3 ways to fight loneliness like they do in Denmark

Denmark, 2019. There is a paradox here. Kind of similar to  Hamlet’s quote “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. Well, not that rotten but still an issueLoneliness. The paradox is that on the one hand, they are the 2nd happiest country and one of the best welfare states in the world. People feel safe and secure to plan their life and realise their dreams. Most of them thrive in their careers and also have work-life balance.

On the other hand, loneliness is an issue in Denmark too. Not that big but it is growing. Not just among the older people, but also among youngsters and foreigners who move to the country. Denmark is the worst place in the world to make new friends, according to surveys. OK along with Sweden!

What is remarkable though is their effort to improve things before they get worse. They realise the risks that loneliness poses to health and society and want to prevent them. But how do they do it?

All in place! 

Seldom, things are left to sheer luck in Denmark. This is valid for tackling loneliness too. In a country whose people are known for not being very talkative, talk to strangers or make new friends easily, there are so many initiatives to make people socialize and get rid of loneliness. The best part is that they are so inclusive: locals or foreigners, younger or older.

For example, there are a lot of communal eating places, where you can join and eat together with strangers, at a very low cost, like “Denmark eats together”. Chances are you are going to find people to talk to and maybe take it further from there.

You can also become a “visiting friend”. Yes, this is a new term, perfectly fit for the Danes. Visiting a friend unexpectedly is a No-No but you can register yourself at the Danish Red Cross as a “visiting friend” and schedule visits to people who feel lonely: to chat and share stories and feelings. Most of the times, loneliness is about not having anybody to talk to and share things, right?

Plus you also got the Bonus grandparents or Pet friends. You can arrange to go help other people, in need of someone to take care of their pet while they are away or child when it is sick at home and parents work. In the latter case, you become a Bonus Grandma or Grandpa. How sweet!

March Against Loneliness!

dark period in his life led Dane Patrick Cakirli to organize a walking march across the country since 2017, to raise awareness about loneliness and that it is a serious social issue that needs to be addressed urgently.  It all started when he posted online that he was desperate to meet new friends and that he would be sitting in front of the Copenhagen City Hall from 2 pm to 8 pm. He was approached by 13 strangers who felt the same way too. Surprising for the kinds of reserved Danes, right?Now, his March Against Loneliness is on its 3rd year already and gaining traction. This year he will walk over 500 km around the country. The condition is that he needs to have other people walking with him, or else he stops. Challenging, huh? But in the last two years, he was never left alone marching.

We can fight loneliness with togetherness.