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How social media has helped me feel less lonely during lockdown

Georgie, 17, shares how she turned to social media when she was feeling lonely during lockdown, and how talking to new people about a shared passion helped her feel less alone.

As someone who struggles with social anxiety, lockdown seemed more like a blessing than anything else in the beginning! For the first couple of weeks, I was enjoying having more time to myself without the expectation of going out and meeting people, or spending hours in school. I felt less drained at the end of the day, and it gave me an opportunity to catch up on time with my family, because normally after a whole day at school I was too tired to hold a proper conversation with them. However, when the two weeks turned into two months, I realised how much I had been missing my friends.

As my friends would definitely tell you, I used to be (and still am to an extent) notorious for being a bad texter. It can take me ages to reply, and sometimes I forget to reply completely. This hadn’t really been an issue before lockdown, because I would see my school friends in person, but when that stopped, I ended up losing contact with some of them. Looking back now, I wish that I had been better at replying to people. I think that I definitely lost friendships that I would have kept if we hadn’t gone into lockdown, purely due to a lack of communication. I do regret the way that I handled some of my friendships during lockdown, as I don’t speak to most of the people I was friends with before lockdown anymore.

When the two weeks turned into two months, I realised how much I had been missing my friends.

However, I did manage to turn my loneliness around by trying to engage with new people online. I decided to step out of my comfort zone a bit, and try to put myself out there on platforms such as Twitter and Twitch. I’ve been on social media for about four years, but this summer in lockdown was the first time I’ve ever really used it properly. There are upsides and downsides to social media, but it helped me to stop feeling so lonely.

I’m a big Formula 1 fan, and there is a large community of other F1 fans my age on platforms such as Twitter. As well as this, some of the drivers started streaming on Twitch, which gave me an opportunity to meet people on there as well. The Twitch streams were also good, because you can see the person streaming and interact with them, as well as other people in the chat. Having other people to talk to about something I enjoy really made me feel less lonely during a time that I was probably at my lowest.

There are upsides and downsides to social media, but it helped me to stop feeling so lonely.

Twitter is known for being a platform mostly for people to share their opinions on any sort of issue. However, for me it became a place where I met people who are now some of my closest friends. I feel like there is less pressure in conversations on Twitter, because I am talking to people who share my exact interests and enjoy talking about things that I also enjoy talking about. I’d always been a little bit scared of social media, but the people I met online over lockdown all made me feel welcome and a part of their groups and friendships.

Although lockdown has proved difficult, I’m grateful for the people I’ve met online over the past couple of months. Although at one point I was very lonely, I managed to overcome my fear of conversation and social media, and become friends with new people who make me feel welcome and appreciated. It’s very important to stay safe on social media, and you should consider carefully any personal information you share and who you are sharing it with. But if you are safe and responsible, you can talk to people who help you to feel less lonely at a time where loneliness has been a major issue for many people, including myself.

 

Author: Georgie, 17

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