A measure of connection

The survey below is based on a university-designed questionnaire.  As well as contributing to our research, it also provides a “loneliness score”, based on how you experience your personal connections.  Your “Connection Inventory”

Please know that the score or “points” are a signpost for further reflection, not a diagnosis or judgment.

Select “Done” once you’ve finished, and your “points” (and a %) will be displayed. Match it against the boxes further down the page, and you’ll find some thoughts and ideas for reflection.

The final questions allows you to choose for your result to be included, anonymously, in our research to understand how the population is feeling.

A note on loneliness

Loneliness is subjective, and it can be defined as “the gap between the connection you need and the connection you experience”.  You may not identify the gap as “loneliness” and really the label doesn’t matter, it’s the feelings of discomfort that we care about. You may feel anger or frustration rather than sadness or emptiness.

That discomfort can be compared to hunger or thirst*.  It’s a signal to pay attention and close the gap.  We do this through self-compassion and by improving our connections with others.  The sooner we can attend to early signs, the easier it is to deal with.

And fostering our connections with others, especially small acts of kindness, will help us all.

That discomfort can be compared to hunger or thirst*.  It’s a signal to pay attention to and improve our connection with others.  The sooner we can attend to early signs, the easier it is to deal with. 

And fostering our connections with others, especially small acts of kindness, will help us all.

Understanding your results

Select the tab that corresponds to your score. 

(If you’re doing this on your phone, scroll down and select)

You’ll find some ideas and questions for reflection. 

Do they resonate for you?

Involvement in this kind of research may have an adverse impact if you are struggling. 

If you are worried about your mental health, wellbeing or ability to cope, here are some useful links:
https://www.mind.org.uk/
https://giveusashout.org
https://www.samaritans.org/

Strong Connections

Your points would indicate that loneliness is something you are unlikely to experience.  Do you agree?

If you don’t feel that reflects how you see yourself, please take a look at the other boxes and see which has a better match.

Loneliness is subjective, and it can be defined as “the gap between the connection you need and the connection you experience”.

Security of connection isn’t one-dimensional. It’s likely you feel you have a close confident (who may be your intimate partner), a group of friends you trust and you’re probably part of a larger community or network.  It’s also likely you feel a strong sense of self-knowledge coupled with self-compassion.

Have you always been this way, something you’ve worked on, or has it eased over time?

And how do you feel about reaching out to someone that may feel lonely?

It’s counter-intuitive, but those who feel especially lonely are inclined to isolate themselves further. It’s a cruel twist of evolution which has yet to catch up with modern life.  It was safer for pre-historic human, if separated from their tribe, to hide away so they didn’t get killed by a predator or other tribe.  

Reaching out to someone in a genuine way e.g. “how are you doing?  I miss you” “not heard from you in a while, what’s up?” is very helpful.  Active Listening skills may be useful as you provide that sympathetic ear.

Do you have a practical task they can help you with?  Helping out benefits our self-worth so asking a friend for help could really make a difference to them (you both benefit!).

Rarely disconnected

Your points would indicate that most of the time you feel connected to others although you may, from time to time, feel you’re missing certain connections.  Do you agree?

Loneliness is subjective, and it can be defined as “the gap between the connection you need and the connection you experience”.  You may not identify the gap as “loneliness” and in a sense the label doesn’t matter, it’s the feeling of (or lack of) connection that counts.

If you don’t feel that reflects how you see yourself, please do take a look at the other boxes and see which has a better match.

Security of connection isn’t one-dimensional. You may have a close confident (often your intimate partner), a group of friends you trust and maybe you are part of a larger community or network too (such as your walking club or yoga group).  The human species requires some level of connection across all three so occasionally you may feel a gap against one of them.

The amount connection we need is influenced by our level of self-knowledge and self-compassion.  Personal development, including counselling, can help increase those levels.

In those occasional times when you feel lonely, how do you get yourself out of that place? 

Is there anything you might do differently to reduce the frequency of feeling disconnected?

Did you know helping others increases our feeling of connection?

Do you have a project you could involve others in? Acts of service have been proven to be the most affective way to increase connection and reduce loneliness. You may feel cheeky asking for the help, but those who are the loneliest find it the hardest to reach out and helping you could have a real, positive impact on their wellbeing.

Sometimes disconnected

Your points would indicate that you sometimes feel disconnected from others.  Do you agree?

Loneliness is subjective, and it can be defined as “the gap between the connection you need and the connection you experience” and can manifest as anger or frustration as well as sadness or emptiness.

If you don’t feel this section reflects how you see yourself, please do take a look at the other boxes and see which has a better match.

In those times when you are feeling that gap in connection:

– Are you missing an intimate partner or friend?
– Do you feel like you don’t have a close group of friends you trust?
– Would you like to belong to a group that shares a common interest?

Loneliness isn’t one-dimensional.  You can have a great marriage but still feel lonely if you are missing a group of friends or wish you belonged to a club or society.

Once you identify where you feel the gap in connection,  you can begin to make changes to close the gap.

It can be complex.  An example may be when we seem to have a great group of friends.  If it feels inconsistent, one-sided or draining the friendships may need some re-evaluation.

Sometimes the gap in connection has its roots in how we feel about ourselves, our level of self-knowledge and self-compassion.  Counselling can really help understand ourselves and our relationships so that we can reduce the gap.

Making more of the dimensions where you do feel connected can help to improve your overall wellbeing in the meantime.  This may be more time with you partner, seeing more of good friends, or getting more involved in your local group / club. 

Did you know helping others, even small acts of kindness, increases our feeling of connection?

And what if I told you acts of service such as helping a local charity, club or group that you are passionate about is proven to be the best way to deal with loneliness?

Frequently disconnected

Your points would indicate that you feel disconnected from others all or most of the time.  Do you agree? It can manifest as anger or frustration, as well as sadness or emptiness.

If you don’t feel that reflects how you see yourself, please do take a look at the other boxes and see which has a better match.

If you do agree, I am so sorry you feel so disconnected.  Please know you are worthy of connection, friendship and love.

If you’re missing a close confident / intimate partner, don’t have a group of friends you trust and/or lack connection to a larger community or network this can have a profound effect. 

If I tell you it’s a fundamental signal, like thirst and hunger*, to pay attention to and improve our connection with others, does it alter your perspective in any way?

I know reaching out can be the hardest thing.  It’s a cruel twist of human evolution.  The pre-historic part of our brain is programmed to hide away when we’re separated from our tribe, in case of predators or enemies.

And what if I told you that helping someone else, even the smallest every-day kindness, is one of the best things you can do to feel better?

What are you passionate about? How about helping out at your nature reserve, local church, football club, charity or other good cause ? It could give you purpose and these acts of service are proven to be the most successful way to improve your feelings of connection.

Counselling may be a starting place too, and if it feels right we would love to hear from you.  You can book just 10 minutes to see what it might be like and you can choose ongoing appointments to be by phone or face to face.

Love, Michelle

Credits

The questions were originally written by Professor Daniel W. Russell in his 1996 research.

John Caciopo was a leader in the field of research *this phrase was borrowed from his work

Your anonymity

Your responses are submitted anonymously to Survey Monkey and there is no way to trace it back to you.