Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Loneliness of Singlehood

You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have eyes to see” Mother Teresa profoundly remarks in this video (at about 2:20). She explains that, “Material poverty you can always satisfy with material. The unwanted, the unloved, the uncared, the forgotten, the lonely: this is much greater poverty” (at 4:15).
There are many that are unwanted in the US and other First World countries: the handicapped, the elderly, the 123 IVF babies aborted just because they had Down syndrome. However, there is another group of people that are particularly at risk for loneliness and constitute the fastest growing household type in the United States: single people under 65 years.
Lack of community and social interaction is bad for our health, as many studies show. “Joining and participating in one group cuts in half your odds of dying next year” — yet trends over the last 25 years have shown a 58% drop in attending club meetings, a 43% drop in family dinners and a 35% drop in having friends over, as Prof. Robert Putnam has written in his book, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.
The Stanford News Service’s Kenneth M. Dixon writes, “The world is more connected than ever before, but people spend less time in person with those they care about. With regards to social interactions, quantity has replaced quality.” I wonder, Is this disconnectedness also linked to the growing number of single people? Is it not only more difficult to form stable, long-lasting friendships, as it is more difficult to date and get married?

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