In a recent article in slate.com, author Jessica Olien states that “Loneliness is a serious health risk. Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely.”
“The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking. And loneliness is about twice as dangerous as obesity.”
Even though it might seem a thing of less importance because you have many friends online, she says “All of our Internet interactions aren’t helping and may be making loneliness worse. A recent study of Facebook users found that the amount of time you spend on the social network is inversely related to how happy you feel throughout the day.”
The percentage of lonely people are rising, “Loneliness has doubled: 40 percent of adults in two recent surveys said they were lonely, up from 20 percent in the 1980s.”
“In terms of human interactions, the number of people we know is not the best measure. In order to be socially satisfied, we don’t need all that many people. According to Cacioppo the key is in the quality, not the quantity of those people. We just need several on whom we can depend and who depend on us in return.”
“As a culture we obsess over strategies to prevent obesity. We provide resources to help people quit smoking. But I have never had a doctor ask me how much meaningful social interaction I am getting. Even if a doctor did ask, it is not as though there is a prescription for meaningful social interaction.”
So, go out and meet some friends. Now you have a medical reason to interact with people you don’t like. Think of it like medicine, it may taste bad but it is good for you maybe eventually you will like it.