New research shows that one in 10 people do not have a single close friend.
The small island I now call home is populated by 64.1 million.
The study by the charity Relate has revealed that 4.7 million British people have no close friends at all.
More than 5,000 people across the UK participated in a poll that revealed many people's loneliness may have been fueled by moving around the country from the friends they grew up with. This is the case for me. I moved constantly in my youth and never developed a school friend. In my early marriage, we shifted from one place to another too. By that time, I'd developed a loner disposition. Not that I don't like other people or appreciate their company—I do. I long to chat and laugh with a close female friend. My husband fulfills that role at the present time.
Feeling isolated from others can disrupt sleep, raise blood pressure, lower immunity and calm, and increase both depression and the stress hormone cortisol.
The quality of people’s relationships has a direct impact on well-being, according to the Relate research. Four out of five people taking part in the poll said they had good relationships with their partners. But what happens when that partner dies? So many of our aging population live alone. I'm facing that life event at the moment. My husband is undergoing tests to see how far his cancer has spread.
Doctors warn that lonely people are nearly twice as likely to die prematurely as those who do not suffer feelings of isolation. Being lonely could be more worrying for your health than obesity.
In a report called Rewarding Social Connections Promote Successful Ageing, the team found friendships helped older people develop their resilience and ability to bounce back after adversity, and to gain strength from personal hardship rather than be diminished by stress.
So many songwriters were aware of the problem.
Are you lonesome tonight,
do you miss me tonight?
Are you sorry we drifted apart?
Does your memory stray to a brighter sunny day
When I kissed you and called you sweetheart?
Do the chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare?
Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?
Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again?
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?
Beatles – Eleanor Rigby Lyrics:
Eleanor Rigby, picks up the rice
In the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face
That she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for
All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?