Loneliness – the feeling of social isolation or sad from being alone. Social isolation includes living alone, having very few social ties, not having people to confide in, and not spending time with others very often. In Cigna’s recent survey exploring the impact of loneliness in the United States, the study finds that young people are reporting loneliness in increasing numbers and at a rate outpacing that of their elderly counterparts.
The overall national loneliness score was alarmingly high at 44 on a 20-to-80 scale, but the prevalence of social isolation among those ages 18 to 22 raises even more concern. The younger people, part of Generation Z, had loneliness scores of about 48 compared with nearly 39 for those 72 and older.
It makes sense when you look at the lives young people are living in today’s society and culture. Young people, who are just finding their way in the world, are either off to college or they join the workforce and in most cases everyone in their lives are new to them. It takes time to make connections with others that will prove to be meaningful and lasting. With a busy college and work schedule and most likely living in a new city without friends or family, it’s no wonder young people feel socially isolated.
One young woman called into a radio station with her story of moving to a smaller town and commuting one hour to her new job. Though she was involved in a church in the small community, she didn’t have the opportunity to make connections with people her age. Her co-workers often invited her to clubs and bars but she politely refused their invitations. She was desperately lonely, longing for human connections that matter.
It made me look back on my early days in college. I had moved away from home and knew no one. I had joined a church and became involved in the college and career ministry where families committed to being part of the lives of young people. I was “adopted” by a family who often invited me and other students into their home for lunch on Sundays or to hang out on a Friday night. They invested time and money into being a home away from home for many students – and it made a difference.
At Eastwood Tulsa, we are proud to have a College and 20 Something ministry – called 948 – that invests in the lives of young people and help build strong, healthy relationships that last. If you are in need of a place to belong, you will find it at Eastwood Tulsa.
“Then he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.'” Luke 9:48