Millennials — The Loneliest Generation
Updated: Apr 4
In July 2019, a survey from YouGov suggested that 30% of millennials are struggling with feelings of loneliness. In addition, 22% of millennials say they have no friends. (1)
I’m not sure if these stats are surprising to you or not. These days, it’s much easier to measure the number of friends we have through social media.
Right? Not quite.
Taking a look at my own Facebook profile, I currently have 93 friends.
Comparatively, one of my friends on my friend’s list has 728 friends.
Another friend, who just so happens to be my niece, has 560.
Now, looking at these numbers, I feel just a bit lousy and borderline embarrassed. Not only do I have fewer friends, but I realized that I have less than 100. This must mean I’m some kind of loser.
But the truth is, these numbers mean nothing. Out of those 93, I most likely talk to probably 10 of them. The numbers are a bit misleading because in reality, out of these 93 friends only about 3 of them are friends that I have formed close relationships with. But that’s not the point of this blog post.
The point of this post is to address and bring awareness to increase the incidence of loneliness in millennials. One of the reasons is partly due to this generation’s decreased ability to form close meaningful relationships outside social media.
Don’t get me wrong, social media and the world wide web has allowed us to be more connected than ever.
But how is it possible that we can be as connected as ever and but still experience loneliness?
Let’s take a look.
Millennials today are measuring their worth by likes, the number of comments as well as the number of friends. However, true connections outside of the social media space may as well be non-existent.
Rather than engaging in conversation with each other we instead turn to text. In fact, a majority of our communication is through texting, with emojis replacing human emotion and caps lock determining tone of voice. If there are even a few seconds delay in someone’s reply, we start to question whether or not the other person is ignoring us or not.
Am I right?
Instead of calling up a friend to see how they are doing, we instead turn to social media to see what everyone is up to.
Through social media, I can very easily find out where my friends have been, where they have eaten, what they have eaten, who got engaged and still ask the question “Why wasn’t I invited?”.
Leaving me feeling rejected, unimportant and left out because while I am at home watching Netflix, I think everyone is having a great time except for me. Increasing my level of loneliness by wanting to be a part of something that I was probably unintendedly excluded from in the first place.
By nature, humans are social beings. But It is no wonder why social media is affecting our mental health negatively.
…more awareness can definitely help.
The increased incidence of loneliness has become a worldwide public health crisis. Loneliness is not just about being lonely. It is much more.
We sometimes experience loneliness because we are lacking high quality and meaningful relationships. We want to connect with others, but we don’t know how.
Because loneliness is a widespread issue, I often feel that many others are experiencing the same struggles as you and me.
We need to address this and continue to bring more awareness to these issues.
So, I am asking you…
What can we do to overcome loneliness?
How can we form close relationships with people beyond social media?