Are most people lonely?

lonely woman in crowd on subway train
© Matej Kastelic/Shutterstock

According to a new study, if you're lonely, you're not alone.

If you're feeling lonely, you're not alone. A group of researchers studied 340 people from the ages of 27-101 living in San Diego County. According to the scale they used, about 75 percent of the participants reported feeling moderate to high loneliness.

"This is noteworthy because the participants in this study were not considered to be at high risk for moderate to severe loneliness. They didn't have major physical disorders. Nor did they suffer from significant mental illnesses such as depression or schizophrenia, in which you might expect loneliness to be problematic," said Dilip Jeste, one of the researchers. "Though there were clear demographic limitations to the group, these participants were, generally speaking, regular people."

That means loneliness may be more common than previously thought, which is concerning (at least for San Diego residents). In addition to being terrible on its own, loneliness leads to plenty of health problems, including disrupted sleep and hypertension.

I certainly have more questions. Why is everyone lonely? Have people always been this lonely, or are phones/weak communities/late stage capitalism causing it? Unfortunately, I don't have the answers to these questions.

But there's actually an uplifting side to all this. People like to give off the impression that their lives are perfect — they have fun friends, loving families, wonderful jobs and exciting adventures. But studies like these show what we all probably suspect: this rosy impression is often a facade.

Loneliness is depressing. But there's something even worse: being lonely and thinking everyone else is perfectly content. Humans tend to measure things by comparison. Thinking you're doing worse at life than everyone else is just kicking the horse while it's down.

So next time you're feeling lonely, remember that most people you see walking down the street may be just as lonely as you. You might even work up the courage to say hi to one of them.

Are most people lonely?
According to a new study, if you're lonely, you're not alone.

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