What does being lonely mean and how does FOLO help against this psychological construct?

Building on what was discussed in our article — FOLO a booster shot for your psyche we want to highlight how many people feel lonely globally and especially within the FOLO community.

The topic of loneliness was already closely examined in 1984 and it was discovered that loneliness is a psychological construct.

Loneliness has an aversive experience similar to states such as isolation and anxiety.

Moreover, it is distinct from social isolation and displays an individual’s perception of deficiencies in his/her network of social relationships. These can be quantitative (not having enough friends) or qualitative (lack of intimacy with others).

Robert Stuart Weiss, a sociologist, has shown that there are two different kinds of loneliness.

  1. Emotional loneliness, arising from the lack of a close attachment to another person, for instance: people who recently have been widowed or ended a romantic relationship.
  2. Social loneliness comes from the lack of social relationships, where an individual is part of a group of friends who share common interests.

Social loneliness is where FOLO is focusing on and supports individuals to stabilize their social infrastructure. We are targeting people who recently moved to a new social environment (e.g. a new city, job or college) as they are even more susceptible to social loneliness.

Weiss has shown that diverse types of relationships meet different interpersonal needs, more precisely different “social provisions”.

Meaning, depending on the lost relationship the interpersonal deficit experienced by the person refers to the social provisions that were supplied by that relationship. Here, Weiss specified six social provisions: “attachment, social integration, opportunity for nurturance, reassurance of worth, reliable alliance, guidance.” However, none of these are absolut.

In this graphic we can see how loneliness appears on the fringes of social networks. People who reported feeling lonely:

  • Blue dots: three or more day
  • Green: two days
  • Yellow: less than two days

As we are focusing on social loneliness, we can tell that it is characterized by feeling bored, aimless and marginal.

The drive of social loneliness is to find activities where they can contribute to and accept them as a member.

FOLO is relieving exactly from social loneliness by giving the user an entrance into a network of friendship which provides social integration.

Even though we are more connected than ever, we are more disconnected from the world around us. Social Media even made us more disconnected from our friends.

During the pandemic loneliness was more triggered due to the isolation which hit teenagers and young adults.

In a research conducted with approx. 950 Americans, 36% said they feel lonely “frequently” or “almost all the time or all the time”.

When we think of elderlies we may think they are lonely. However, shocking is that 61% aged between 18–24 reported high loneliness.

If you ask individuals in that age group when they last talked to their friends, they most probably say on Twitter, Instagram or other Social Media platforms. But do they still meet in person? How can we trigger them to do something together in real life, instead of sitting on the couch and connecting online.Social media should serve to assist the upkeep of real-life relationships, not replace them. The reliance of social media to maintain a healthy social life has provoked a spike of loneliness in the users.

The impact of loneliness is by far more important than we may think, talking of anxiety, depression and more. In England and other countries there is even a Minister for Loneliness tackling that problem.

Looking deeper into loneliness within our community we conducted a survey with approx. 35 people with 55% of them being 25–34.

When asking if they feel lonely the majority answered with an average of 4 from a scale of 0–10 (0 = a bit lonely and 10= super social).

63% said they find it difficult to meet people outside their social group and most of them normally meet new people over their own friends.

However, we asked if they would use an app to meet new friends and 80% answered with yes.

All being said, we are striving to change things. We are in the making of our first FOLOs (events) to bring people together. If you want to join an event or have any further questions, feel free to shoot an email to: hello@foloaround.com

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www.foloaround.com

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