We Need To Talk About What It Means To Build Real Friendships versus Digital Connections

No friends or online communities are not an option

Claudia Brose
4 min readMay 26, 2022


photo © Chang Duong on Unsplash

Loneliness makes you sick.

Humans are wired to connect. That’s why social media is so enticing. An easy, quick, yet non-committal, way to connect with others.

Digital media channels and platforms are built on this human need for connectivity. Like with all the advertising, we fall for it.

Yet we wonder why there are so many people today who feel alone after all. According to a study (from 2018) by the American health insurance company Cigna, 47% of Americans feel “lonely,” in the sense that they have no meaningful personal interaction in their daily lives.

The value of real, human connections

Among the factors that make the various groups of “oldest people” (centenarians) in five regions of the world (Five Blue Zones) live to be so old is being integrated into a community. This can be family, friends, or a local, athletic, or religious community.

Feeling a sense of belonging to a community, sharing, receiving and giving attention contributes to a healthy and happier life.

Or, put another way, loneliness makes you sick.

We lost our sense of belonging

In medical science “loneliness” is considered an illness. A study by Brigham Young University shows that loneliness shortens life by fifteen years.

Over the decades, loneliness has increased as more people today are getting divorced, they are having fewer children (affecting the Baby Boomer generation), and changes in work more and different work opportunities (mobility, freelancing, etc.) are leading to a growing number of people living alone in Generation Z (born between 1997–2012) and among Millennials (born 1981–1996).

However, with the freedom we have gained to create our lives as we see fit, we have lost a sense of belonging. And that doesn’t exactly help to grow circles of friends or stick with a certain sports or hobby community.

Leave your comfort zone, talk to strangers



Claudia Brose

Writer, Event-Creator, Marketing Professional turned Rebel against a rushed world | Japan mad | Cyclist | #Self-Awareness #Lifestyle #Mindset | claudiabrose.com