Loneliness Is Not About “Being Alone”
Charles Chu
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A couple of things to keep in mind. The research is clear that loneliness drives behavior and not the other way around. When people become chronically lonely they develop self-protective, self-centered behaviors. When they have meaningful connections (people they can share the sorrows and celebrations of their life), those behaviors wane and disappear. We need to lower the barriers that lonely individuals create, and provide the means to build those meaningful connections if we want to help overcome the loneliness epidemic. Two, loneliness is contagious — look it up. So it is not just about putting the onus on the individual. Loneliness levels have been increasing across the developed world. To put it solely on the individual, makes it seem like a social deficiency and promotes stigma — further deepening feelings of isolation. Maybe it starts with those who aren’t lonely being generous and understanding of those initial bad behaviors to find the caring person that exists below the surface.