• Woman lying on bed with pair of sunglasses

Weekend loneliness is a real and common problem

Britain has been called the loneliness capital of Europe. More of us live alone than ever before, and for many, the stretch of time between clocking off on a Friday evening and returning to work on Monday morning can be the hardest to endure.

A busy working week can mask the symptoms of loneliness, as jobs and after-office meet-ups get us through the Monday to Friday. But come the weekend, fewer friends and relatives – particularly those with families of their own – may be available for social occasions, and the hours can stretch out in front of us without meaningful conversation or human connection.

When The Guardian newspaper put out its call for weekend loneliness sufferers to share their stories, there were responses from every corner of the world, from teenagers right through to octogenarians, and between them a deluge of examples of the unique kind of pain that weekend loneliness can bring about.

“In the week, I am a contented, fulfilled person. At the weekend, I feel like a lonely outcast. It’s unsaid – but it’s like they’ve closed the doors to me. Weekends are for couples. It would be unheard of to invite me to a dinner party, because I’m single. I wake up on a Saturday and feel down. It’s a struggle to pull myself out of bed if I have nothing planned.” 

Liz, 41, speaking to The Guardian newspaper


One theme that’s common to weekend loneliness sufferers is that they feel less content or able to spend time alone on the weekend. So, for example, someone who wouldn’t think twice about going for a walk alone and stopping off in a coffee shop in the middle of the week – and enjoying it, would hate the idea of doing the same thing on a Sunday, believing themselves to be the ‘odd one out’. Psychologsts call this ‘the looking-glass self’, whereby we have two personas, the weekday self that’s busy, happy and confident, and the weekend one who feels outcast, vulnerable and self-conscious.

The problem of course is that this can become a vicious circle. The less you engage, the less confident you become at engaging, and over time you withdraw more and more, turning your feelings of loneliness into a habit.


TIPS FOR OVERCOMING WEEKEND LONELINESS

  • Don’t be afraid to share your feelings of loneliness – it’s nothing to be ashamed of and the chances are, the friend or relative you’re talking to will be able to empathise.
  • Accept invitations and let friends know you’re available – when you’re known as a person who says "yes" to spontaneous invites, chances are more will come rolling in. 
  • Map out your social circle on a piece of paper. You might be surprised how far it extends and it could give you some ideas for how to plug the weekend gaps in your leisure time.
  • Use social media to search for local groups and meetups you could try out around your interests, such as talks and debates, walking, or books and sports clubs. Don’t be put off if the first one or even the first dozen don’t feel right for you – one will eventually. 
  • Voluntary organisations often have a shortage of people able or willing to donate their time over weekends. 
  • As you find your weekends filling up, be sure to find pockets of alone time where you can truly cherish solitude and its benefits.


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Author: Rebecca

Rebecca lives in London with her husband, daughter and dachshund. She hopes her dating blogs for Flame Introductions will inspire you to seek out the best London and UK locations for brilliant dates, and discover some tips along the way to help you find your perfect partner.

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