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Patricia Lauria

Friends for Good has been spending time talking to people on the streets of Melbourne about loneliness.

We thought that we may find people suspicious of our motives, especially that we might be trying to sell something, and yes we did encounter this from a few people, but they were in the minority. We are not sure whether it was the venue we chose, outside the State Library is known for people taking a break, reading and contemplating, the sunny day or our friendly faces. However, most people were interested in talking to us, a couple were moved to tears at the notion of speaking about loneliness, some were even willing to be filmed talking about their views and experiences. So courageous.

Much of what people had to say mirrored the research.

They felt that big cities were alienating, people often didn’t take the time out to look after their friends, loneliness was hard to overcome and some people felt lonely every day.

The lessons for Friends for Good on this day were that people want, and some need, to talk about loneliness. The people most affected by it right now find it hard to speak about but were interested in our approach to providing a safe space to find out more. Most importantly though it was overwhelming to think about the size and scale of the problem. If on one sunny afternoon we found a bunch of people in one spot, on one street, in one city, this problem is endemic and we need to keep working on it.

Join the conversation on social media, it’s #TimeWeTalked about loneliness