Loneliness and what we can do about it

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The first open Loneliness Workshop, held by Eden Project Communities and supported by Oxford Hub and the CAG Project, took place on Wednesday 19 October.

The session was a great success, and created some really insightful discussion around how we can understand loneliness in ourselves and others, and how we can help to create a comfortable space in which to talk about it and reach out to those experiencing or at risk of loneliness.

 Some of the key discussion points were:

  • Loneliness can best be described as a mismatch between the relationships we have and the relationships we want.
  • It is a biological alarm bell which tells us to seek social interaction, in the way that hunger and pain are warnings which prompt specific behaviour.
  • Reaching out to others doesn’t have to mean taking on responsibility, and there are many simple ways we can help normalise the kind of behaviour which supports everyone to address loneliness in their own lives, including finding and sharing common experiences (e.g. the classic British pastime of commenting on the weather) and asking closed questions (e.g. what’s your dog’s name?) before more open questions (e.g. how is your day going?).

 If you’re interested in attending or organising future workshops or events around the themes of understanding and talking about loneliness, email Peter at plefort@edenproject.com and read this recent article about the need to approach the subject from a human perspective.