London is a pretty amazing city with many things going for it. Whether it’s the history and rich cultural pickings, the amazing architecture, fashion, street culture or music, London as a destination takes some beating. For tourists and visitors alike, the city is overflowing with exciting attractions and things to see. But what about actually living in London full time? With a population of over eight million, inhabitants of London could be forgiven for feeling a little lost and lonely sometimes.
The issue of loneliness in big cities is a social problem that continues to haunt these large, densely packed communities. Surveys conducted in 2012 revealed that around a quarter of London residents felt lonely or alone a lot of the time. This striking and very sad statistic highlights all that is bad about city living. There’s a cruel irony to feeling so totally isolated in a vibrant and exciting place with so much to offer.
It’s not just a social problem; loneliness can have a worse impact on health than smoking, according to the World Health Organisation.
The good news is that there is plenty out there in London to help lonely people re-connect. If loneliness is something that affects you, why not consider trying out one of the following ways of meeting like-minded people, for sharing a laugh and a chat with others and feeling happier and better about the world?
London has lots of attractions to visit.
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Human beings are social creatures, there's no denying it. Even when someone says they are not a 'people person' it doesn't mean they function well without the warmth provided by friends and family. Those who suffer from loneliness often suffer from depression too – and when you feel depressed, making the effort to go out and interact with others can be a tough ask. But it is possible; often the thought of doing it is much more difficult than the actual task itself. So be kind to yourself and give yourself a gentle push in the right direction. Who knows what wonderful new friendships could be waiting?
Offering your services as a volunteer is a great way of meeting new people. Whether working with the homeless, aged people, disabled children, in adult literacy, animal rescue or environmental projects, an extra pair of helping hands is always welcome. Go online to find out more about what is required in your local area – the nearer you are to home, the more likely you are to meet people you can socialise with regularly.
Those who enjoy sport should join a club to meet like-minded friends. In London, social netball leagues are a great way of regularly hooking up with people in a relaxed and fun environment. With the emphasis being more on fun than fitness, a great time is guaranteed, win or lose. Social netball in London allows people to meet but also compete in leagues which meet in many parts of London, north and south of the river.
Recognising the high numbers of single people in London, there are plenty of organised events to pull them all together. It could be a French film night, a historic walk through Whitechapel, a night viewing at Tate Modern or a pub crawl in Maritime Greenwich – singles nights are a popular and effective way of meeting new friends, they are not specifically about finding romance, the focus is more on findings pals. Again, search online for details of such organised events.
London is a massive city.
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A 2012 survey said that 25 per cent of Londoners did not know their neighbours. Make an effort to reduce this shocking statistic by introducing yourself to your next door neighbours. You might not hit it off, then again, you might. What have you got to lose? The simple act of reaching out in the spirit of friendship will have a positive effect on your own self-esteem – and who knows, you may also cheer up your neighbour!
Finally, walk around your local patch and check out the noticeboards at the community centre, the cards in newsagents, go to the gym and the library, anywhere that local people use to congregate and communicate. This way you may find information about local clubs, groups and societies that meet in the area – who knows, there may be something that sounds right up your street. Meeting new groups of people may feel a bit daunting but the reality is such that these types of organisation love to welcome new blood into their midst, to share a mutual enthusiasm or passion.
Don't endure loneliness, make London your friend and start reaching out to all the wonderful people and places to be found in this big city.
Image credits: JohnGoode and davidhc