Loneliness: Coping With the Gap Where Friends Used to Be by Olivia Laing
by Olivia Laing
July 18, 2021
Friendships can be difficult, and lockdowns have made them even harder to maintain. But we should cherish them
Almost every day for the past few months, I’ve told my husband I am lonely. Obviously I’m glad that he’s around.
What I miss are my friends. In the first lockdown, we stayed in touch with Zoom dates, which were awkward, often drunk and occasionally very joyful.
Those days are long gone. I’ve returned to texting, and though I’m often deep in four or five conversations at once, it isn’t the same as being together.
In the past year, there was a difficult bereavement in my family, and work has been harder than normal. None of these things are unique or insurmountable but the isolation has left me feeling almost capsized by anxiety and paranoia.
…But a lack of friends is a growing problem, in Britain and America alike. A (Link): recent study, conducted by the American Enterprise Institute, suggests that the proportion of people who can name six close friends has dropped from 55% to 27% since the 1990s, while people who have no close friends at all had risen from 3% to 12%.