London may be the biggest city in the UK, and the most densely populated area in England, but have you ever stopped and thought just how much of a lonely place it can actually be?
The tube is the perfect place to observe the mannerisms and general day to day routine of most of the big smokes inhabitants. You can probably guess that over half of the passengers on board will be sat with earphones in, staring into space, their minds lost in another world, while the rest have their heads buried in the daily Evening Standard. Nobody talks, nobody socialises and everyone keeps themselves to themselves, which can sometimes feel very isolating to an outsider who has moved to the city.
London is a magnet for all kinds of people from all over the world. Students for one are attracted by the many prestigious educational institutions available here. Some move to train for a career, whereas other young people move in hope of finding a job once they’ve achieved their degrees from other universities.
“I moved 250 miles to go to university because I was so certain it was what I wanted.” Ella is a 21 year old LCC student that moved from her home in the north of England in 2010. “At first it was brilliant and I thought I had made a lot of friends, but it turned out I hadn’t. I found them all very fickle and quickly ended up alone in my room every night.” This sort of problem is common, but what can be done to combat the loneliness that haunts so many people living in the capital?
The key is to keep yourself occupied. Finding a hobby for yourself is a great way to suppress the feeling of loneliness – distracting your mind so that it’s not whirring over the fact that you’ve got absolutely no one around you can make the world of difference. Immersing yourself in a new activity, which in turn, will help you to form a brand new routine, can provide more structure to your life.
Having something to look forward to, even when you’re going alone, can make you feel better. In London, you’re never short of things to do either, so finding a hobby to suit you should be pretty easy. There are gyms around every corner, societies that can be joined and many other social clubs you can volunteer to become part of. Check for up and coming events on sites like Visit London or Time Out – this is one way to find some things you can become involved in.
One of the other things you can do, if you have the time, is to get a job. Ben, a 24 year old from Ealing did just that. “I wanted to get more involved so I got a job, and managed to socialise with the people I work with. A year on from me starting, I have a huge group of friends that I can hang out with every week.” Whether it be part time, or full time, a job somewhere in the city can be the perfect cure for lonely evenings and weekends.
If you’ve moved to the big city from a home further away, keeping in touch with those whom you have the closest ties with can also help. By talking to people, whether it be a family member or friends, you can often keep the feeling of loneliness at bay. Download Skype or Facetime so those who seem a million miles away, start to feel slightly closer.
Being alone and feeling lonely are two very different things and knowing you still have people there for you, regardless of how far away they are, can sometimes lift your spirits and give you the boost to go out and talk to new people.
by Adele Jones