While this may sound outrageous at first, but study shows that loneliness really does spread like a virus. When you’re lonely, you’re not only lonely yourself, people around you will feel lonely too.
And if that keeps up, it’s not a good thing because loneliness, instead of making more friends to care about you, makes friends leave you.
Find out why.
Loneliness Makes Others Lonely Too
I first read about this on Whichlaneareyou.com, which Marcell discusses “Is It Loneliness Is Contagious“. And yes, after reading it and this study by University of Chicago, I am convinced that loneliness is really, contagious.
Let’s take a real world example. One day a friend comes to you and tells you that he is lonely. He will start explaining why he is lonely, and he will start giving you real world examples of how others make him lonely. He will start to count every fault that people make, every little detail that people do that makes him feel lonely, every single glare, single grin, or even a single hand wave is enough as a “hint” for people is trying to isolate him and make him lonely.
It’s so natural that when you’re lonely, everything is against you. He is rationalizing everything to be against him, even if they are not.
And you listen so intently to his speculations and you actually start to believe that it is true, perhaps out of sympathy. You begin to let your rationale down. Then part of you will start to think, maybe what he said is really true. And maybe all those glares, those grins, those gestures do mean that they are isolating him.
Then you start to get away from those “friends” of him because you think that they are bastards to make your friend a loner. You’re left with your loner friend. He continues to be a loner, and eventually you’re getting lonely too because you have lesser and lesser friends.
And eventually you get sick with your loner friend, you’re left with yourself.
Loneliness is a very scary bug, isn’t it?
The Loneliness Bug
A lonely person is likely to lose touch with another person, who in turn gets cut off from others, and both end up on the fringes of a social group.
“A lonely person who anticipates others are going to act negatively toward them finds evidence in their environment for that, partly because they anticipate it and partly because they elicit it,” Cacioppo told LiveScience.
They found loneliness is catchy with three degrees of separation. So a person’s loneliness depended not just on his friend’s loneliness but also on his friend’s friend and his friend’s friend’s friend. Participants were 52 percent more likely to be lonely if a person to whom they were directly connected (one degree of separation) was lonely. For two degrees of separation, the number drops to 25 percent and 15 percent for three degrees.
Over time, lonely individuals become lonelier and transmit such feelings to others before severing ties. “People with few friends are more likely to become lonelier over time, which then makes it less likely that they will attract or try to form new social ties,” they write. Such friendless individuals ended up on the outskirts of their social networks. –Excerpts from Lifescience.com
Loneliness Is An Attitude, Not A Personality
I admit that I was kind of generalizing how the loneliness bug works there, it’s actually much more complex than that. But you can be sure that loneliness is a very scary social state. It doesn’t only make yourself feel bad, it makes the people around you feel bad and sad as well.
I personally had a lonely fit myself a few months ago. I was feeling so lonely and so depressed with myself, I kept myself to myself so much, I wouldn’t answer any calls, wouldn’t go out with anyone, locked myself at the room and made everyone around me worry. My loneliness made them feel lonely too as they lacked my company, and they too soon become depressed. As soon as they are depressed they don’t care less about me anymore, because they’re too depressed to care about me.
Then I got out of my loneliness bug and I started to build back the relationships. I apologized for what I’ve done (which is actually not doing anything) and we’ve gained back the trust gradually. I’ve gotten my positive outlook in life back by keeping myself focused on goals and tasks in life (one of them is this blog!), and I kept myself busy with challenging but happy things.
I got myself out of the loneliness bug and everyone around me is much happier.
Nobody is a born loner. Loneliness is an attitude, not a personality.
Think twice before feeling lonely!
Next time, when you feel lonely, think twice! Are you really that lonely, or are you just feeling depressed? If you’re depressed, get some chocolates, watch some movies, talk to friends, get yourself happy! You have plenty of friends, trust me, and they’re all wiling to be there for you, any time!
If there are actually some ass holes that tries to ruin your life, it’s their loss, not yours! So just get over it, and stick with the better friends. You’re never lonely, you just haven’t reach out to the good ones yet. 🙂
Don’t let the loneliness bug catch up to ya and pull ya down!