The Young and the Lonely

I was reading today on the BBC website a report that despite the explosion of social networking sites, young people today are feeling more lonely than ever.

When you look at it properly you’ll see evidence that this trend has been progressing for a long time. The number of “one bed” or “studio” properties seem much more prevalent than the traditional multi bedroom homes. People strive for their independence to live in their own home, but at what cost?

I run a confidence coaching group for gay men in central London and the topic of the session frequently turns to social interaction.

  • How do I start a conversation?
  • I hate small talk, it really sounds so cheesy!
  • How do I deal with rejection?
  • I tend to just sit back and let others talk, I want to change that.

It’s these sorts of things that we have all felt from time to time and the social networking online doesn’t seem to provide a direct solution to these difficulties.

“At one level, it has enabled people to make connections they might not otherwise have made, and virtual friendships can evolve into real-life relationships.” – suggests the report by the Mental Health Foundation.

I can personally testify to the power of converting online relationships to real life ones, in fact I met my husband because of the internet!

Using the power of these websites you can certainly expand your virtual social circle, but remember that there is a whole deeper level in the real world. Keeping in touch online is fantastic! Meeting face to face to chat, eat, drink, watch a movie, have a picnic, etc, provides you with so much more.  Not only do these real world interactions provide you with new blog stories, facebook pictures and tweets – but they directly counter loneliness!

There is a very simple and small step we can all take to significantly battle this new wave loneliness. The next time you’re changing your status update…. think about using it to arrange your next real world event. It doesn’t have to be the biggest party of the year, dinner or drinks work just as well.

Don’t use social networks to replace your interactions, use them to enhance the real life ones!