No More Lonely Friends, the viral internet community helping people to make their internet friends into real ones, could soon be bringing their picnic meetups to the UK.
Indeed, after 18 months of restrictions, many of which prohibited socialising outside of your household, levels of loneliness in the UK increased dramatically, with the Office for National Statistics reporting that 7.2% of the adult population said that they felt lonely “often” or “always” during the pandemic.
A lack of in-person contact undoubtedly meant that existing friendships didn’t last lockdown, and it’s been much harder to make new ones. As such, throughout lockdown many turned to the internet – be it Zoom quizzes or friendship apps like Bumble BFF – to help foster connections.
New Yorker Marissa Meizz was one of them. Meizz, 23, went viral on TikTok after organising picnic meetups via the app for people who felt disconnected from their friendships.
As reported by The New York Times, Meizz posted a TikTok in June telling everyone looking for new friends to meet at Central Park on a Saturday. The video went viral and over 200 people showed up, which led to over eight hours of socialising.
That one event sparked the creation of the No More Lonely Friends community by Meizz, and has led to meet-ups across the US in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia and elsewhere.
As their website explains,“No More Lonely Friends is a movement that celebrates friendship in a safe space. We create connections that encourage people to foster friendships that lift them up, rather than tear them down.”
And, in what seems like good news for the UK, Meizz has plans to take the meetups worldwide as the community continues to grow, telling the New York Times that she hopes to expand internationally when the pandemic eases.
“I think we will begin to see much more of a connection between people as lockdown continues to ease,” agrees neuro-linguistic programming coach Rebecca Lockwood. “Kindness and human connection is certainly something that has been heightened since the lockdown. Everyone has tapped into a collective consciousness, helping each other and I am sure we will see much more of this as time goes on.”
In the meantime, people across the world are using the No More Lonely Friends hashtags and Instagram comments sections to connect with people and discuss attending future events.