Great thoughts on Loneliness here. Well worth the read.
This is why traditional efforts to reach out to the lonely—by, say, visiting a nursing home—are often unsuccessful: They fail to foster deep, meaningful engagement. The encounter is pleasant but fleeting, and the effects don’t last. “If I talk to someone for an hour and then leave, they’re still lonely,” says Dutch sociologist Jenny Gierveld, who has spent 50 years studying loneliness. “The basis of a meaningful bond is reciprocity. A lonely person can’t just answer a lot of questions for an hour and feel connected. He or she has to do something.”
Really great article here with solutions to the problem of Loneliness.
Improving social skills. Some researchers argue that loneliness is primarily the result of lacking of the interpersonal skills required to create and maintain relationships. Typically, these interventions involve teaching people how to be less socially awkward – to engage in conversation, speak on the phone, give and take compliments, grow comfortable with periods of silence, and communicate in positive ways non-verbally.
Enhancing social support. Many lonely people are victims of changing circumstances. These approaches offer professional help and counseling for the bereaved, elderly people who have been relocated, and children of divorce.
Increasing opportunities for social interaction. With this approach, the logic is simple: If people are lonely, give them opportunities to meet other people. This type of intervention, therefore, focuses on creating such opportunities through organized group activities.
Changing maladaptive thinking. This approach might seem surprising, and its rationale less obvious than the other approaches. But recent research reveals that over time, chronic loneliness makes us increasingly sensitive to, and on the lookout for, rejection and hostility. In ambiguous social situations, lonely people immediately think the worst. For instance, if coworker Bob seems more quiet and distant than usual lately, a lonely person is likely to assume that he’s done something to offend Bob, or that Bob is intentionally giving him the cold shoulder.
I am going to be posting a number of articles on Loneliness. So much great conversation here.
The problem I think is that we’re all a bit scared of loneliness – of being alone. Of being left. Of not being loved. Or needed. Or cared about. “Lonely” hits a spot of fear in all of us even if we don’t acknowledge it. So a year ago, I set out to find people who were brave enough to admit and talk about how lonely they were. But I wanted to find people whose stories offered hope – either because they’d found a way of dealing with loneliness or because they had something in their lives that, even in a small way, alleviated their loneliness.
For my research in Loneliness I am posting 1 area in which we experience loneliness per week and see how people feel in each area.
So far we have talked about:
Loneliness in leadership
Loneliness in mental health
Loneliness in the workplace
This week we are looking at Loneliness in the Church. I have had many people message me already that they feel lonely in the Church world today. I have heard people talk about the disconnect between what the Church messages & songs content, and the disconnect with the modern church set up with stadium seating, 2 minute greeting time within the services, etc.
Love to hear any thoughts, quotes, books etc. You can post in the comments on all social media, this blog or send me an email/PM.
Connection isn’t created by the things we go get, it is created by the things we go back to. So my invitation to you is simple. Don’t due something new. Find something you’re already doing with your friends, and families, and your intimate relationships, or within your communities, and do that thing over and over and over again. Do it with intention. Do it during the good times and do it during the mundane. So when the inevitable emotional storms hit you have your ritual to go back to. You have your very own anchor of connection.