As a Millennial, I grew up in the generation where I watched typewriters, faxes, landlines with cords, and pagers slowly become extinct. I watched where people would queue up for hours to get their hands on huge handphones without colour. Where “snake” was one of the most popular handphone games. I played games on DOS and used CD-ROMs, Walkman, and Gameboys. I used to write letters to my friends, Christmas cards, and call my friends on the phone every single day. I’d go to their houses, spend time with them in person.
Now, we live in a time where everyone’s eyes are glued on screens. Where many don’t know how to hold a conversation with others. Where everyone’s reply to how are you is “busy”. When you ask a friend out, they might reply you days later saying “Oh sorry I was busy”. We spend hours scrolling through our phones, watching videos of others, looking at Instagram photos, looking through Facebook’s feed, looking through LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat. We feel lonely, we feel empty, we have a desire to connect. However, getting off our couches, getting out of the house feels, calling a friend, feels like too much work or we “just don’t have the time”.
Social media and online communities have evolved from MSN, Friendster, ICQ, IRC, to Facebook, Reddit, Discord, TikTok, Instagram. They all share something in common, they all act as a tool for people to connect. However, this tool that helps us connect drives us further and further away from others.
How many of you don’t go out with friends because you worry about not having anything to talk about?
How many of you are texting someone else or scrolling through social media even when you are out with your friends?
How many of you actually call your friends on the phone?
How many of you have used dating apps, the person seemed interesting through text, but after meeting, you are so bored?
Our screens have helped us put a layer of protection between us and reality. We are allowed to hide behind our screens, allowed to assume an identity that we are so afraid others might see. It has led to many feeling distant from others, feeling lonely.
Several posts that I’ve seen on the internet making jokes about loneliness all of them having many likes and many comments along the same line of “that’s so me” or that they can relate to it.
Tips from a psychologist in Singapore on how to deal with loneliness
If you feel lonely, try getting off social media, text a friend, make an appointment, or call someone who you have not called in a long time. If that doesn’t work, think about when you were younger, when life was simpler back then, what were some activities that you enjoyed doing then but have not done for a long time?
As quoted by Leo Tolstoy: “There is only one time that is important – now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary person is the one with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with anyone else: and the most important affair is to do that person good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life”
Be present and focus on the person that you’re with, right here, right now.
Till next time!