About Loneliness

Loneliness is something I feel I am an authority on, at least as a layman. There are several reasons for that, some of which I will get into later. The topic of loneliness was brought to my attention again by the CBS Sunday Morning show I just watched. It said that almost half of us feel lonely much of the time, and as the quote below shows the more you are attached to social media the more likely you are to be lonely.

So, why would someone with 3,000 Facebook friends feel lonely? “One is this idea of social comparison,” said Dr. Primack. “People are able to take 300, 400 pictures of themselves and post that one that makes them look like they are that much more thin or that much more attractive or that much more successful. The impression from the outside can easily be on social media, ‘Wow, I can’t measure up with my very normal life.’

Source: CBS Sunday Morning

I have had that feeling about Facebook too. So many pages lead you to believe that you are the only one without an exciting life. I.E. you are the only one who is lonely. It is ironic that something tagged as “social media” is perhaps a primary cause for loneliness, especially among teenagers! They are one of the primary groups to have epidemic loneliness.

I have always been a loner, I was forty before I actually had my first serious relationship. I always used to say “Loneliness is being alone and not wanting to be.” I think that was a rationalization that helped me cope with the fact that I just couldn’t seem to seriously connect with those around me I’m still not very good at that, but at least, through life’s experiences, I have taken the edge off of it.

Of course, another source of my loneliness is being deaf. I’m sure that is the primary source for my particular brand of loneliness. I always say that I am not particularly lonely when I am by myself; I am the loneliest when I am in a group of people. I see all the interactions going on around me but don’t have a clue as to how to join in.

The third reason for my particular brand of loneliness is my wife. She is pretty much a recluse. She gets her joy from her daily activities and they don’t really include anyone but her. I love her and understand that is the way she is, particularly now that she is approaching eighty years.

So, with these three strikes, loneliness is a guaranteed part of my life. I think that is one of the reasons why I blog every day. I want the connection however trivial it might be. I cope pretty well with my loneliness but it looks like many, particularly those who are in earlier stages of life, aren’t doing as well.

Finishing off this post, I want to go back to the Sunday Morning show. We in the US are not the only ones who are lonely but we are likely the leader of the herd. Britain has deemed loneliness serious enough to warrant a Minister of Loneliness, whose job it is to find ways to combat it in their citizens. I don’t know about loneliness but I think we could do some really quick improvements in our country’s severe depression with a quick change in the Oval Office. It would help me beyond words.

My Battle With FaceBook

I suspect some of my readers remember that I have been having a battle with FaceBook. When I log in I get this long list of “Friend Recommendations” that are mostly very scantily clad young females with strange names. I used to “X” them out but that did no good, they would be back the next time I logged in.

I was considering just dropping Facebook but that is my only source for keeping up with some of my long ago friends. I complained to FaceBook on several occasions but never got a reply. And then I got an idea…

My profile describes me as a 70+-year-old male, what if I changed that? What I did was to now proclaim I am female and that worked! Within a couple of days the young undressed female friends recommendations stopped. Now I am getting mostly older fully clothed females as possible friends and all the ads on the right side of the page are for women’s shoes and such. If that is the price I must pay then so be it.

I know FaceBook is famous for selling their member database to anyone with enough money. I also know the erotica is big business. Maybe that is how it happened? Another possibility is that one of my current “friends” is an erotica buff with all those girls as part of his mammoth friends list. I did eliminate a few of my old high school classmates who are now MAGA folks as I was tired of their daily post about the great job their hero is doing.

Either way, I’m glad that won the battle. You can call me Ms. Walters if you want, I really don’t care 🙂

Explaining Our Times…

Ok, I admit that I have been retired from the workforce for almost two decades now, so aside from what I read I am pretty much ignorant of it. When I left the workforce the mantra was “Do more with less”. Many of my coworkers were being laid off and I was told that I had to do their jobs in addition to my own.  I couldn’t imagine a more stressful situation today.

When I came across this article by By Ruth Whippman in the New York Times it helped me to have more empathy for today’s middle-class workers.  Ms. Whippman is the author of “America the Anxious: Why Our Search for Happiness Is Driving Us Crazy and How to Find It for Real.” I think I will pick up an e-copy of her book to understand it more. Here are the snippets from the article I want to concentrate on:

In this cutthroat human marketplace, we are worth only as much as the sum of our metrics, so checking those metrics can become obsessive. What’s my Amazon ranking? How many likes? How many retweets? How many followers? (The word “followers” is in itself a clear indicator of something psychologically unhealthy going on — the standard term for the people we now spend the bulk of our time with sounds less like a functioning human relationship than the P.R. materials of the Branch Davidians.)…

This is the future, and research suggests that it’s a rat race that is already taking a severe toll on our psyches. A 2017 study suggests that this trend toward increasingly market-driven human interaction is making us paranoid, jittery, self-critical and judgmental.

Source: New York Times Nov 24, 2018

One of the two main points of this article is that more and more companies are outsourcing their work. They no longer employ their own workforce but instead contract it out. 

The second point is that our social media has become critical to our future success. We need to show that we are popular and influential in order to get that “perfect” job. If our “likes” aren’t high enough it will raise suspicion. Being told that finding that perfect job is now totally our responsibility. That alone is tons of pressure for so many young people.  It’s no wonder that the suicide rate among this young group is so high!

I’m going to stop here with this particular post. But I suspect that I will be revisiting this topic in more detail after I have read the author’s book.

I Don’t Have Many Friends — By Choice..

Maybe I should explain the title some more before I continue with the post.  Yes, because of my Aspie traits and my isolation as a deaf senior citizen I don’t have as many friends as I had when I was in the corporate world. That is a fact that can’t be denied but it is not the point of this post.

The point I am trying to make is that by Facebook standards my friends list is pretty abysmal.  I think at last count I had about 40 “friends”. Some of them I don’t “follow” because they post multiple times daily about the most mundane things in their life and even though I am a 24/7 senior I don’t have, or maybe I won’t take the time to even browse through those posts.  Of those 40 friends I think their average friend count is over 200.

2017-10-12_12-05-50.pngIt is not because I am not able to have more “friends”, Lord knows I get multiple requests weekly from people I have no idea who they are. Maybe they read a post here at RJsCorner and want me to know what they are doing?  But I suspect most of them found me when I made a comment on Facebook one place or another.  Their purpose for asking me is simply to increase their count so as to impress their friends.

I’m probably going to come off as an old fogie here but I think social media is a fad not worth following, at least to the degree that many do. We all say our days are so hectic that we have no time for family things. But then the stats show that people spend multiple hours daily interacting with social media.  Maybe it’s time for many to go cold turkey from social media for a few days to spend time on other things? Maybe its absence would show them that it doesn’t add much value to their lives?

Follow Me On Facebook or Feedly

Snippet Banner  2017-02-28_10-27-01A quick snippet here to give you a couple of different ways to follow my daily posts on RJsCorner. If you are a regular Facebook viewer you can now see my post there. Just click on the”Facebook Connect” block on the right edge of this post and hit the “Follow” button on the Facebook page.

If you use Feedly, another way to make it easier to read me is to put me on your Feedly list. It is a great app that I use daily.  Just copy the URL here and then go to Feedly search box and paste it there and then click “Search” and then “Follow” on the subsequent page.