Lonely and friendless

A Relate study recently showed that 1 in 10 people in the UK said they had no friends and 1 in 5 reported feeling unloved.

I read this again in the Sunday Observer today, the journalist talking about this in the context of an age where Facebook has made Friend into a verb, an age where people like and friend and tag and yet 1 in 10 report having no friends.

It saddens me to think of people feeling unloved and wanting friends but having none and not feeling able to change that.

I reflect on my life and feel blessed. So many long term friends, one seen last night I have been close to for 37 years though not always in the same country – which has less significance in these tweeting, email, FaceTime days than it was back then – the days of letters and calls from public phones. And I am staying for a few days up in Edinbugh, an old home town, with a friend of 25 years and going to meet up later with others. The shared memories of good and bad times over the years, the friendships that endure when marriages and other relationships sometimes haven’t. People that will always be there for each other. Priceless.

I talked the other night with another long term friend who stayed with us in London on her way from Australia. We revisited the vague plan we all have as a group of about 15 of us to pool our resources when the time comes and buy a big place together and buy in care. No need for any of us to be lonely, isolated or abandoned. The thought gives comfort.

So I read these statistics and feel grateful for the life that is mine and the friendships full of love that we have all nurtured over the years.

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10 thoughts on “Lonely and friendless”

  1. Lovely post. You are fortunate. I also believe I’m fortunate in having many ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ friends, but making and keeping friends takes time, patience, generosity, and effort, and some people aren’t prepared/ready/able to invest, others could be afraid. I’m sure there are many reasons, but as all things in life, friends won’t knock on your door out of the blue… you have to actively find them…and keep them. Frienship doesn’t just ‘happen’. Perhaps a post on ‘The art/secret of making and keeping friends’ would be useful? 🙂

    1. What a good idea… My partner marvels at my friendships. He is so poor at keeping contact and just doesn’t get the need to actively keep them alive, like stoking a fire… Otherwise the friendship can dwindle away.

  2. I have good friends in the UK, the US and Australia. In March next year I and around half a dozen friends from my uni years, 44 years ago, will meet up for our third reunion in London. Most live in the UK but I’ll be travelling from North Cyprus and one other – a maybe at this stage – from Switzerland. We met up for the first time after forty-odd years at the first reunion, knew each other straight away, and it was if we had never been apart. Great friendships renewed, sore tongues needing a rest after hours of talk and catching up. Great friends are a treasure and I feel sorry for those who are so alone and feel lonely.

  3. What an interesting and sad statistic in this day and age. I too am grateful for friends all over the world and on Facebook. Love your sunflower pic too, who couldn’t be more hopeful when they see such a happy looking flower. Nice thoughtful post, thanks.

  4. I’m convinced that having a circle of friends like you describe means even more as we age. I also believe, as my mom use to say, “To have a friend you must be a friend.” Nice post, Susi.

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