There is an ache for connection in the United States today. At a time when politics is more polarized, conversation is by text, families are more dispersed, and people are living longer alone, Americans find themselves lonely and lacking connection. In fact, in a nationwide survey by Cigna among 20,000 adults the results were startling:
- Only 53% report having meaningful, in-person social interactions daily!
- Nearly half report feeling alone (46%) or left out always or sometimes (47%).
- 54% say they feel that no one knows them well.
- 56% report they sometime or always felt like the people around them “are not necessarily with them.”
- And two in five felt that their relationships aren’t meaningful (43%) and they are isolated from others. (43%)
- One in five, (18%) report they do not have someone they feel like they can talk to.
The survey used the well documented UCLA Loneliness Scale where the scale ranges from 20 to 80. Those individuals scoring 43 and above were considered lonely. The survey found the average loneliness score in America is 44 with half viewing themselves as lonely. These results were consistent with BYU research which estimates between 20% and 43% of American report feeling lonely or socially isolated.
This isn’t just the “lonely old cat lady” issue. Younger generations are lonely and actually lonely at higher levels than older generations. Overall loneliness scores by generation highlights that all generations are affected:
- Gen Z loneliness score was 48.3
- Millennials loneliness score was 45.3
- Boomers scored 42.4
- Seniors scored 38.6
Clearly meaningful connection is needed, but if we don’t feel connected or know people, how do we start? A recent story in the New York Times, “Finding Female Friends Over 50 Can Be Hard. These Women Figured It Out,” featured the dilemma that single women of a certain age had meeting others like themselves. Whether moving to a new town, losing a spouse, or simply wanting to meet new people, individuals face the daunting challenge of creating new friends. The women’s solution in this article was to create easy opportunities to connect that made conversation and engagement possible but not mandatory. An opportunity to do something together created a shared moment upon which conversation could be built.
For us here at Amalgamated Amalgamations, this idea of shared moments as an opportunity to connect and converse has been fundamental to our own experience, a core building block that we have seen work over and over again. But those shared moments don’t usually happen by accident. They take a spark to begin. The reality is, it isn’t hard to arrange, but someone has to send that first email, text, or phone call that proposes a walk, a cup of coffee or a visit to the museum.
Our goal for this website is to create our own community of people with ideas and thoughts on creating and building these connections. We hope you will engage with us, try some of the suggested ideas, and offer your own thoughts and experiences. In return, we will post what we find that is working as well as the challenges that we face.
The Team from Amalgamated Amalgamations