Loneliness is a universal experience. Fact. We’ve all felt it and we’ve all tried to combat it one way or another in our lives. A new survey by Peanut, the networking app targeted at Women, suggests it is through such online social discovery apps, loneliness can perhaps be best fought back against.
Even though we all experience it to a degree one way or another in life, there is still a huge stigma about talking about loneliness, and mental health issues in a wider context. In the survey 95 per cent of the 5,000 women questioned said they experienced loneliness, and 89 per cent said they would like more close friends.
Peanut is aimed at helping women through all stages of their lives. There’s no doubt, it’s not as easy as when you are a child to make friends. Many of us had a structure to our lives that made it almost impossible not to, whether it was play groups, sports or school. Those situations are not as forthcoming in later life, and making meaningful connections in real life can be tough, time-consuming and daunting.
That’s why social discovery apps, such as Peanut can be very powerful. For a start, they can feel like a safer space to experiment and put yourself out there. It’s not clear in real life when you are at the school gates, or bump into a neighbor, what other adults in your life are looking for. Many of us, rightly or wrongly, hate to feel a burden or are scared of rejection. Transitioning acquaintance into friend can be an awkward dance for many.
However, when you find like minded friends on social discovery apps, it’s very clear you are there for the same things – to make connections. The structure of it can allow you to drop your guard. The online nature can also provide security in what people are willing to share and speak about. While some would really struggle to open up about issues to family members, health professionals, or casual friends they see down the shop – friends made through social discovery and networking apps can be easier to share life’s problems with.
The stigma around mental health needs to go, but so does any residual stigma about friends made online compared to those made in real life. Such friendships and connections can be equally meaningful, powerful and transformative to people’s lives. Friendship and human connection isn’t what keeps us alive, but it is what makes being alive worth it. Apps and services that help foster that are powerful and should be embraced.