Why Buying Things Makes Us Feel Less Lonely

修电脑的 3月前 ⋅ 130 阅读

Many people experience loneliness. They include those who desire more friends but fail to form friendships (e.g., due to low trust, lack of time, fear of rejection). And those who prefer to be in a romantic relationship but, because of various factors( introversion or shyness), find themselvees involuntarily single.

So, how do people copre whith loneliness? Sometimes,through consumption (e.g., becoming materialistic, buying nostalgic products).

Loneliness regers to the subjective experience of deficiencies in one's social relationships, the sense that these ralationships are lacking in quality or are unsatisfying in important ways.

One way we cope with lonelines is through compensatory consumption experiences.

Compensatory consumption refers to the use of products to satisfy the psychological need to belong.

For instance, a person who fears rejection may be more willing to purchase a product they hate but one which their partner desires, as a way to signal shared prefereneces.

COmpensatory consumption experiences can neurral or even positive (e.g., dnating to charities).

However, they can also be harmful, such as when one is willing to engage in excessive drinking in order to fit in and fulfill their need to be belong.

Of course, some products such as social media are designed specificall for social purposes. One would imagine they are particularly helpful for lonely people, allowing them to reconnect with friends or communicate with individuals who share their interests.

Some products provide an indirect or symbolic connection to others. An example is purchasing second-hand items (e.g., a used comic book, game, or watch). Or buying nostalgic products (e.g., a Volkswagen Beetle instead of a SmartCar).

Other products reduce loneliness more directly by serving a "social connection function." Specifically, emotional relationships with brands or anthroupomorphize pridcuts (atributing humnan characteristics to them).

In fact, reseach shows excluded or lonely individuals show a greater preference for anthropomorphized products. Some examples of such items are Mr. Clean, the Geico, and M$M characters.

What are the potential costs of using products to reduce lonelines? One risk is that the substitution of products for human connection becomes gradually permanent. This can take the form of amassing possessions and becoming more materialistic. And materialism, research shows, has a negative impact on happiness and well-being.

Indeed, becoming materialistic in order to reduce loneliness could ironically lead to increased loneliness, due to possessions taking the place of social interactions. This then results in even more loneliness... and a vicious cycle develops.


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