Young Worker Sparked Loneliness Debate, Spent Night Alone in Hotel

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  • A young worker complained about feeling lonely in a hotel room for a work trip and sparked an online debate.
  • Social media users are divided with some criticizing young people for not enjoying their own company.
  • The US is facing a loneliness epidemic as young people feel increasingly isolated in a digital world. 

A young worker has gone viral on social media and sparked a debate about loneliness and the relative merits of solo business trips after posting a TikTok complaining about feeling bored and alone in a hotel room for a work trip. 

Riley Scruggs, a senior creative strategist at Discover Financial Services in Washington, DC, posted a video on TikTok sitting around in a hotel room in suburban Illinois. The video showed clips of her lying on the bed, sitting on the window, and standing in the shower. 

The text in the video says: “Sometimes I hate being a corporate girlie because what am I supposed to do alone in a hotel in the Illinois suburbs on a Wednesday night?” 

The video, which has accumulated almost 200,000 views on TikTok, has been flooded with comments from people suggesting ideas on what Scruggs could do on her own. 

One user said: “You order chilis and watch the office reruns that are always on hotel TVs.”

Another wrote: “Take a bath!! Drink some wine!! Find local restaurant to try!! I love playing Eloise.”

The video has also gone viral on X — formerly Twitter — but users are divided, with some defending her and others criticizing young people for apparently being unable to enjoy their own company.

One X user commented, in a post that has over six million views: “Literally 0 hate to this girl but y’all really need to learn the concept of enjoying your own company and also without having a list of little side quests to do. You realize how incredible it is to have an evening to yourself in a new place in a hotel you didn’t pay for? 

“Order room service and dance around and jump on the bed. I’m lowkey scared of people who can’t fathom just doing nothing alone. That is my preferred weekend every weekend.”

Another user agreed: “Corporate life takes so much of your time and energy, that you actually forget how to live; It’s a machine that perpetually keeps you plugged in, even when you don’t have to be, and this is what it does to people… They spend so much time making a living that they forget how to live.” 

However, some agreed with Scruggs saying there often aren’t many fun things to do on a solo business trip in the suburbs and it’s not wrong to desire company when you’re feeling alone. 

Other people said that business hotels often don’t have “room service” and are intended to be places to sleep and nothing more. 

Loneliness has become a huge problem in the US, with the US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy declaring a loneliness epidemic in 2023. Murthy said loneliness is linked to poor mental and physical health.

It’s particularly affecting Gen Z. A large number of young professionals who joined the workplace after the COVID-19 pandemic were expected to work remotely and felt extremely isolated and lonely as a result. 

Young people generally live alone, in cramped homes, or shared apartments, and don’t have as much opportunity to socialize with their colleagues. They are often keen to come back to the office for the opportunity to build connections and relationships. 

In September, Business Insider found that many young people were resorting to spending hundreds on social clubs, gym programs, and other activities to make friends and escape a pervasive feeling of loneliness brought on by social media and an increasingly digital world.

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