Preconceived notions of loneliness can cloud the true impact and reality of what it means to feel lonely. So, let’s debunk some myths and misconceptions to tackle that stigma, and highlight the many different faces of loneliness.
“The elderly experience the most loneliness”
When it comes to feeling lonely, you don’t have to fit into a certain box to have valid feelings. While the elderly do experience loneliness at high levels, loneliness has been reported to impact 61% of disabled persons, 59% of students, and 8 out of 10 young mums. Moving to a new location, low finances, and a lack of opportunity in your local area can all additionally cause feelings of isolation and loneliness. In fact, we all saw a huge rise in loneliness around all demographics during the Covid-19 pandemic, which really shows that loneliness can impact any one of us.
“You can tell if someone is feeling lonely”
While there are signs that someone may be feeling lonely, loneliness is more complex than what we can see with our eyes. The loudest person in the room, the sweet elderly person who likes to chat with customer services or the friend who always cancels plans. The only thing these people for certain have in common is that they do hold the ability to feel lonely, however, the way they experience loneliness will be unique to them. Each of us needs different levels and types of human connection, which is why loneliness may not always look like the idea you have in your own mind.
“People are lonely by choice; they wouldn’t be lonely if they made more of an effort”
Some people may not be able to afford to go out with their friends, they may need to prioritize work, family, or health. The area they live in might not offer many opportunities to meet people, maybe they only feel isolated around the holidays, or they may have a mental health condition that makes it more difficult to connect to others. However, remember that being socially isolated is not always the reason people feel lonely, and that social isolation does not automatically mean people are lonely; some people who are alone like to be alone, and that is perfectly ok. Loneliness is not a simple choice of just “getting yourself out there”, as the resources every one of us has will vary.
“People only feel lonely when they are on their own”
There are many people out there who choose not to be around people, but it does not cause loneliness, as some people enjoy their own company. Other people may surround themselves with family, friends, or colleagues, and still feel lonely. All of us have different social batteries, and different parts of our social lives that need managing, such as romance, family, friendship, or hobbies. We can feel full of the attention of our family but feel a loss around the desire for certain friendships or romance. We cannot measure loneliness with social interactions, as it exists as an often-invisible feeling which can be hard to explain to even our closest loved ones.
Here at Can Connect, we welcome your thoughts and feelings, so if you have anything you think we’ve missed, or just want to share your own experience, you can contact us on email@example.com or on our Facebook page.
If you or someone you know are feeling lonely and want to learn more about the support available to you, we’re here to help, you can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or make a referral by clicking here .