The Lonely Crowd: 40% Of Adults Go Days Without Face-To-Face Interaction

LONDON — In our hyper-connected world, it may seem like loneliness is a thing of the past. However, a new survey suggests that even in the midst of bustling social lives, many of us are struggling with profound feelings of isolation.

The research, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Zumba, polled 2,000 British adults and found that a staggering 40 percent have gone at least three days without a face-to-face conversation with another person. Even more surprising, 28 percent reported feeling lonely while at a social event, and a quarter have felt isolated at their workplace.

This “lonely in a crowd” phenomenon seems to hit young adults the hardest, with 60 percent of those between 18 and 24 reporting feelings of loneliness. Women were also more likely to feel this way than men (38% vs 30%).

So, what’s driving this epidemic of loneliness? Part of the problem may be our reluctance to open up about these feelings. Only 14 percent of respondents said they “often” talk to others about their loneliness, and 62 percent believe there is a stigma around the issue.

But keeping these emotions bottled up can take a serious toll. The study found that loneliness negatively impacts confidence, anxiety levels, and sleep for many people. Two in five (42%) said their sleep worsens when they feel lonely, and 29 percent see themselves as less attractive. Diet also takes a hit for three in 10 lonely individuals.

The good news is that there are steps we can take to combat these feelings. Forty-three percent of respondents believe that bonding with someone through a shared experience would make them feel less alone. A third said that being part of a community or group or achieving a personal accomplishment could help alleviate loneliness.

Office workers playing video game
43% believe that bonding with someone through a shared experience would make them feel less alone. (Photo credit: BYU)

This is where activities like group fitness classes can play a powerful role. Psychologist Anjula Mutanda, who partnered with Zumba for this study, echoes this sentiment.

“Human beings are by our very nature social beings and psychological research asserts that we need to belong, to relate to each other and feel connected to other people – this is how we survive and thrive,” Mutanda explains. “Therefore, feeling disconnected or cut-off from quality relationships with others, can negatively impact our mental and physical health – something which has been highlighted in the research.”

Mutanda offers some practical advice for those struggling with loneliness.

1. Develop an awareness of any unhelpful habits that you may have formed whenever you have felt lonely. For example, jot down when you notice a tendency to withdraw from others and isolate yourself – when all you actually want to do is to reach out.

2. When you sense a downward emotional spiral creeping up, do something different that will help you to shift how you feel instead of leaning into it. It could be as simple as texting a friend or going for a walk – engaging in one small step could help you to take control and start thinking and feeling more positively.

3. Disrupt familiar and well-practiced negative thoughts you may have developed over time. For example, wanting to join a dance class but preventing yourself from doing so for fear that that other people may judge you negatively. Those pesky negative automatic thoughts (NATS) can really prevent you from reconnecting with things you love.

4. Engage in new activities, as this can help you create a more positive mindset and form new habits. Start small by doing things such as volunteering to do the coffee run at work or actively engaging with colleagues. Or, in your free time, why not look for local events that you enjoy, like signing up for a fitness session or joining a film club.

5. Sometimes, you can feel so stuck or overwhelmed that the thought of trying anything new feels too scary, and that’s OK. If you are struggling, then now may be the time to get some professional support to help you get back on track. Make an appointment to talk to your doctor who can help you to find the best resources for you.

“Experiencing loneliness can come in different forms and is uniquely felt by each of us, which is why some people can feel disconnected in a crowd, or disconnected within their relationships; while others may experience feelings of loneliness when they move away from home, start a new job, or experience a bereavement,” says Mutanda. “It can also affect your confidence and leave you feeling too afraid or too embarrassed to tell someone how you actually feel, which could potentially lead to a downward spiral of “silent suffering” and can really take a toll on your wellbeing. The good news is that there are steps you can start to take to help you combat loneliness, such as taking part in physical exercise, and reach out to others for connection and support.”

So the next time you’re feeling the sting of loneliness, remember that you’re not alone in that feeling. More importantly, remember that there are always opportunities to reach out, connect, and remind yourself that you belong.

72Point writer Lucy Brimble contributed to this report.


      1. Church is the lonliest place around. You reach out only to get treated like garbage by the church lady clique.

    1. Article clearly not written by an introvert 🙄. Thinking statistically the 40% is the Covid introverts that decide to embrace their happy place! Lol

    1. Help your children get raped ? Get indoctrinated with cognitive dissonance ? Programmed with a script that is an inaccurate translation of a translation of a changed and re-written work of MAN ?
      ALL Religion is of MAN and is POISON !
      Spirituality is of ‘ God ‘ and is Divine !

  1. I would rather be alone than in the presence of bad company. I actually prefer solitude.

    Many in today’s society have seemingly gone unhinged, especially those who are ‘more connected’ via any form of technology.

    1. This right here…

      I listen to and read the nonsense on people’s social media and think,”this can’t be the mind of the same people I knew all those years ago”…
      People are so desperate to be what they are not and the internet allows them to be.

      I was just saying to my son last night I’m think I’m the only person in America that has never been on Twitter. Now I know that is not the case but, I am certainly a minority in this regard.

    2. Those techies for some reason imagine that they are hastening progress but as “Hutber”stated a long time ago—-Progress means deterioration –and he is being proved right.

  2. People need to get a hobby.
    I’m retired and many days, I stay home and work on several different hobbies. I own several motor vehicles and some days none of them get started or driven. That was the case on Easter Sunday. I saw no one except my wife and I would have been just fine being alone.
    I talked to no one on the phone and had no desire to do so. Socializing is overrated.

  3. Its funny people think this is bad, but when your Average person is an Idiot, whats the point of face to face interactions?

    Americans should consider No longer paying fed gov taxes since the fed gov is giving it to illegals and working to destroy the nation. Time to Bud Light the FED GOV.

    1. I never pay taxes because I am a Republican Patriot.
      Only fools pay taxes.
      Only fools enlist in the military.

      I prefer patriots who refuse to fight when their country tells them to.

    2. LOL, it’s funny how you start your comments then go full MAGA, I guess when you live in the company of idiots it is easy to identify them.

      Come back in December when Biden is reelected, I’d love to see how you are getting on…

  4. Sad that people are not social in real life anymore. I am one of this 40% since retiring. I try to meet people but most are not open. Online as a single person, I have only met men who are scammers. So its really sad to have worked and saved only to end up alone. Life is hopeless even if you have money. I’m working on my travel bucket list and the end is in sight.

  5. I don’t use my iphone much since I am 62 years old. If not for a class I take and needing to go to the hardware store for projects, I wouldn’t be talking to anyone either.

  6. I had a 6 year period I didn’t talk to anyone. I think of it as a happy time. I don’t get lonely. I find things to do. You don’t need other people to be happy.

  7. Meh I’m a natural introvert I have been in sales my whole life and I’m good at it but when I am off I don’t talk to or leave my house for days and I am totally happy. My G.F who lives in another state knows this and we have been together for over 20 years

  8. I’m a happy shut-in. People are terrible creatures and I’m very happy to stay away from all of them. Life is good when you stay far from them.

  9. I had 6 months with no human contact but I was in solitary confinement. It was nice.

  10. There is a Reason I live in a Log home 2 miles from pavement in a high mountain hollow . I go to town shopping Once a Month , and thats More than enough people for me . I LOVE my Solitude , doing what I want , when I want , the Way I want . People Suck .

    1. And yet you feel a need to make multiple (kind of sadly odd) comments on a internet site of strangers. Seems like you might need people. We all do.

  11. Sadly I like to think, I thought things out, ” I was very wrong”.
    As people age, the kids move away, your relatives die, your army friends go silent or pass. I never thought at 64 I would be alone. Soulmate passed 6 yrs ago. My face to face is the grocery store or the barber, so maybe once a week.

    1. Probably in a lower % here. I’m a recluse. Been almost 9 years since face to face interaction with anyone outside immediate family. I’m a farmer. Live on the family property and I pay rent.

      Wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to traverse outside and start working the property. Agoraphobia….or at least that’s how counselors want to designate it – as well as a plethora of anxieties.

      For the record I’m 46 and I’ve been living in self isolation the last 24 years. Society has a way of making those who are different feel like crap…and sometimes when words don’t teach em, people will lash out and make your life a living hell.

      Me? Let’s just say there’s a reason why I refuse to be touched by anyone any more. I never did like being touched growing up, but after what happened, it fully manifested. I’ve been touched 3 times the last 24 years. All by doctors when I felt the absolute need for help with one thing or another.

      I have a system in place to barter with my neighbors. Most are Amish and are as outgoing as I am, lol. While I can kill animals for food, I honestly don’t have it in me to butcher em. They get a portion, I get a portion for my freezers. It works for me.

      Believe it or not, you can turn loneliness off for a while. Longest I’ve gone without feeling it is just over 5 years. Depression plays a factor in feeling it.

      And yes, also have phone anxiety so don’t even think of mentioning phone calls. I haven’t been able to do those In Any Way 4 years now. I would say that phone anxiety has completely taken over now.

      I live in a state/mentality that I don’t wish on anyone. There are fewer pro’s to living like this than the cons.

  12. Well, Boonie Rat, do you talk to the nice people who are happy to serve you at the grocery store?
    Or have even they made you so bitter?

  13. As a worker who has transitioned to home office, since pandemic, my life has evolved to interactions via fiber optic. I live in a very rural area so I do spend time outdoors hiking and visiting surrounding nature. I like the fact that I can work nontraditional hours, .. however, after reading this article, I realize my only face to face interaction this past month has been greeting the associate at the self check out aisle .. and I was wearing a mask whilst shopping. The previous month was similar but I did additionally chat with my dental hygienist. …. it’s all good. I’m ok.

  14. Article clearly not written by an introvert 🙄. Thinking statistically the 40% is the Covid introverts that decided to embrace their happy place! Lol

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