Frequent reports of how lonely we are, across all ages and nations, have dominated the news for months.
We live in lonely times. Increasing numbers of elderly people are living alone for longer.
Many young people describe acute senses of loneliness.
People are lonely in both in our cities and in rural areas, so much so that loneliness is now considered a public-health issue, with some commentators declaring that "the world is suffering from an epidemic of loneliness."