I love watching House Hunters, the show that follows couples as they tour various homes before making a decision about which one to buy. Episode after episode viewers hear the same thing- “this space will be so great for entertaining friends and family!”
Odd, because according to an article in “The Week,” an astonishing 50% of all Americans say they are lonely; loneliness defined as not having meaningful, authentic relationships, feeling isolated and left out, having few social contacts and not being understood.” Britons are right behind at 41% with many reporting that their pet or the TV are their main source of companionship.
And while Baby Boomers have driven the numbers upward (One in six now live alone) Millennials aged 23-37 scored highest in loneliness. Marrying later, working at computers, living away from family, spending too much time comparing themselves to others online (or on TV) are all factoring into this over-all sense of isolation.
Some are even postulating that being lonely contributes to our harsh political climate as people “pick sides” (mostly online) in order to feel like they are somehow part of a greater community.
The answer, while clear, is not always easy to embrace.
Just like going to the gym requires effort, so does finding (and being a) friend. If you want to have your neighbor over, you might need to tidy the house. If you want to go out, you might need to wash your hair. These days it’s so much easier to just plop in front of a computer and post on Facebook, or text for hours, but these are obviously not the nourishing relationships that satisfy.
We don’t need to wait until we have a house with a “great space for entertaining,” we already have that space in our hearts.