Pause for a moment to take stock of your family and friends. Do you think that anyone you know is lonely? Did you know that you are probably right?
Social isolation isn't good for us - numerous studies have shown that people need connections. And, as if that wasn't enough, people who are lonely are seen negatively by new acquaintances. It's hard to make new friends to alleviate your loneliness if every new person you meet has a negative view of you because you are lonely.
Researchers wanted to know if people (generally speaking) were able to even tell if the individuals they were close to were lonely. The good news is that we can: Even when someone is pretending to feel socially connected, if you have a close enough relationship with the person, you can see through the clutter and detect the true feelings.
What do they mean by close enough relationship? Well, romantic partners tend to detect more emotional nuances than friends, for example, and parents who talk with their children often tend to score better than some friendships. So, it's all a matter of degrees.
If, at the beginning of this post, you identified someone you know as being a little lonely, you are probably correct. Maybe you should drop them a line.
Who do you reach out to for company when you are feeling a little lonely? Tell me in the comments.