Loneliness, social isolation, and disconnection don’t hit you over the head. They slowly sneak up on you. And then, like a semi-truck on the freeway, they overtake you, leaving you disoriented, down in the dumps, or depressed.
In a world that increasingly functions with fewer face-to-face interactions, all of us are vulnerable to becoming socially isolated.
A small, but telling example: Recently, after lapsing into a routine of intensely working at home without socializing much I felt decidedly blue. But it wasn’t until I forced myself to get out of the house and make small talk with the UPS Store clerk and a woman walking her Dachshund that I realized the cause of my malaise. In a very short period, I’d become a social desert, parched for connection with other human beings. The clarity of this insight was brought home by the fact that I felt so much better after spending just a little bit of time with others.The Need for Belonging
I’m not an outlier. For as long as humans have existed, we’ve needed each other. Connection, community, and cooperation are our lifeblood. We evolved in tribes, banding together for safety, resources, and procreation. Belonging is baked into our…