Loneliness: The silent killer, and how to beat it | Richard Reeves & more

Loneliness: The silent killer, and how to beat it | Richard Reeves & more


  • Loneliness is a common emotion that can negatively impact health and well-being.
  • Loneliness has been on the rise since the 1950s, affecting 30-60% of people across all demographics.
  • Factors contributing to loneliness include increased mobility, decline in community involvement, and the digital revolution.
  • Loneliness has adverse effects on health, comparable to smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day, and can lead to rapid brain decline in older adults.
  • Investing in relationships and social connections, even casual encounters, can help combat loneliness.
  • Lonely individuals may need to learn social skills and revise negative assumptions about being unwanted.


  • There is a decline in close friendships, with fewer people having a confidant or someone to turn to in times of crisis.
  • Friendship is seen as a genuine and radical equality relationship, without dependency or transactional elements.
  • Factors hindering friendship formation include geographical mobility, increased parenting time, work emphasis, and relationship breakdowns.
  • Lack of friends can limit access to opportunities and have negative impacts on mental and physical health.
  • The number of young men without close friends has increased fivefold since the 1990s.
  • The pandemic has disproportionately affected women's friendships, as they tend to be more based on physical relationships.
  • Friendship is essential for human flourishing, but it requires effort and vulnerability to cultivate.
  • Admitting the desire for friendship and being open to it is a crucial step in making friends.

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