1. Apparently this is a big deal. My answer is make use of your time alone.I remember all those times being alone, now I'm in a situation where I'm never alone. I actually miss all of the walks being alone, being able to read a book, or listen to a CD uninterrupted. Two weeks ago I was driving home with only one of children who fell asleep, and so I took the back roads. I enjoyed it all by myself.
2. If you knew me from my childhood/teen years, you would know I was shy to the point of being rude. My apologies. I didn't know any better with my poor social skills. Eventually, I started to use this time wisely. I read more, and simply didn't wait to have a friend to come with me if I wanted to do something. I realize to go somewhere in public, all alone as a teenager was social suicide. I didn't have friends to begin with, so why should I stay home if I didn't have someone to go with me to the movies, the mall, or the beach,.
While many make the point of independent living before marriage, I didn't. I've been living 'by myself' for sometime, of course I had my parents and extended family. Learning how to cope and utilize my time all alone, was a blessing and a gift.
3. Studies have been showing that younger people are feeling more depressed about being alone, it is suggested that media and social networking as factors. I grew up when MTV showed music videos, and not 'Jersey Shore' or 'My Sweet 16'. It showcased musicians, not other people's 'real lives' (completely staged) who apparently were more interesting then the average viewer.
We also didn't have Facebook, in which your life is quantified by home many friends you had. For a high school student, this is a running tab, of who likes you and who didn't. 20 years ago, I didn't know who really liked me or hated me. But then again, I barely know anyone's name from high school. From the Gaurdian UK (August 2010) link above...
This is not just a teenage problem. In May, the Mental Health Foundation released a report called The Lonely Society? Its survey found that 53% of 18-34-year-olds had felt depressed because of loneliness, compared with just 32% of people over 55. The question of why was, in part, answered by another of the report's findings: nearly a third of young people said they spent too much time communicating online and not enough in person.
"We have data that suggests people's social networks have got smaller and families are not providing the same level of social context they may have done 50 years ago. "It's not because they are bad or uncaring families, but it's to do with geographical distance, marriage breakdown, multiple caring responsibilities and longer working hours," he says.
From New Zealand One million Kiwis feel lonely every month (April 2013)
Strikingly, younger people were the most likely to feel lonely, the Loneliness in New Zealand report, released by Statistics New Zealand today, shows. Almost one in five people under 30 said they felt forlorn at least some of the time. Sixteen per cent of those between 30 and 64, and just over one in 10 aged 65 and over, felt the same.
5. And being lonely has become its own niche marketing group for companies. Social Isolation: Are Lonely Consumers Actually Loners or Conformers? Science Daily (October 2010)
But, according to the authors, the lonely people don't want to advertise their minority status. "Lonely people's preference for the minority-endorsed products was only found when their preferences were kept private," the authors write. "They switched to majority-endorsed products once their preferences became public." The authors suggest that marketers keep in mind the lonely factor when targeting consumers, like seniors, who might be less likely to respond positively to rave reviews from a majority of customers, for example.A company can't sell a product on its merits, but how popular and 'in the majority' one will feel when they purchase the product. I thought this marketing manipulation only worked with children? Remember we begged our parents for that 'it' item, that everyone else had?
6.I like everyone else, use social media. Despite being online a lot, I use the Internet for information and rarely watch TV. I only have 110 friends on Facebook, and it is either family, neighbors, people from church, or locals that I know from political activity. I like the 'news feed' option of informative links to websites of interest, I like seeing the updates from family and picture sharing. I like seeing the personal side of people, of individuals I have nothing in common with in terms of thought and lifestyle. I do not see it as missing out on anything. I'm getting all that I want to see.Do You Fear You Are Missing Out? (Science Daily April 2013)
As lead researcher and psychologist Dr Andy Przybylski explained, the fear of missing out is not new, but the rise is social media offers a window into other people's lives like never before. The problem for people with a high level of FoMO is they may become so involved is seeing what their friends are doing and they are not, they often ignore what they are actually enjoying themselves.
7. Being alone doesn't mean loneliness. Being alone and what to do when you're alone is a skill, everyone should learn. Today children have suffered from being 'over scheduled', they don't know what to do when there is no one else around or something planned by someone else. Being alone teaches one to self-initiate, and not waiting around in a personal pity party staring at others from online photos. Do it anyways, by yourself, even if you don't have 5000 Facebook friends to share it with.
I'm not sure if any of this helps, I came from a pretty secure and stable home environment and I've been married for almost 13 years with four children. I would like to think if I single and without children, I would still be able entertain personal and professional interests more in depth if given the time without a sense of feeling lonely.