“Let’s start with the moment I realized I was already a loser, which was just after I was more or less told that I was destined to become one.” That’s how Billy Blagg first reacted to being assigned to do a story about the risks of having few friends, or very limited contact with the ones you do have. And we’re not talking about Facebook friends, Twitter followers, or even remarkably satisfied subscribers. We’re talking about real life human interaction. In the spirit of full disclosure, this is something I’ve never been a huge fan of, but it turns out that it could be a matter of life and death. “Study after study started showing that those who were more socially isolated were much more likely to die during a given period than their socially connected neighbors, even after you corrected for age, gender, and lifestyle choices like exercising and eating right. Loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke and the progression of Alzheimer’s.” From The Boston Globe: The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness. (Inspired by this story, some old friends and I just made plans to get together for a weekly smoke at The Cheesecake Factory.)