Fortress of solitude
Loneliness. It’s a health epidemic that may be even more dangerous than smoking or obesity.
It is a universal experience, yet also one that is kept under wraps to avoid being labeled what everyone fears being called: a loser.
Isolation has no bounds
Everyone can be affected by loneliness but what recent studies have shown is that it can be more prevalent in middle-aged men. With a career and sometimes a family to think about, spending time with friends is often put on the back-burner. It makes sense though.
Between a forty-hour work week, a relationship, and even kids to think about, who has time to dedicate to just hanging out.
Friends seem less of an obligation because seeing them is a choice. Often keeping touch on social media makes one feel like they have gotten their “friend-time” in for the week. However, that’s still isolation. What is lacking is human interaction.
Not any easier
It gets even more complicated when there is no workplace at all. Freelancers and entrepreneurs face the same challenge no matter what their age or gender. Gone are the days when you can approach a stranger on the playground and simply ask “Can you be my friend?”
Making friends when you’re older seems more difficult, as we assume that everyone is consumed with their own life or already have enough friend currency to spend.
When you work from home it takes on a new burden. You have to actually go out and meet people, random people, without any promise that you will see them again. Just the thought is discouraging, which is why many people find themselves in isolation out of pure convenience.
Don’t go it alone
One way to fight loneliness head-on is to admit to it. Only then a change can be made. There are plenty of options that can give people a better opportunity to socialize on the regular.
For freelancers, working in a co-working office is a great start.
According to Shelley Delayne, Founder of Orange Coworking, “repeated, casual interactions” are the most comfortable way to form friendships. For middle-aged men, “Coworking spaces provide regular contact with the same group… with ample opportunities for socializing casually.”
Friendships are something to work towards and dedicate time to. Though it is easier to pretend like everything is fine and you’re very content being lonely, it is not the healthiest choice.
Don’t be a statistic – make a new friend or reach out to an old one. Don’t let the routine of being alone let it trap you there. Your health will thank you.