Photo by Pedro Gabriel Miziara on Unsplash

Five Ways That We Are ‘Lonely Together’ In The Modern World — The Paradox Explained

Accici has a song called, “Lonely Together,” and it caught my attention for a strange reason.

I didn’t really like the music itself, and didn’t notice the singing, but it was the lyrics that really grabbed ahold of me.

The song is about a dysfunctional relationship, where the people aren’t together, but they’re still having casual sex, and it is obviously a toxic situation.

The lyrics capture the paradox, the duality, perfectly:

“I might hate myself tomorrow, but I’m on my way tonight,
At the bottom of a bottle, you’re the poison in the wine,
And I know I can’t change you and I won’t change,
I might hate myself tomorrow, but I’m on my way tonight,
Let’s be lonely together.”

Being “lonely” while you are with someone has become a common occurrence. Using the song lyrics as an excuse, here are five ways that we are lonely together in the modern world:

  1. Being in a long distance relationship or having a friend who lives overseas

While Skype, messenger apps and phone calls can make it seem like the other person is in the room with us, deep down we know they are half a world away.

There’s a real difference between hearing someone’s voice and seeing them in the flesh.

When you call a friend who is in Brazil while you are still in the States, you can laugh, remember shared memories, talk about news and whats happening in your lives, but you can’t touch them.

You can’t shake their hand or pat them on the back. You can’t pull them in for a hug or jokingly punch them on the arm.

It’s the same with a long distance relationship. You might be able to hear her voice, but you can’t hold her or kiss her, or feel her against you. There’s a wall, that ensures, that you are lonely together.

2. Having Casual Sex With Someone You Hardly Know

This is an obvious one.

Sexual relations are by design intimate and private. You are sharing yourself with someone, really letting them see all of you, and mutually sharing in the pleasure of being together.

But if you are drunk, and he is drunk, and he fumbles with your breasts and pushes you against the wall, you might feel the pleasure of it, but there’s a deeper feeling, and that is of loneliness.

If it is awkward and there is a lack of connection, the pain will really begin to burn, and you’ll have to be moving fast to cover it up.

And so you use each other for purely physical gratification, and when it is done, you pray to some unknown that the pain will go away. You hope you’ll be able to have all the pleasure you need without the emotional strings and heartache.

And in that moment when you have sex with that stranger you met at the bar, who you didn’t really like but thought, “might as well,” you decided to be lonely that night.

3. Being With An Old Friend, Who You Now Have Nothing In Common With.

Friendships are essential to a healthy life, but sadly, sometimes they fade away.

We’ve all had that experience when we’re with someone we haven’t seen in a long time and realize that something has changed. They’re not the same, they don’t like the same thing as you do, or maybe you’ve changed, and now they seem immature and petty.

Whatever it is, now instead of making new connections together, all you can is “remember,” and talk about the past, because you know, you will not have a future with this old friend.

Growing older and growing out of people can be painful, and it is one of the things in the world that can make you feel truly lonely, even if you are surrounded by others.

4. Taking Public Transport

If you have ever been on a plane or a bus, then you know what it means to be lonely together.

Most of the time everyone looks down at their phone or their book, or listen intently to their music. Nothing is shared, and people do their best to avoid making eye contact or engaging in conversation.

Even if you sit next to someone, the default stance is to say nothing, if not a polite hello.

While it is easy to be lonely here, what is often pleasant to discover is that most people are nice and will talk with you if you make yourself friendly. But by default, public transport is one of those situations where everyone mutually decides to be lonely together.

5. When You’re Depressed

When you are feeling down it doesn’t really matter where you are, you automatically feel lonely.

Automatically you feel cut off from others, like you don’t have anything of value to say, like they don’t want you around even if they do. You worry about sapping everyone else’s energy and become hyper-aware of how gloomy you must seem.

You could be at a party, at work or at school, and it really doesn’t matter how many people are around or who you are talking too, because if the feeling persists, you feel lonely.

And that’s five ways that we are lonely together in the modern world. If you feel like you have experienced one or more of the five, then make sure you share or leave a clap.

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