Real People’s Opinions: Loneliness in Cities

“I moved to Cardiff last September as a 26 year old who had a nice comfortable life at home surrounded by friends, acquaintances and family. Moving into a flat on my own brought massive challenges in the deficiency of day to day human interaction.The initial period of time I spent here was the loneliest time of my entire life. I have never felt anything like it, the feeling of being in a city surrounded by people but with absolutely no connections, no one who gives a toss if you’re alive or dead. I found myself relishing in the small interactions with shop keepers, making conversations with old ladies in charity shops and so on. Luckily Cardiff is a friendly place. I realised that without people to communicate with, without friends, colleagues, people that know you, you begin to feel that part of your identity is lost, like there is no reference point. I could go on for ages about this, if you want to ask me anything about it please feel free. Now that I’m past the agonising lonely feeling, I can look at it pragmatically and I see it as an interesting experience which has ultimately broadened my knowledge of myself and my world.”

– Fellow Art Student Studying in Cardiff

“Humans were used to living communally in big groups, with well established, long standing relationships with people. Modern society has created urban hubs where people are crammed together but have to act like strangers to each other, because that’s their funny way of coping with being around so many people who have no established relationships and communities. So strangely you can be surrounded by many but feel alone, because people keep to themselves, and are suspicious of strangers. Ever see that people are so much more friendly and helpful in small towns than in big cities? I have. People avoid eye contact on public transport because that’s social protocol, but wouldn’t it be nice if you can freely chat to anyone on the bus and it’s not considered weird?”

– User: Ninglet: Response on Yahoo Answers

“Being lonely in a city is like being stranded in the middle of the sea, surrounded by water but with nothing to drink.”

– Family Member, recalling a quote they had heard

” I live in London. Its full of people yet so empty.. Empty because there is no community or spirit, people are suspicious & distrustful of each other. If I smile at somebody they give me a bad look,if I say good morning they grunt back! Whats happened here?Maybe because its a multicultural society? I’ve been to other parts of UK & people greet each other on the street no matter if they know each other or don’t. That’s what I love to see!”

– User: Xena23 commenting on an online forum

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