So it’s Friday night and you’re enjoying a moment of me-time—sitting in front of the TV watching re-runs of Sex and the City, your hands deep in a bag of pita chips, and crumbs tumbling from your T-shirt. A (perhaps) very rare moment of I-don’t-have-to-answer-to-anything-or-anyone. In a pause between episodes, you log onto Facebook, and images of partying friends clinking champagne glasses flash before you. Suddenly, you’re not feeling so fine about your alone time. Why weren’t you invited to this festive night?
It’s the paradox of social media—the more time we connect to Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, the more alone we feel, as illusions of other people’s happiness only underscore our state of solitude and feelings of disconnectedness. Though physical isolation can be a good idea for self-reflection and other introspective activities, it’s not always accompanied by the empty feelings of loneliness. Though oft-times it is, and studies have shown that it’s a strong predictor of alcoholism, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle, among other detrimental conditions. “Technology celebrates connectedness, but encourages retreat,” says Jonathan Safron Foer in a New York Times article. ” 'We are living in an isolation that would have been unimaginable to our ancestors, and yet we have never been more accessible,” reflects Stephen Marche in the Atlantic.
We as singles especially need to keep our loneliness in check. When we’re sensing the need for interaction, it’s too easy to log on and hide behind our computers, smart phones or tablets for an immediate but perhaps brief and dissatisfying exchange. So step outside the digital box, and do as we do at It’s Just Lunch. It’s no secret: No wall posting, “like,” or retweet can substitute a genuine encounter.