feeling alone connected
Advances in technology has made our lives more convenient, easier, and more connected. If that’s the case, why are we so easily and quickly distracted by our devices? Why are we less productive, spending hours scrolling through our social media feeds? It seems like there’s a strange phenomenon happening these days. We’re becoming more disconnected in a world more connected than ever.

How technology helps us connect

Don’t get it the wrong way, we’re not saying technology is a bad thing. It’s great that we can connect with loved ones far away and stay updated with their lives. We can even see each other on screens from miles (even oceans) away. It’s great to know you’ll always find your way with a navigation app. People are even meeting their significant others through the internet. Technology is even connecting us together right now as you read this article (hi there!). We have immediate access to so much information, more than ever. There’s definitely a lot of good that comes out of technology, no doubt about that.

So it’s not technology we’re apprehensive about; it’s the way we allow ourselves to be affected by it. We’re letting it take us places we don’t want to go.

How technology changes our social behaviour

While standing in line at the checkout, we feel the urge to reach into our pocket and look at our phone. We’re checking our Facebook and Instagram while we’re at work; maybe even in a meeting. Families have breakfast together, but don’t even talk to one another. A group of friends can sit together with each person’s face glued to their phone. We’ve become so accustomed to not being together when we’re together.

We remove ourselves from reality, from the present moment, and go into our phones. This matters because it changes the way we relate to each other, but also how we relate to ourselves and our capacity for self-reflection. We’re learning how to be alone together. We want to be with each other, but also elsewhere.

We go in and out of the moment we’re actually living because what we prefer is controlling where we put our attention. We only want to pay attention to the parts that interest us. This makes us constantly disconnected from each other even when we’re “connecting.” We can’t get enough of each other, but only if we can have one another at a distance, in amounts we can control.

The fear of being alone

This is a problem for teenagers who need to develop face to face relationships. They don’t know how to have a conversation. Their attention spans are short. People rather text, post, or email because they’re able to edit what they say or respond when they feel like it. When we have conversations in real time, we can’t edit, and we need to respond immediately. A conversation can make people anxious now.

It’s the same anxiety we feel when we’re alone. Because we’re so “connected,” the second we are alone, we reach for a device. We can’t be alone anymore. To the point, people are on phones at stoplights or sitting in their room. Call it boredom or whatever you want, it comes down to the inability to sit in solitude. Solitude is important for us as humans. This is how we collect ourselves and build as individuals, how we learn who we are. If we can’t handle being with ourselves for periods of time, we struggle with knowing who we truly are. Being alone is what helps us to appreciate and know what we have when we are connecting with others.

Why do we feel so lonely?

This is why people are increasing lonely in a time when we’re most “connected.” We’re hiding ourselves from others when we’re together. We’re isolating ourselves and creating a distance from people and present moment by removing ourselves and diving into our phones. It’s instant gratification, yet it’s not a deep rich connection.

There’s a difference to being alone and feeling lonely. Because we’ve become addicted to the shallow, immediate, and controlled connection we have with our devices, we’re experiencing more loneliness even when we’re not alone – but especially, when we are alone.

What to do when you’re feeling alone

The solution to all this, isn’t to remove technology from your lives or going phoneless. We need to be more aware of how we’re using technology, how it affects us, and the feelings we experience with and without it. We need to be present and connect with our relationships in real time. We need to raise our children to have richer engaging lives full of genuine experiences.

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Do you struggle with feelings of loneliness?

Get in touch with a trained medical professional who will help you feel more connected.

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