The Loneliest Generation

You don’t need to hang out on the Internet for very long before you’re hit with another stereotype about millennials. They’re too soft and coddled, you might hear, as someone from an older generation says that these kids just need to grow up and take care of themselves. They’re too entitled, you might also hear, as some people might see these young professionals who demand to have everything served to them on a silver platter. The list goes on and on. But here’s another little snippet for you to consider.

One Is the Loneliest Number

According to a recent poll conducted by YouGov, millennials are the loneliest generation, at least among those they asked. Of millennials polled, 30 percent indicated that they “always” or “often” feel lonely. Compare that to 20 percent of Generation X and 15 percent of Baby Boomers. But it doesn’t stop there.

Among the millennials polled, 22 percent said they had zero friends, 30 percent said they had no best friends, and 27 percent said they had no close friends. It’s startling, on some level, considering that millennials are arguably the most connected generation (Generation Z was not included in this survey).

Between the ubiquitous of social media and the ease of online messaging, almost anyone in the world can be reached at any time. And yet, millennials feel lonely. Maybe they’re just entitled, right?

Forever Alone?

To this end, it’s important to make a critical distinction. Loneliness and being alone are not the same thing. If you choose to be by yourself, curled up with a good book under a tree, you are alone. But you are not lonely. To be lonely implies that you are sad because you have no friends or company. It’s the desire for genuine human interaction, not just a superficial exchange at a coffee shop or some shared quips on Twitter.

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If you haven’t figured it out by now, this problem of loneliness isn’t just one tackled by millennials or aging retirees. It’s a problem that is increasingly common among online entrepreneurs and bloggers, like those who wish to pursue the dot com lifestyle. Working from home, by yourself, can be a very isolating experience. You don’t get those everyday, happenstance exchanges at the water cooler or photocopy machine with your colleagues.

And because you don’t have a traditional schedule and there’s always something that can be done, you sometimes skip out on social engagements with friends because you want to finish that blog post or work on that affiliate marketing sales funnel. Hustle is good, in many ways, but it can leave you feeling alone too. And lonely.

Social Isolation and the Dot Com Lifestyle

Remember that “alone” and “loneliness” aren’t the same thing. If the most important people in your life don’t understand or appreciate what you’re trying to accomplish with your online business, you can feel incredibly lonely.

Even if your home office is rife with distractions, particularly if you have roommates or children, you can feel like it’s you against the world. It can be a maddening experience, especially if you don’t achieve some semblance of early success to keep spurring you on. You need that motivation.

Taken as a whole, millennials start more businesses than other generations. Part of this is due to circumstances, most assuredly, but also due to the accessibility of starting an online business. Or maybe millennials are just more entrepreneurial in spirit, though we also recognize that entrepreneurship can be an awfully lonely experience too. Blogging may seem like a social endeavor, but most of the time, you’re alone in front of the computer.

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Networking Solutions

This is why it’s so critically important that you connect with other like-minded people in your area who share similar types of ambitions. That’s why I started attending Dot Com Pho. That’s why John continues with a weekly Dot Com Lunch.

Even though you have all these grand goals and visions for what you want to do with your online business, you need the social interaction of a football game and food tour with a fellow blogger friend. Or maybe you need to organize a dad blogger camping trip, ironically away from the depths of omni-present Internet and technology.

On some level, yes, you’re in this Internet business alone. But on another level, you don’t have to be lonely.

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