Smile Speak Share joins forces with ‘Let’s End Loneliness’

We are delighted to announce that Smile Speak Share has joined forces with the ‘Let’s End Loneliness’ working group which is comprised of six Sydney-based organisations. Both groups have agreed to work together on addressing loneliness and building social connection in Australia.

Our first joint meeting, linking at least four cities across Australia, will be on Thursday 30 March 2017. We will have representatives from some twenty organisations – universities, not for profits, community and citizens groups – working together to develop an evidence-based strategy to demonstrably reduce the human, social and financial costs of loneliness in Australia.

Smile Speak Share is launched!

Friendship Project is delighted to announce that ‘Smile Speak Share A Positive Proposal to Address Loneliness’ is launched.

Following consideration of a discussion paper about the Smile Speak Share initiative a number of Australian researchers and five national charities have agreed to guide the work of the Friendship Project in developing evidence-based messages and community initiatives to address loneliness in Australia.

Have a look at the Smile Speak Share page for more details.

The changing nature of friendship

Following the death of her mother, Laura Kennedy wrote the following in an article called Coping:

I went back to my favourite philosophers who write in detail about friendship.  Aristotle’s Philia is about reciprocity and respect:  a mutually improving bond.

For Epicurus, friendship is a deeply meaningful source of security and connection.  At times, he advocates suffering for your friends and expecting the same in return.

Friendship offers security from the outside world.  It seems clear that, however you define friendship, it is necessarily a mutual bond between equals.  Loss has made me older and less tolerant.  My youthful tolerance of friendship on the other person’s terms is gone.  When you find yourself alone, the people who stick around do so by choice, and not by blood.

Those who remain even when you have nothing to offer but the weakest, most anaemic version of yourself are friends.  Friendship is hard to define, but we recognise it when we see it.

Published in The Irish Times, 1 June 2016, p14

The serious risks of loneliness

From the University of Chicago:
Once we see loneliness on the list of serious risk factors for illness and early death, right alongside smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise, that context should heighten our motivation to improve our level of social satisfaction, both as individuals and as a society.”

Cover of Loneliness

From “Loneliness” by John T Cacioppo & William Patrick, published by WW Norton & Co, in 2008, page 108.