Generation Lonely

28 May 2018

If you scroll through Facebook or the ‘gram and you will often see loads of accounts with people that look like they have lots going on, are successful, got their lives together, have loads of 'online connections'/friends. 

This is not reality

Despite this illusion that social media gives, millennials are the loneliest generation. 

Loneliness is a cross - generational challenge that effects millions of people in the U.K and around the world, ranging from the young to the old. To continue the legacy Jo Cox (Member of Parliament, who died after being shot and stabbed multiple times in her constituency), the U.K. Government has set up a national strategy and appointed a minister to combat loneliness and the associated mental and physical affects it has. 

No two people are the same - loneliness impacts everyone in different ways. 

As a blogger, I use social media A LOT. Our reliance on social media, technology and virtual connectedness play a part in this massive loneliness epidemic. But it also creates a paradox.  Smartphones make us more alone but they also make it harder for us to be alone - weird, right?

On a Friday night and you're alone watching Netflix, a text message from Pizza Hut comes through advertising their latest £5 pizza deal (can't be just me that receives these constantly). Thanks to social media, you are never not able to see what those 700 friends of yours are doing and why they aren't spending time or talking to you.  

As someone on the brink of being classed as a millennial/Generation Z - I can confidently say we are more connected with a larger number of people than our parents and other generations were. However, I don't think I'd be the only person saying that I still feel a massive disconnect from people. 

What is most worrying is that you can have all your friends at the touch of a button, but if you compare our social media/virtual interactions to how many times you have an actual conversation with another individual, it's pretty damming. 

According to The Independent, 86% of millennials reported feeling lonely and depressed in a 2011 study. And then three years later, 18-24-year-olds said they were four times as likely to feel lonely all the time as those aged 70 and above.

So, what can you do if you're feeling lonely but surrounded by connections? 

Social media is only one form of connection.

Actions speak a lot louder than words. Some (not all) online friendships are just words. Having face to face contact with actual people who can provide moral and supportive relationships has never been more important

Take yourself out to meet other people.

As cringe as it sounds, organised fun is the best. I often go to blogger events on my own and I find that going alone allows me to get so much more out of the event, especially when it comes to speaking to people I wouldn’t necessarily get to talk to. And to top it off, these are some of the loveliest people I know. 

Don't be afraid of losing old friendships.

Cutting down those big impersonal friendship groups to get a small number of meaningful friendships is never a bad idea. It's not embarrassing to not have a massive group of friends i.e. #squadgoals. Often those who are 'lonely' are those surrounded by the most people. Growing up, I don't think I ever had a massive Taylor Swift esque girl gang. However, I am fortunate to have lots of different friends from different walks of life, different cultures and with different personalities. Sometimes you desire a smaller social circle with more meaningful, valuable close knit relationships.  

Don't aspire to do nothing.

I mean Netflix nights are great but it's so much easier to do this or scroll through the ASOS new in pages, instead of ringing an old friend to catch up. Friendship is an effort but an effort that has great returns. 

Don't let our obsession with celebrity culture replace community. 

There are so many people out there that need taking to (even more than ourselves). Talk to a homeless person on the street, volunteer at an old peoples’ home or a childrens' centre. Not only does this give you a great social connection, but giving back to the community allows you to have a sense of purpose.

Outfit details 
Jumper - Topshop
Trousers - H&M
Boots - Missguided via ASOS (similar here)



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