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Yes, but if everyone's (supposedly) lonely, why don't everyone's incentives align in their quest to be less lonely? That was the rhetorical question I expressed.

Sexism, discrimination, bullying -- there are no aligned incentives on opposite sides of these, by definition, so no expectation whatsoever that they'd be self-correcting.

Because the process of becoming "less lonely" is time-consuming and sometimes downright uncomfortable, and success isn't even guaranteed. Friendship is what happens when you enjoy each other's company.

If 20 lonely people are sitting in a room, no one's going to stand up and say, "Hey, I bet a lot of us are lonely. Why don't we hang out together?" Even though they're right that everyone is lonely, what are the chances they'll all get along? Or maybe one person goes around to the 19 others and individually asks each one to be friends. The success rate on that is going to be rather low, and it'd take a lot of time.

Your rhetorical question is misguided because it presumes that loneliness implies an already existing effort ("quest") to be less lonely. I think it's safe to say that most lonely people have no idea how to go about being less lonely (and if they do have an idea, it's daunting to them).

Admitting being lonely is a social taboo in most situations - it's perceived as failure. While many people feel it, few are willing to seek help.

> "While many people feel it"

There's a useful distinction to be made between lonely and just being alone. Alone is the state of not having anyone else close to you in that moment, lonely is a negative emotion that comes from being alone.

It's quite possible to enjoy being alone, I know I do, my mind is much freer to wander, and I sure I'm not the only person that feels this way. As Byron put it...

"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more"

There's also a style of alone that can be very enjoyable, which isn't so widely commented on, and that's to be part of the hustle and bustle of a big city, with lots of human activity around you, but where you're only involved as a passive observer. Buses are good for getting in this state, as is exploring a city by foot (even better in a country where you don't speak the language), but really it's a mindset that's available anytime.

Being alone when you have an obvious choice not to be is nice. I can usually choose to phone up a handful of friends, or make it out to the hackspace, and be almost sure to meet someone. Being alone and not having that opportunity sucks, on the other hand.

Obligation can suck the fun out of anything. That includes feeling obligated to interact, as well as feeling obligated to not interact.

That said, if someone wants to overcome loneliness, it's possible for them to make their own opportunities to interact. Finding people with shared interests is easier than ever, now that we have the Internet.

So it's essentially the prisoners dilemma. Two persons must admit they are lonely for mutual benefit but nobody dare to do it first in fear of being the only one being perceived as failure.

Because evolution.

After 30 you are dead to your genes. The machinery that drives you before then expires, and you have to find another way.

It's pretty hard.

Well, it'd be nice if you backed that "After 30 you are dead to your genes" with something more scientific. Because it does not make sense, really. Menopause is still some 20 years away, and even then there's evolutionary advantage of living, to provide to your offsprings and offsprings of your offsprings (hence why women live longer than men, even after menopause), see [1]. If anything, you're very much alive to your genes at your thirties, only that genes require you to focus not as much on you finding a mate. By this age, your genes assume, you have found a mate and probably have procreated at least once. So the focus shifts to providing for your progenies, and social aspects, such as "friends" ("potential ways to get laid" for your genes), naturally, wane. So you're right about that part, that it's probably evolutionary predisposition to make friends at younger age to find a mate; having said that, I have reasonable suspicion, though, that your statement "After 30 you are dead to your genes" is grossly incorrect, though.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandmother_hypothesis

Dunno, I'm pretty sure people are still having sex and babies after 30...

Which doesn't really change genetic factors based on some hundreds of thousands of years of evolution predisposing people towards early (15-25) child bearing.

Those take much more than the entire recorded human history to change...

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