In our increasingly connected world, it’s easy to feel lonely. This loneliness epidemic isn’t just affecting adults – teenagers and young adults struggle to find meaningful connections.

There are several reasons why we might feel lonely. First, social media feeds us constant images and messages from the “perfect” parts of other’s lives. This can make us feel like we’re not good enough or that everyone else is living a better life than we are. Other times, the problem is simply that we don’t know how to connect with others – we don’t know how to start a conversation or keep one going. And sometimes, loneliness is simply the result of being an introvert in a world that values extroverts.

But being lonely doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. You can do plenty of things to find meaningful connections, even if you don’t feel like you fit in with the rest of the world.

Here are three suggestions:

1) Join a club or organization where you can meet people with similar interests.

2) Talk to people you meet – whether the cashier at the grocery store or someone sitting next to you on the bus. Everyone has a story, and getting to know someone can be both interesting and rewarding.

3) Reach out to old friends – sometimes all it takes is a meme by text or a shared TikTok to start a conversation again.

The Loneliness Epidemic.

The statistics on loneliness

According to a recent study, loneliness has reached epidemic levels in the United States. In fact, in a 2020 Harvard Study, “36% of all Americans—including 61% of young adults … feel ‘serious loneliness.'” Another study showed that “Young adults are twice as likely to be lonely than seniors. 79% of adults aged 18 to 24 report feeling lonely compared to 41% of seniors aged 66 and older.”

The effects of loneliness

Loneliness isn’t just a feeling – it can have real health consequences. Studies have linked loneliness to higher rates of heart disease, dementia, anxiety, and depression. Loneliness can also lead to social isolation, further compounding these health problems.

Why We Feel Lonely.

Social media and loneliness

In an increasingly connected world through social media, it’s more important than ever to feel like we belong. But ironically, social media can contribute to feelings of loneliness and isolation. For example, a study by the University of Pittsburgh found that people who use social media the most are likelier to feel lonely and isolated.

There are a few reasons for this. First, social media gives us a false sense of connection. We see our friends’ highlight reels, but we don’t see the mundane reality of their lives. This can make us feel like we’re not measuring up or that our own lives are boring in comparison. Second, social media can be a breeding ground for negativity and drama. When we see everyone else’s perfect lives, it’s easy to compare ourselves and come up short. And when we get caught up in other people’s drama, it takes away from time we could spend developing our relationships.

The problem with small talk

Small talk is the kind of conversation you have with someone you don’t know well about topics that are not controversial or personal. It’s the weather, sports, TV shows, etc. And while small talk can be a nice way to pass the time, it doesn’t usually lead to meaningful connections. Research has shown that small talk can make us feel lonelier because it reinforces the idea that we’re not known or understood by others.

Loneliness and introversion

It’s a common misconception that only introverts feel lonely because they prefer to spend time alone. But introverts can be some of the most socially engaged people; they just need deeper conversations and closer relationships than their extroverted counterparts. The problem is that our culture is geared toward extroverts and often leaves introverts feeling left out or

misunderstood. So if you’re an introvert who feels lonely, have fun looking for groups of people who share your interests (introvert meetups are becoming more popular worldwide).

How to Find Meaningful Connections.

Join a club or organization

If you’re feeling lonely, one way to find meaningful connections is to join a club or organization. Doing this will allow you to meet people with similar interests, and you’ll be able to participate in activities together. There are clubs and organizations for just about everything, so you’re sure to find one that’s a good fit for you.

Talk to people you meet.

Another way to find meaningful connections is to talk to people you meet. This can be difficult if you’re introverted or shy, but it’s worth trying. Even if you don’t end up becoming friends with someone, talking to them can help alleviate loneliness by making you feel more connected to the world around you.

Reach out to old friends

If you’re feeling lonely, another option is to reach out to old friends. Whether they live near you or far away, getting in touch with them can help reduce feelings of loneliness. You may even find that your friendship is stronger than ever before.

If you’re feeling lonely, you’re not alone. In today’s world, loneliness is becoming more and more common. But there are things you can do to find meaningful connections and combat the effects of loneliness. The irony of loneliness is that so many of us feel that way. I’d love to hear what you are doing to stay in touch with others and keep the “lonelies” away. Comment below!