Loneliness and the feeling of being disconnected has become an epidemic. In our globally connected world, how is it possible for anyone to be lonely? Psychologically speaking, loneliness does not necessitate that a person be socially isolated. Being lonely means feeling detached from others yet having the desire for a connection or a relationship. A 2018 nationwide survey reported by Texas A&M Health found that nearly half of American’s report feeling alone or left out, and one in four Americans rarely feel as though there are people who really understand them. Now consider for a moment what those loneliness numbers would look like today post 2020 and the current pandemic. I believe we would be dismayed, if not surprised that individually we are more isolated as a nation than ever before.
For weeks or sometimes months we were directed to quarantine from anyone outside of our household. For more than a year we were encouraged to ‘socially distance’ and keep 6 feet away from others. We were required to wear masks that made communicating difficult. The masks, in my observation, also created a disconnection from who we really are. We go about our day in “stealth mode” as I like to call it. What is stealth mode you ask? Well on occasion when I go into a grocery store without hair and makeup done, let's call it the “natural look” most likely on a laid-back Saturday, I pretend no one can see me and I dart in and out without engaging anyone. We basically have lived more than a year in this stealth mode limiting social interactions, and with that often our good manners. It is my opinion that many people behave differently when they wear a mask. Although you cannot see a covered smile, you still can recognize in one’s eyes a warm greeting. You can still share a hello and nod of acknowledgment when socially distancing and/or wearing a mask. However, for many of us, stealth mode has disconnected us from our normal societal etiquette and upbringing. As we work our way out of the pandemic, I hope that you are faring better than 50% or more of the United States who are lonely. I also hope that you reserve your stealth mode for occasional use only!
We can fix this. If you are feeling disconnected and silently wish you could be a part of something bigger, you are not alone. Loneliness is not something to be ashamed of, but it does create some bad habits that will require stepping out of your comfort zone. I would like to help you find your tribe. If you already have a close group of friends, I would like to help you strengthen your sisterhood. I will be guiding these women with weekly connecting ideas and monthly activities to help you find your tribe and build deep, meaningful, life-long friendships. If you are interested in joining Lady and the Tribe’s FREE Inner Circle sign up here.
Loneliness affects all ages and every walk of life. Although this project is focusing on women, men please don’t hesitate to tap in! If you or someone you know is battling loneliness and/or depression, there is help out there for you! You never know who might need a Crisis Text Line. Pass it on and tell the people in your life to text HOME to 741741 if they’re ever in crisis. Together we can end unwanted isolation and foster inclusivity, connection, and joy.
All my love,
Brenda Billings Ridgley
Author of Lady and the Tribe
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