Paradoxically as the world population is rising so also is loneliness increasing. We now live in a world where we may have 3,000 friends on social media but zero friend in the real world. We are losing out on opportunities for positive human interaction and for deepening meaningful face-to-face interactions. Although technology has made the world a global village, we are by no means interacting meaningfully with one another like people living in a village do.

According to a 2018 survey conducted by Cigna, a global health company committed to improving health and vitality, 48% of Generation Zers surveyed identified themselves as being lonely, 69% felt as though people around them were not “with them” and 68% felt like “nobody truly knows them.” Findings from other generations revealed they also identified as being lonely overall. In particular, 45% of Millennials identified as being lonely, for Gen X it was 45%, for Boomers it was 42% while the oldest generation came in at 38%.

Social capital plays a key role in our happiness. According to a Yale University professor Dr Laurie R. Santos; “The sheer amount of time we spend around other people predicts how happy we are”.

Dale Carnegie in his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People repeatedly emphasized the fact that as humans, our happiness, success, and popularity are tied to how we interact with people and how we make them feel.

Why we are becoming lonely

More and more of us are feeling lonely because we are not nurturing true and deep relationships. We are not nurturing these valuable relationships because we are not spending the amount of time required with other people.

As a consequence, we are not bonding with people emotionally, and by not bonding with them we don’t know them well enough. We don’t know their name or personal details; we don’t know their interests, passions, dreams, likes, dislikes, struggles and personal battles. Not knowing them well in turn means we don’t trust them and by not trusting them well enough we minimize our interactions with them.

Minimized interactions promote loneliness. Much of our interactions with other people at work, at home, in the community and the society at large are very superficial and largely transactional on a short-term basis. We tend to connect with people briefly and only when we need them; as soon as we are done, we discard them.

Isn’t it tragic to hear news of people being dead in their apartment for up to two years and nobody including their own family knowing they had died? Isn’t it sad to hear of celebrities who literally had just finished performing at a well celebrated concert or of church members who had just finished attending their church service all of whom went on to commit suicide straight after leaving the venue?

The key solution is to make a conscious choice to build social capital with people around you. You must take the time out of your busy schedule to prioritize building relationships with people. Create time to talk to people; visit them, spend time with them, find out about their wellbeing. Be genuinely interested in them – enquire about their work or any project they are working on. Find out how you can contribute to their success. Be there for them in their dark moments. Offer them a shoulder to cry on. Give them a listening ear; allow them pour out their heart and grief. It will cost time and may even cost money.

It will come with risks but in the long run the impact on your own happiness, emotional wellbeing and contributions to success will be evident. As A.W. Tozer once said; “Nothing can take the place of affection. Those who have it in generous measure have a magic power over men.”

In a positive relationship, the other party involved benefits too. True  meaningful  relationships  are  not  parasitic;  they  are symbiotic. Relationships ought to be platforms for the exchange of value.

My name is Ayo Adebamowo. Author, Speaker and Techpreneur. I’m here to walk your success journey with you. Subscribe to my newsletter for regular nuggets or check out other empowering articles on my blog to help in that journey. My latest book is Accelerate, a primer on personal and professional development.

Written by : Ayo Adebamowo


About the Facilitator – Ayo Adebamowo Ayo Adebamowo is an Author, Speaker and Tech Entrepreneur. He is the founder of MyMedicalBank, a health technology company promoting digital access to healthcare through creating innovative digital solutions.

A Nigerian-British national, Ayo has been named as one of the 70 Most Outstanding Healthcare Professionals in the United Kingdom.

Having started and run various businesses himself in healthcare, technology, agriculture and publishing, Ayo very much understands from a practical point of view the pains, struggles and mistakes aspiring and established business owners often make that delay their success. He therefore brings his wealth of experience coupled with years of experience and research to help other entrepreneurs succeed in their journey.

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