do have enough that I could call someone every week and keep in touch. What do I do instead? Sit at the computer/watch telly/read a book. And then complain that I am lonely.

    It is true that life tends to take everyone further away from the friendships that we make, but with all the technology available we don't make use of it to keep in touch. DH and I were talking about this the other day - people used to write long letters to each other, which then changed to quick emails, and now it is just a one liner instant message or FB comment and we somehow think that is enough. Phones can still be used to ring people but for some reason we content ourselves with a text.

    So my humble opinion is that we need to make an effort. There are people out there that care and would love to hear from you. Make a night of the week that is catch up night - arrange a cafe dessert meeting with a local friend or call someone. I can guarantee you that if you called they would love to talk and thoroughly enjoy it, but no one takes the initiative to do it so we all sit around lonely surrounded by our devices. Be proactive and be the one to call.

    I think I will implement my plan starting tomorrow. I will let you know how it goes

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Loneliness and what we can do about it

    For me personally...I feel less lonely when I interact with people in person vs msging and social media. So I make It a priority to make sure I have I person catchups with my friends. I'm fortuantly tho that I have a few mummy friends in my town that I can txt in the morning and invite around for a cuppa that day, and they do the same so I'm seeing them at least twice a week. And we only live a block or two from eachother

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Loneliness and what we can do about it

    A girlfriend and I were talking about this on Thursday and how isolated we feel. Sure life gets in the way, especially once kids come along as I guess all our focus, rightly or wrongly, goes to them.

    We did laugh at the irony of "social media" and how it seems to have made society more anti-social! As MD said, we tend to text or instant message someone who we may have previously picked up the phone to talk to.

    Not sure exactly what *I'm* going to do, however, my girlfriend and I have decided to catch up on Fridays for coffee and a chat whilst both our kids are at childcare, so I guess that's a start...

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Loneliness and what we can do about it

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I think that part of the problem is that people don't schedule their lives in quite the same way now. We rely on texting, etc to tee up dates, whereas in the past you had to plan ahead more. I see people a lot less now and I think some of that is planning-failure. Thoughts?

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Loneliness and what we can do about it

    I find that if you ask someone when they can catch up, there is always something on and that you can't catch up till two weeks later. BUT if you just drop in on that person, or send them a quick text "hey, in the area, can I drop by for a coffee?" they are available.

    There must be something about us thinking about all the things we have to do when we have to think ahead or maybe it is yet another commitment, that is just more than we can't cope with right now.

    Personally I find I catch up with more people being impromptu, rather than "booking it in". Don't worry, I don't just drop in on those that I know hate it

    If you look at some of the older generations they do tend to drop in to catch up on friends and family without calling first (well that is what I have observed anyway)

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Loneliness and what we can do about it

    I am really lonely right now at this time of my life. We have recently moved to this area, from the bush, and I know no-one. I have tried inviting kids friends and parents over, but the parent's mostly just want to drop the kids off and go do their own stuff. Which I don't really mind I guess, I want my kids to have friends too, but I have no idea how else to make friends other than through my kids friends parents.
    I'm a SAHM and have no work contacts, and can't really do any kind of sports or classes because DH works odd shifts, so I wouldn't be reliable for things like tafe classes or netball or something like that. I will be looking at going back to work next year, so I hope that will help me build friendships and find some like minded people to make good relationships with.
    I think it's feeling worse because I have an awesome village in our old place. I had 5 amazing friends who I knew I could rely on rain hail or shine, we saw each other at least 2 times a week. Then there was mothers group where there were friends who weren't best friends, but really good friends who were supportive and helpful too, who I used to see at least once a week. I was really connecting with people, adults other than DH and my own children, at least 4 times a week, they would drop into my house unexpectedly, and I could go to theirs when I wanted/needed to. Now since we've moved, I only see DH and the kids, and we might visit my dad once a fortnight and my mum/brother once a fortnight. Other than that I don't truly connect with anyone else. I call my friends sometimes, though they are all busy mums to young kids, who aren't great at phone conversations because of said young children.I get so lonely, especially when hubby's on night shifts.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Loneliness and what we can do about it

    I agree that technology has made things easier in terms of communication, but as a result, everyone has become very poor communicators.

    We made a tree change three years ago (practically to the day!), and I have very, *very* few friends. I didn't have many at all before the move either. I had hoped to make some acquaintances through work, but that turned pear shaped, and have only met a couple of Mums through both school AND kinder that are ever keen to actually catch up for anything. And one definitely more than the other, but she often works, and is just always "busy". I feel like there is something wrong with me because I can't "keep" friends.... They all drift away. Or they burn me, and I feel reluctant to do anything for anyone else, but then do, and still feel let down. Kids make friends with anyone and everyone they meet (like other kids at the playground), but adults can't seem to do that.

    I don't play netball (essential country woman sport, if you want to fit in!), and in fact was asked to leave the court once because I scared the umpire who thought I was going to pound them, so as a result, gave up.

    We don't like football or cricket, so cannot socialise down that avenue either. Motor racing is good here, but I don't get to do anything, as if I am there, the kids are there, and I end up being responsible for them.

    I don't know if I feel overly concerned at the moment that I am actually pretty lonely. When The Man works late or is away for work, it is just me and the kids. The Boy has left home, and when the middle two have gone to bed, it is just me and Mack (since he still sleeps in our bed and won't go to sleep without me there). If he did go to sleep without me, I would probably be the crazy cat lady with a bottle of wine.

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Loneliness and what we can do about it

    I'm a bit of a crazy cat lady atm, minus the wine lol.

    I try to organise catch ups with friends but they are always too busy, I have just taken that to mean they don't want to hang out with me so don't even bother anymore. My kids do sport and I talk to the other parents while they're playing but that's as far as it goes. I guess I'm just not a social person and right now, I'm quite happy being on my own and bombarding fb with pics of my cats. Although, when DD1 asked if I wanted a party for my birthday next year (40 yikes ), I did get quite sad that I didn't have many people to invite and even less would actually attend.

  12. #12

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    Default Re: Loneliness and what we can do about it

    I find Im more connected by using social media and text messaging, as I can shoot off a 'thinking of you' and not worry that they dont have time to chat (or when I dont have time to chat)
    I 'talk' to my sister every day now, whereas Id maybe chat with her every 2 weeks or so beforehand.

  13. #13

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    Default Re: Loneliness and what we can do about it

    Loneliness sucks.

    Mrs F, I noticed that your an Early Childhood Teacher (like me &#128522. I wonder if using some of the ECT groups on fb would be a good way of starting some connections?

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