Loneliness according to Webster is sadness because one has no friends or company. Considering social media is so prevalent in society. One wonders why anyone would be lonely. In light of some having 5,000 friends on face book or other social media sites. Do these sites solve the problem of loneliness?
Observing children in a daycare setting is very enlightening. Behaviors may lend a clue to how a child is feeling. Some children will go off into a corner and pout, others my scream, hit, or kick, it may be noted they are feeling lonely. The child whom no one wants to play with seeks attention many times through aggressive actions. Even children who play alone quietly may be experiencing loneliness. Some children feel no one likes them or wants to play with them.
Watching elementary children on a playground lends some insight to loneliness in these children. Some wait to be picked to play on a team. They become sad when no one picks them, or they are always picked last. This leads to feelings of discouragement, not being good enough, and what’s wrong with me. Isolation at any age is not fun.
High School young adults place a lot of value on their social media friendships. One of the pitfalls with this is that they do not develop flesh and blood personable relationships. It is hard to play ball with the friend in India, or go for a coke with the friend five states away. Some are even in a crowd of other students but loneliness still prevails. Inter action is inhibited by feelings of not being good enough. Maybe they don’t have the designer clothing, or the newest technology, adding to feelings of low self worth.
Then there are the 20 and 30 somethings. They may or may not have a meaningful career, education, or significant other. Many feel lonely and worthless believing something is wrong with them since, no one calls or wants to visit with them.
Many middle aged men and women find themselves feeling lonely. Some experience empty nest realizing they are strangers with their spouse, when the children leave home. Others are facing divorce, or divorced, or perhaps the loss of a spouse through death. The outcome is the same they are lonely.
The elderly face extreme loneliness if they are home bound or in an assisted living or nursing facility. They may have children who never visit. Being out of the active part of life their friends may seldom visit or call them. Many elderly will not pick up the phone and call someone on their own. They feel useless and worthless.
What are we doing as a society to help these lonely people? How can this grave concern be addressed? The answers are not readily available. The problem does need attention in order to be addressed.