It's especially deadly - and common - among the aging. There almost seems as if a witchdoctor has cast a spell on the isolated older members of a society.
But, the older professionals I coach, although lonely, often don't even try to enhance their social circle. Their attitude tends to be: I can't make the kinds of close friends I made in school and the first few jobs. So, why bother ...
Well, research proves out that the benefits of socializing when aging come even through casual relationships.
Those range from chatting a few minutes weekly with the neighbor next door to wishing happy birthday to the friend of a friend on Facebook. That's documented by John Medina in "Brain rules for aging well." Here the book can be ordered from Amazon.
Of course, Medina hammers how important socializing is. On page 16, he notes:
"Social interactions are like vitamins and minerals for aging brains, with ridiculously powerful implications. Even socializing over the Internet provides benefits."
Once the aging stop chasing intimacy, socializing becomes easy. After all, human beings are social animals. With the exception of the misanthropes, most welcome what I call Relationships Lite.
For example, we say a few sentences to the person who usually sits next to us on the commuter train from Greenwich, Connecticut to Grand Central in Manhattan. We leave it at that. No, we don't suggest the two of us share of drink before we board the train back to CT next Friday. That Relationship Lite is bound to remain intact. And, it will help keep the cognitive processes of the over-50 sharp.
However, it's not necessary to rule out the possibility that such connections could become close - just like the good old day of youth. The point is not to reach out aggressively.
Some who have been totally engrossed in work for decades might need coaching to re-learn the basics of emotional intelligence. For instance, when new to a group, hover on the perimeter, lay low. Move in gradually.
To get ready to try to bring more social interaction into a life, aging professionals might first have to shake off the demons which have taken over their souls. Here is a book, free, on how to identify and exorcise those monsters of the mind.
Until they are driven out, aging professionals protect themselves by turning inward. That's no place to be to be able to continue being mentally alert enough to attract and do full-time jobs, contract assignments, and client projects.
Contact Jane Genova firstname.lastname@example.org.