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Thursday, 15 November 2018

The Age of Being Lonely; A Call To Us All

We are constantly connected.

A text, whatsapp, snapchat, ig message or phone call. Being along is a thing most don't experience.

Yet we have all experienced that rising panic when we think we've lost our phone, that anxiety and feeling of dread. But why it is so scary? It's not about the loss of the phone, that's annoying but can be solved, I've come to the conclusion that it's the loss of being constantly connected. Not being able to see what others are feeling, instantly message someone as soon as the thought pops into our mind or unable to navigate on our own. Our phones have become so integrated into our day to day lives that we have forgotten how to live without it.

Growing up I remember the only thing you had was a watch. You said a time you'd get there for that time. You'd tell your mum you'd be home at a certain time and unless you were really mean, you'd be sure to be back then as well. You'd talk to your friends when you got in on MSN and call them on the land line in between the dial up tones of your internet connection but everything was clear cut. There was no pressure to be anyone you were not because you didn't know what the rest of the world was really like. Yet when I was younger, I would have said my friends were all so close, I was never lonely.

So why is it, in a world so ultra connected are we feeling lonelier than ever? I've spent far to much time trying to understand how tech has changed us as people and for all its greatness, its efficiencies, it has left its damage on us.

Tech has allowed us all to become lazy and inconsiderate. You may be reading this and thinking I'm wrong but hear (read) me out first, I hope at least, you may agree with some of it.

You see, we treat a like the same way we used to say, well done, congrats, love your outfit, you look nice. We bump into people in the street and say, we must meet up, i'll drop you a message so we can arrange plans and then often never do. We cancel with a simple text, we are able to be late because we can let the other person know, and then we think that's okay because 'at least we told them'.  Instead of meeting up regularly, we have whats app groups where we talk all day and have a virtual relationship and instead of picking up the phone on important issues we text.

Our constant connectivity means that people also forgot how to be on their own, truly on their own. To do things without other people, to just enjoy something for yourself. How many times when we are sat in our pjs on the sofa do we see people who've had a great day, are with all their friends, or on a night out which looks like the best fun and we question what we are doing. We wonder why we weren't invited and we allow ourselves to feel unwanted. It is this feeling, that lack of self worth that can also impact our relationships as well, because if we are not physically connected to each other, then we can feel lonely even with people surrounding us.

However interconnected technology makes us it can't fill the physical void of being lonely, that uncertainly of self worth and the need to actually be present and interact with others face to face. Tech is amazing, it allows us to stay connected with people we know across the world, and stay up to date with important moments in peoples lives but tech is really bad at allowing us to really be there for each other more. A text can't replace a phone call or a meet up, just like a like can't replace a genuine message.

We can all use tech to be better though. To be less lonely, to make each other feel good about ourselves and to allow relationships whether that be friends, family or otherwise to stay strong.
If you organise a meet up, make sure you show up, next time you text a friend, make sure you're really asking how they are and taking the time to call them if they need to talk. When you're on your own and feeling lonely, don't sit there scrolling through your Instagram feed, instead go out and do something, or call your grandparents or message someone you keep meaning to but haven't had the time. Finally, if you bump into someone you know, organise your meet up then and there, and if you really don't have time set a reminder in your phone for later that day.

With so much inter connectivity it's time that we stopped letting it make us lazy and in turn, causing  us to feel lonely. Instead we can all make a conservative effort so that it helps us support others, to be there for each other when it really counts, and to allow us to be trust that we are enough because when it comes down to it, we all face the same concerns, we all have similar worries and we can all share these experiences to show each other that, what you see on a screen can often be far from the reality.


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