The Hawk's Eye

The Lonely Hearts Club

A Guide to Enjoying Life All by Your Lonesome

Andrea Shehi and Kaytlin Willis

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We’ve all had this experience: you’re by yourself, just minding your own business, when you see it- a couple. They might be your friends; they might be strangers. Despite the circumstances, they exist. They’re being affectionate: holding hands, sitting on each other’s laps, hugging, or worse- kissing. Suddenly, you realize there’s no one for you to be cute with. You’re not the only one who feels the sharp pain of loneliness.

Freshman Assata Wilkinson spends her Valentine’s Day watching Hulu and eating ramen noodles. Wilkinson said she is generally happy, but grows irritated hearing about all her friends’ couple plans. All the chocolate and teddy bears can make you feel left out. Wilkinson believes Valentine’s Day should not be solely about couples, but about family and friends as well.

Freshman Tony Faulkner also believes Valentine’s Day should be about having fun with family and friends. Faulkner has had his share of bad Valentine’s day experiences. Although he does not like or dislike the holiday, he believes everyone deserves the feeling of being appreciated.

“Because on Valentine’s day, when you get a Valentine’s note, it’s like being appreciated that you’re there,” Faulkner said.

So, what causes feelings of loneliness? School counselor Whitney Schmale said social media plays a major part in this. Seeing everyone posting pictures with their significant other could make you feel alone or left out.

“Social media makes [romantic relationships] more public because you can broadcast it to everyone,” Schmale said. Staying off social media can help avoid such broadcasts.

School Psychologist Abigeal Gaghen seconded this. She said “yes, I feel like social media plays a big part in how teenagers feel. Comparing self with peers can cause individuals to feel bad about themselves. Because it is so easy to find out what is going on socially, or what peers are doing, it’s easy to feel excluded.”

Causes of loneliness can range from low self-esteem or self-confidence to the quality of personal relationships and social connections.

Gaghen said Valentine’s Day- a holiday focused on [romantic] relationships-  can cause people to feel lonelier. She says the key to dealing with loneliness is to distract yourself; by spending time with family and friends or joining a club or activity.

Public displays of affection (PDA) play a key factor, in terms of broadcasting how intimate your relationship is to everyone, according to Schmale. She mentioned administrators have stopped the practice of sending passes to students to allow them to pick up Valentine’s gifts from the office. However, the discontinuation of this act does not prevent people from making grand gestures such as signs, gifts, or engaging in physical PDA. It was the volume of these distractions that caused the administration to take action.

Numerous studies on the relation of Valentine’s Day and loneliness have been conducted.  According to Dr. William Glasser, creator of the Reality Therapy method, everyone has a set amount of love they need to feel content.

“Love is a genetic need built into the human genome,” said Glasser.

Research done by Bella DePaulo at the University of California shows couples who spend more time exclusively with their partner tend to be prone to mental health problems. DePaulo, a member of the Council on Contemporary Families, also noted single people become more self-confident and experience more personal growth.

Emma Seppala, PH.D says writing yourself a note, as if a friend was complimenting you, can have benefits. These benefits include increased motivation, willpower, and emotional intelligence, as well as decreased stress, anxiety, and depression.

 

Andrea Shehi // Staff Writer

Kaytlin Willis // Staff Writer

About the Writers
Andrea Shehi, Managing Editor
Andrea Shehi, a sophomore, returns for her second year with The Hawks’ Eye. While she is a member of the Lady Hawks Swim & Dive team, her heart belongs to her violin, which she has been playing since she was three.
Kaytlin Willis, Staff Writer
Kaytlin Willis is new to the staff this year.
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