So why do I suddenly feel lonely? Is it because of all the uncertainty around coronavirus?

People sometimes ask me to socialize, but I’ve always been a bit of a loner.

That makes sense. I think that choosing to spend time with oneself and being forced to spend time alone (or with just family members) during a quarantine are entirely different. And the coronavirus is a lot for any of us to carry alone. It’s good to have a few friends who can help us process what’s happening and how we’re feeling.

There are many studies showing the importance of social connection. One of my favorites is one in which researchers had two groups of students carrying weighted backpacks stand at the base of a hill. One group of students had to stand alone and estimate the steepness of the climb. The other group was also asked to estimate the steepness, but these students were allowed to stand next to a friend. Students standing with a friend estimated the climb to be less steep than those who had to estimate it alone. Furthermore, the longer participants knew their friends, the less steep they perceived the climb to be.

Having friends beside us changes our perception of the situation and helps us feel more competent. Consider reaching out to those people who wanted to get together in the past. While you can’t see them in person, you can show you’re open to friendship in an email. As the research shows, friendship is good for us in many ways–and it’s never too late to make a new friend.

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