Being Alone May Kill You

By Nick Klopper

Loneliness is way too common. It is experienced by people of all places and of all ages, from people young and old. 

As those who have felt the twinge of pain of loneliness understands, it isn't fun. What most people do not know, however, is that being alone also has serious and wide ranging health consequences. In fact, one landmark study found that being alone can even be fatal.

The study went like this: several thousand people completed a health survey send out by a group of researchers. Among other things, these people answered questions about how much social support they had, such as whether they were single or married, belonged to a group, and how much interaction they had with friends.

The researchers organized the data and then followed up nine years later with the subjects. What they realized was shocking. Many more of the volunteers who were susceptible to being alone, those who reported weak social connections, had died during the nine year period.

It seemed that being alone did more than cause people to feel depressed. The researchers found that being alone can also significantly impact peoples’ health and well being, even to the length of being fatal.

More interesting still were types of social relationships that seemed the most critical. For men, it was marriage; for women it was contact with friends. In the study, two times as many single men had died than married men. Likewise, more than two times as many woman who were connected with friends had died, compared to those who were connected with friends.

For men, this suggests that developing romantic relationships is critically important. For woman, it is beginning close and meaningful friendships. With more seriousness than is comfortable, these can be said to be matters of life and death.

What is more, these results were seen over a period of time of nine years. Compared to a lifespan, that's not much time. It is likely that, over a lifespan, the significance of being alone would be evermore pronounced.

It’s important to make a note of is that this research does not mean everyone who lacks a social network will die, only that these two things were found to be related. But it is a shocking relationship nonetheless. It suggests that as well as being an disagreeable emotion, being alone can be hazardous and warrants being taken seriously. 

In light of this, it is important to take steps to thwart being alone. One of the best ways to learn how to improve communication skills, and to socialize and connect with others. 

Unfortunately, many people have difficulty with this. They feel self-conscious and have difficulty building relationships with others. 

However, this can be changed; you can learn the skills that required to connect with others. There are certain techniques with which developing a connection with people that comes easily and naturally.