Lost in a strange city
Nowhere to turn
Far cry from the streets that
I came from
It can get lonely
When youre travelling hard
But you can even be lonely
Standing in your own back yard
Verse 1 from Van Morrison’s, The meaning of Loneliness.
Does this sound familiar to you?
So you’ve just moved to the hectic hubbub that is London, the ‘Big Smoke’ – the UK’s capital and Europe sixth largest city. Welcome to a city of well over 7 million inhabitants; (9 million if you also count the commuters from the peripheries) jostling and angrily charged, shooting daggers at each other during the rush hour tube dash or being bad tempered, anti-social and aggravated charging down Oxford Street. This is the London you notice when you first arrive. And this is the London which remains permanently for a third of its population; it’s hardly surprising that many Londoners feel lonely and isolated, especially if hailing from elsewhere. According to the BBC, Londoners are the loneliest in the UK with a massive 33% of the inhabitants feeling cut off from the rest of the city and feeling they have no one there for them, feeling cut off from the rest of the city.
And it really doesn’t have to be like that; Londoners are not intrinsically nasty or aggressive; they just want to get from A to B, as if teleportation has been invented, and they want to get there yesterday! If you get the chance to break down the barriers you’ll find most to be just the same as you.
Why is London a lonely city?
There are a large number of separate factors which contribute to make London a lonely city, or at least difficult to meet new friends, here are but a few:
A city on the move, constantly…
When you think about it, if you are not a naturalised Londoner you’ll most probably only know a very small amount of people, if any. The chances are, the only the people you’ll meet are work colleagues or people who go to your university. Or maybe just the odd few you’ll never actually meet from a plethora of online sites you no longer visit. And, if you’re lucky, perhaps you may have a few existing friends, or even family members, to help you build a base of brand new base of friends. Chances are you most probably don’t have any major secure ties here.
According to Rob Hof, Bloomsberg Business week, “In London, we find many Meetup groups exist, but people hardly ever show up to a real meetup.” This is about to change, when you make friends through new2london.com!
London has a fast moving transient population; what happens if you meet friends who decide to leave to London? Then you may meet somebody else who also decides to move – causing you feelings of frustration and loneliness, especially when you feel you have invested a great deal of time and emotion into a friendship and they just up and leave, leaving you alone in big city. In London people come and go constantly, it’s the nature of the city.
And, don’t expect to be able to walk into a pub or bar and meet new friends, like you can in smaller cities or towns – that just doesn’t happen in London really. People who frequent a certain pub at one day may not ever go to that pub again and the bar staff will not be as accommodating as you’d expect; you have to go a long way to find a ‘local’ pub in London.
Single occupancy dwellings
According to National Statistics, 2008, 41% of social renters and 30% of private renters in the UK are living on their own. Furthermore, one person households are projected to increase by 163,000 per year – that’s 2/3 of the yearly increase on all UK households. In London, the number of people living by themselves is much higher; for example, one of the cities more affluent boroughs, Kensington and Chelsea is also, concordantly, the UK’s loneliest, in this respect, with a huge 48.3%. And, what’s more, the number is going to increase; in the next 20 years 4 out of 10 homes in the UK will be single residencies. And going by this evidence, we can expect London to get much lonelier.
If indeed, you are lucky to have real friends or family members in London, take note of where they live for example, if you know people living in Harrow but you live in Hackney don’t expect to see them much; that journey takes over an hour and if you take into account that some tube lines are closed down at weekends, making the journey even longer, you’ll only get to see them on the occasional weekend. What are you going to do for the rest of the time?
According to the late spiritual visionary, Mother Teresa; “The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”
Regardless of wealth, many new 2 Londoners stay in their apartments playing their X-boxes without any meaningful interaction, beyond that of work colleagues. Does this sound similar? For most, I’m sure it does – London isn’t the most sociable place in the world, we have muggings and thefts, just like any other city, but mix in a large spoonful of needing to get somewhere fast, a drop of people only in London for the money and you’ve got yourself a very lonely city. And it’s not going to get any better. You may be lucky to have come to London for university and so know loads of people. But what happens when everyone starts leaving to go abroad or to other cities for work?
According to Google trends London is the world’s 6th loneliest city – based on number of users searching for the term ‘lonely’, so as you can see it’s a big problem but what is loneliness and why is it potentially dangerous?
According to Mental Health Foundation;
“Major changes, such as moving home or country can trigger loneliness. Many people feel lonely because they feel isolated and cut off.
Loneliness is actually a common experience. In many cases, loneliness passes. But it can last for a long time and in this situation, it is not unusual to feel trapped or unsure of what to do to connect with people again. People who are very lonely may find meeting others difficult and daunting.
People who experience chronic loneliness include those with mental health problems. Living with a mental illness such as depression, anxiety or bi-polar can result in a person withdrawing from social situations and relationships.”
You may think, ‘never mind’ or ‘it’ll be ok, I’ll probably meet some new friends soon’ but you’ll soon find out that feeling a little bit secluded and isolated will lead to loneliness which can lead to depression and even suicide; according to London Health Observatory, in the period from 2002-4, “Inner London had a significantly higher rate that the England average, due to significantly higher rates in Camden and Islington.”
If you start getting feelings of loneliness, you need to get out and get some friends – this is hard, you may not have the time or maybe you prefer to use the internet or you may just be new to London and not nowhere to begin finding new friends, regardless of your situation, we know the question you want the answer to the question, what is the easiest, most effective and most rewarding way to meet likeminded people? New2london.net is the only worthwhile internet meet up service.