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It’s Time to Be Alone and Lonely No More

By Noelle Nelson July 21, 2023 Lifestyle

“Social Connectivity” is science-language for a simple and obvious experience, that of connecting with others. We humans are, like it or not, fundamentally social creatures. Even introverts, such as myself, need to interact with others – just not at the pace or in the quantity enjoyed by extraverts.

The Health Risks of Loneliness

In fact, social connectivity is so important to our health and well-being, that without it, we languish. We don’t do well at all. Research shows that lonely patients experience a four times greater risk for hospital readmission within a year of discharge. Not only that, but feeling lonely is associated with twice the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, studies show that socially isolated seniors have a 64 percent increased risk of developing clinical dementia (of which Alzheimer’s is a specific type), as well as a 32 percent increased risk of stroke and 29 percent increased risk of coronary artery disease. Not to mention that social isolation also tends to result in more emergency room visits, hospitalizations and nursing home placements.

Not a pretty picture. All engendered by the lack of connecting with others, which considering how many of us inhabit the planet, surely can be overcome now that we are allowed, for the most part, to again meet and greet in person.

Take advantage of the rebound effect of the pandemic’s ending. Many of us, forced into solitude by virtue of Covid restrictions, have recognized just how important social connectivity is to our day-to-day well-being, and are now yearning to connect with others.

This is a prime time to find activities or hobbies done in concert with other people. The stigma or shame that can sometimes be associated with feeling lonely, or being alone, has – at least for now – vanished. We all have been alone and lonely this past year.

This does not mean it’s time to find a new spouse/partner, or re-connect on a deeper level with your current mate, although certainly both can be wonderful options. Social connectivity has to do with connecting beyond one’s mate or immediate family, to that “family” that exists outside your own.

Finding Ways to Connect

There are umpteen opportunities to connect with others: book clubs, walking groups, art classes, music groups, gyms, tennis groups, dance classes, bridge clubs and more. Whatever your interests or inclinations, there is bound to be a group or class that caters to them. Plus, the added bonus of the Internet provides easy ways to find what might appeal to you.

Volunteering is another terrific way to connect. It could be volunteering at an animal shelter, tutoring young ones at a local school, or lending a hand at a nearby hospital or homeless shelter. In addition to connecting with others, volunteering has the added benefit of supporting your health and longevity.

Look for opportunities to connect that aren’t “one-shot deals.” For example, running a marathon is a fantastic adventure and certainly involves many others, but training for it can be an individual effort – unless you team up with a group of people happy to train together.

Don’t shy away from what may appear to be unusual or unique opportunities to connect. For example, Ann and Al Hill, (now 80 and 81, respectively) spent the last 32 years fostering some 100 teenage girls, an undertaking they embarked on once their own two daughters were out of the family nest.

Between the girls themselves, their schools, sports, doctor visits, hobbies and assorted young friends, I doubt there was ever a moment that Ann or Al felt socially isolated, much less lonely. Granted, few of us would be up to the task, yet to Ann and Al, providing hearth, home and guidance to young girls in need was the most natural thing to do for this caring, compassionate couple.

Be brave. Be willing to step out into our new post-Covid world and join with like-minded people in whatever endeavor pleases you. Not only will your health and longevity benefit, but you’ll be contributing to the well-being of others, even as you tend to your own.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What new hobbies or activities have you taken up now that the world is slowly getting back to normal? How are you seeing the world now that you’re beginning to go out again? What have you done to reconnect with others? Do you believe our appreciation to be with others is permanent or fleeting?

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Ruth Cardoso

My problem is I’m an extrovert but can’t find a friend. I am involved in several ‘social’ activities and even started a FB women’s group in my community coming out of the pandemic when everyone felt a need to get out. But – with all the women I know ‘of a certain age’ 50s and up, everyone has their lives and friends. We are more of acquaintances who meet for a specific event or purpose – which is fine – but I leave and go home feeling lonely. Part of the problem for me, that I created is that I have been in 4 long-term relationships, a couple of marriages and always participated with ‘his’ friends and family – while my own dropped off one by one – big mistake and one many women, I believe, make. Now married and happy, his family and friends are all out of the country. He’s an introvert and quite happy as a home body after work. He’ll ‘go’ to a social event with me but just basically doesn’t talk to anyone – but back to ME. How do I try to develop a close friendship with women my age at this stage of the game? I think many women are getting together as groups or to volunteer but most I’ve found already have their long time friend groups and circles. It is a source of sadness for me as my parents and siblings have all passed and our son is busy doing his life, as he should be.


I amin a similar situation as yourself and can relate to a lot of what you said.
my husband of nearly 50 years is content with what he’s got but is very introverted.
over the years I’ve been the one who made friends but due to his extreme introvertness the friends fall away as I get told he’s too quite and doesn’t engage he’s not rude.
I get frustrated because although he’s happy with his lot I feel very lonely
i go to the gym, play sport but as you say loniness of a good friendship is proving to be very hard


I’m introverted and must be on the extreme end of it as I never get lonely. I keep hearing about the health risks of living alone, but after my last boyfriend 25 years ago (I’m 64) I’ve never been happier. Any time I spend more than a couple hours socializing with people or family, I get sick or at least extremely tired. Cold sores, headaches, fatigue are inevitable. That can’t be healthy. It’s not easy to do everything by myself, but it was excruciating to tend to my boyfriends. None understood my need for some private time, and I was working myself to the bone, more than I do on my own. So, IMO, socializing is not for everyone.


Thank you for this validation of “lone wolves”, although we know now that wolves are extremely together in their socialization. Where’d this phrase come from anyway?? Tending to men, as women of many generations were trained to do, can be exhausting and depleting, especially if it is an expectation, which it very often is, (often to the detriment of the man as well- after all , he was brought up with this expectaion too and it can be crippling. I’ve seen this up close with my brothers, not to mention boyfriends and a husband. Edith Bunker personified this hand-and-foot routine to Archie’s expectations and entitlements, not to mention Alice on the “Honeymooners”, all the way back to Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew”. I understand… To quote Bob Dylan and switch genders) ” that ( is so crazy, I’m not going to touch another one for years”. Every decade (of age) has its challenges; other generations (especially of women) were also trained not to talk about about their frustration or became “shrews” or just faded into the backgroud, not to even mention the b____ , a word, abused and misused esp. in the North American language, don’t start me on TV scripts of even today,where that really disrespectful demeaning word is normalized and used as a weapon against women, in my opinion. It’s a word that needs to be gone from the language, as have other poisonous words like nymphomaniac and its ilk. )

Well, you got me on a diatribe. Thank you. Your reply helped get my thoughts in order and challenged me to express some of them. As another song goes.”…work your fingers to the bone, what do you get, bony fingers.” :)


100% agree! Socializing drains me, and I crave alone time. I have a cold sore right now that started when I learned that family was coming to visit. I love them, but it is exhausting.


I really get what you’re saying Charlene, as I am exactly the same with socialising, even with family.
I only discovered this year that there are online groups you can join for introverts! (free)
It helps just to vent and know you’re not alone.

The Author

Dr. Noelle Nelson is a psychologist, consultant and speaker. She is passionate about personal growth and happiness. She’s authored over a dozen books including The Longevity Secret: How to Live Happy, Healthy & Vibrant Into Your 70s, 80s, 90s and Beyond and Phoenix Rising: Surviving Catastrophic Loss: Fires, Floods, Hurricanes and Tornadoes. Visit her at

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