Loneliness is a major social problem. Loneliness, as Weiten, Dunn, & Hammer (2011) say, is a social phenomenon whose seed can be sown as early as twenty-four months of age. This can be identified by the kind of attachment styles that babies exhibit at this age. Loneliness will usually emanate from poor social skills such as aggressiveness, competitiveness, aloofness etc. People with these poor social skills will most likely be rejected by their peers that leads to loneliness. For young children, this social behavior will lead to rejection not just by their peers but also by the adults in their lives. While loneliness is such a dangerous thing, the good news is that positive social skills can be effectively learnt even at this early age. If parents identify these negative attachment styles in young babies and children, they can take corrective action to train the children in correct social behavior and thus give them a chance to overcome this negative social behavior and make them be able to reach positive social behavior and forge useful and healthy relationships with their peers at later stages of life.
Loneliness can be seen in various ways. First, it can be regarded either transient or chronic loneliness. Transient loneliness is the kind of loneliness that is likely to be felt by a person for a short time, usually triggered by an event that disrupts the person’s social fabric. Such events may include death of a loved one, moving from one city to another, etc. This kind of loneliness can be experienced by anyone. On the other hand, there is chronic loneliness which is of greater concern. Chronic loneliness is one that leads to years of lack of positive social relationships. The other way to look at loneliness is social loneliness versus emotional loneliness. Social loneliness arises from the inability to have a good network of friends in terms of either quantity or quality. Emotional loneliness comes form the individual’s lack of a close friend or a romantic relationship.
The information that was the most interesting is the fact that traits of loneliness can be detected as early as at the age of twenty-four months. This means that if parents are careful and observant enough, they will be able to save their child from ending up being a social outcast. I also learnt that the increasing popularity of social media could be seen as the most vivid indication of the fact that loneliness is very high and prevalent especially among young adults. The other important and interesting thing is the fact that the social behavior leads to loneliness (chronic) loneliness thus making such an individual going through loneliness to ever overcome loneliness. For instance, a lonely individual will not have a chance to learn correct social behavior because this behavior can only be leant in social situation. This will mean that the person will continue to fell worse and less likely to recover.
The information that was surprising is the fact that feelings of loneliness do not have to be felt only when a person is alone, but the individual can feel lonely even when people or even friends surround him or her. It was also surprising to learn that teenagers and young adults are more likely to be lonely than older people. This was surprising to learn because it could be expected that the young people are more likely to meet other people due to the nature of their activities while older people are less likely to meet other people because they are less socially active.
Learning that it is possible to be around many people but still be lonely was important. This is because now I will be more aware of myself in social situation to make sure that I will not be tempted to be lonely in social surrounding. I also learnt that events that interfere with one’s social fabric may lead to tendencies and slip into loneliness, and I will therefore be conscious about anything like that to make sure that such events do not catapult me into loneliness. I will also use this information to help those around me.
I once moved into another neighborhood. The main problem was that the unfamiliar people I found around were of a different ethnic group, and this created even bigger barrier for me. I resorted to loneliness going about my business and then returning in the evening to lock myself with minimum social contact. If I knew that this is a possible recipe for loneliness, I would have tried to overcome my desire to avoid the new neighbors and be more open to avoid loneliness. Luckily, the neighbors were friendlier than I ever thought they would and kept nudging me until I was ready to interact with them.
The thing that was not fully covered in this topic was whether the transient loneliness is likely to lead to chronic loneliness if not addressed fast enough and if so, how likely this is. This needs to be discussed in detail because if there is a high chance of transient loneliness leading to chronic loneliness, there are many people who are, therefore, likely to suffer from chronic loneliness in the end. The other issue that is not addressed and would be of benefit to learn is how the two forms of loneliness, that is, social and emotional, interact. For instance, is the person having emotional loneliness likely to also have social loneliness and vice versa?