One of the most common misconceptions about loneliness is that it goes away as we add more people to our lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, many people that I know have 100’s of “friends” on Facebook. They may even live with someone else. But, they still feel lonely.
How can this possibly be the case? How can we be surrounded by other people and still feel lonely? The answer is simple.
Loneliness is not a lack of interaction – it is a lack of intimacy.
To be clear, I’m not talking about intimacy in a sensual sense. I’m talking about intimacy in a broader sense. We want people in our lives who care about us and understand us.
In this way, Soren Kierkegaard was correct when he said that “Loneliness is the want of intimacy.”
Understanding this distinction is critical to fighting loneliness after 60 for a few reasons. First, it is easy to feel like something is wrong with you when you are surrounded by people but still feel lonely. I promise that this is not the case. Second, focusing on superficial interactions, like posting on Facebook, may be fun, but, it also takes time and attention away from other activities.
So, if you want to find happiness and companionship in your 60s, stop looking for it in the wrong places. Pursue your passions. Find activities to do with like-minded people. Most of all, learn to be intimate with yourself and others.
Ask the tough questions and embrace everything that life after 60 has to offer.
Do you agree with Soren Kierkegaard that “Loneliness is the want of intimacy?” Why or why not? Do you think that services like Facebook and Twitter help or hurt people when they are feeling lonely? Why? Please join the discussion below.