You should try first dates with me. I found that on date 1, I was saying let’s talk about death and loneliness. Let’s talk about how we’re all going to die and isn’t loneliness amazing and isn’t loneliness this thing that I’m fascinated by because we are so afraid of it… It’s with us all the time. People are so terrified of this abyss of loneliness, when it’s something beautiful within us.”

Marieke Hardy loves talking about loneliness on her first dates, which prompted me to think about how those things connect.

Loneliness is something that a lot of people suffer from. We’re scared of it, and we’ll do anything to get away from it, including really long, bad marriages. There’s a fundamental need to for people to connect and basically feel less lonely.

Marieke also mentions that people can feel lonely even within relationships, which are often thought of as a solution.

Usually we think of a good relationship as a safe, fun place to be yourself with someone else, who sees you, and you see them.

What can be tricky, is trying to show that real self, online of offline.

I think this applies for all kinds of relationships, friends, lovers, business partners.

You just want to be seen, and see them.

Take expats for example. I’m an Australian expat living in the States. I’ve been over here for a few years, but my experience is still fresh enough (and tough enough), that I would love to meet people going through the same thing. I love (most of the time) meeting Australians who work over here, and hearing their stories, helping them and sharing that connection.

Right now there’s a few options to meet people who share very similar life stories (eg. grew up with foster parents, grew up in Indonesia and now work in London, queer and served in military). Friends. Digital groups, meetups.

These work, and are a good starting point. We’re definitely getting better at matching.

One idea might be a network where you can join a group anonymously. But the groups are a bit more vulnerable than just generic topics, subreddits or groups you might see online. Maybe they are more like statements you agree about, or want to talk about.

I’m not happy in San Francisco.”

This is a statement you would probably never see on a dating profile, unless reworded in a way that signals intelligence, or total ignorance to basic social rules. But it’s also a sentiment that I think many would agree with. The question is, would you admit it in public to strangers. And would you even want to date strangers who are also not happy. Maybe not.

I work in tech, but I’m not a techie.”

This is a bit more neutral. This is a story that says, I make money I’m smart, I’m interested in solving big problems, but I don’t have an engineer personality.. I want to have a discussion about art, not algorithms.

So how do you get involved with that statement?

Maybe it’s anonymous.

Now it’s just sounding like Reddit!

And that’s never going to solve loneliness.

September 2, 2019

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