When on my own in public I tend to walk around with my head down, oblivious to whats going on around me, and I'd rather stick my face in a good book than risk the chance of awkward eye contact on the underground.
Everyday I cross paths with hundreds of people I don't know, and although there may be the odd apology for accidentally stepping on someone's toe, or a polite "thank you" when a door is held open, how often do I actually spark up genuine conversation with a stranger? (Drunken slurs on the night bus at 4am don't count!) The answer is never, and what's odd is that despite being surrounded by other people, some who stand far too close to me on the underground for my liking, I often find myself feeling lonely.
I wonder how many new friends I'd make if having a chat with a fellow commuter wasn't so socially unacceptable; there must be millions of people out there who share similar interests to me, who's to say I didn't pass one of them in the street today? We live in an immensely guarded and anti-social culture, which is a shame because meeting new people is fun!
Yesterday I watched 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower', which touches on the subjects of loneliness, mental illness and struggling to make friends. (If you haven't seen it already then be sure to watch it, it's beautiful!) It moved me and also reminded me that everyone feels lonely sometimes. Nobody's life is perfect, no matter how fun, friend-filled and adventurous it may look on their social networking profiles.... but regardless, maybe we should all just be a little less judgmental, be more open and talk more.