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.