There’s a growing epidemic in our country. It was on the rise even before COVID-19, but the global pandemic exacerbated it. That pandemic is loneliness. A recent study reported that more than half of all US adults (58%, which is actually nearly 3 in 5) are considered lonely.
What does that mean, specifically? Some of the phrases used in the surveys include, “no one knows them well,” “feel left out,” “always feel alone,” “lack companionship” or “relationships with others are not meaningful.”
We’re lonely, as a nation.
And it’s worse for certain groups – Black and Latine adults are 68% and 75%… way higher than the national average.
Lower-income folks are also way more lonely – 63%. And young adults 18-24 report a staggering 79%.
Loneliness correlates to sharp decline in mental health and quality of life. Which shouldn’t surprise us – after all, we are a church that confesses that we were created for meaningful relationships.
What do we do in the face of a loneliness epidemic?
I want to propose a somewhat radical solution. What if we chose to make friends not by inviting people among us, hosting, but by going out? What if we looked for spaces where people the lonely people already are and go to them?