You like the pictures of a friend’s wedding you weren’t invited to, gaze at pictures of someone else’s holiday on Instagram, chat on Twitter to someone you’ve never met – but can this ever be a substitute for the real thing – going to that wedding, being invited on that holiday, meeting that person on Twitter? If anything, social media compounds our sense of loneliness, because it invites inevitable – and often unfavourable – comparisons to the social lives of others. There seems to be a growing awareness of just how many of us are lonely – and the tech sector are creating solutions to rectify this very real problem.Dating apps have been around for a while, sure, but more recently the industry of friendship apps and websites has begun to boom.Interestingly – and rather counterintuitively – romantic relationships seem to be a massive culprit in this loneliness epidemic.People in their twenties and thirties tend to become fixated on finding ‘The One’ and dedicate a huge amount of time and energy to their partner.(Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images) As Suzie, 21 explained: “I see big groups of friends at uni in the bars or in the library or lounging around on the grass and I desperately, desperately want to join them – but I don’t.They’d probably think I was a stalker – or worse, desperate.” It makes sense – we are taught in our romantic endeavours not to seem to keen or “desperate” – so why would we treat making friends any differently?Children have no problem asking other children to be their friend, but this is a skill we seem to lose fairly rapidly in our teenage years.When you ask anyone from the age of fifteen onwards if they would actively seek out a friend or friendship group, most of them look at you like you’ve just asked if they would parade around naked in public.
They are diverse, bright and fun, cater for all needs and personalities – and young Britons flash the apps on their phones with pride.
Slideshow: Add These 7 Wellness Apps to Your Daily Self-Care Routine ASAP (Provided by POPSUGAR) Getting men and women in their twenties and thirties to talk about loneliness is quite an onerous task, as it seems to be something of a taboo – like admitting to alcoholism or an eating disorder – but the statistics tell a bleak story.
A survey from the Office for National Statistics says that “Britain is the loneliest capital of Europe.” It goes on to say “overall, Britons are less likely to have people they can turn to in a crisis or to feel close to neighbours.” On this last point, we came 26th out of 28 European countries – beating Denmark and France (but they scored higher in other areas.)One of the things you can infer from this poll, is that we are more insular and less connected to others than our European counterparts – a kind of modern version of the British stiff upper lip – and this seems to chime with a lot of adults I speak to.
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: A selection of online dating app logos are seen on a mobile phone screen on November 24, 2016 in London, England.
Following a number of deaths linked to the use of anonymous online dating apps, the police have warned users to be aware of the risks involved, following the growth in the scale of violence and sexual assaults linked to their use.