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What is Loneliness?

Loneliness is a feeling where people experience emptiness and isolation. Loneliness is usually accompanied by feeling unwanted and unimportant. Feeling lonely from time to time is normal and sometimes people even experience a phase of loneliness. However, persistent loneliness can consume us and turn into feelings of despair. This can be depressing or scary.

Loneliness is different from being alone. A person who is alone could be physically apart from other people without the accompanying feelings of emptiness and sadness. However loneliness does not require being alone. Someone who is lonely can be surrounded by other people and still feel lonely. Humans are by nature social beings and without regular positive contact with others, loneliness can develop. Loneliness can develop from unwanted solitude.

People can experience loneliness for several reasons:

  • Some people find it hard to form strong interpersonal relationships. Some people suffer from anxiety and this can lead to problems meeting people and making friends. The lack of important friendship bonds during childhood years and the teens or the physical absence of meaningful people around a person could be a cause for loneliness.
  • Loneliness can be triggered by any socially disruptive even such as the birth of a child, marriage, moving from one’s hometown, changing schools and the like. These major life changes cause new patterns of behavior and may put some distance between persons and what is familiar to them. This can be very unsettling for some. For some these are difficult to adjust to and cope with causing them to sink into a state of loneliness.
  • Loneliness can be caused when people feel like they are undervalued, when they feel that they are of little importance to other people’s lives or when they feel that no one else sees things from their perspective.


Tips to avoid loneliness

  • Try to determine how you might be contributing to your own feelings of loneliness.
    • Do you keep to yourself?
    • Do you not talk to others because you think that they don’t like you
    • Do you stay home by yourself all the time?
  • Thinking about your loneliness like this might help you to think about ways that you can do things differently to lessen your feelings of loneliness.
  • Tell someone you trust about how you are feeling. Telling someone you trust about how you are feeling might help them to understand you better and give you the support you need to help you overcome your loneliness. You can even call ChildLine at 131 or 800-4321 to talk to us about it.
  • Feeling lonely can prevent you from making friends and not making friends can make you feel lonely. To overcome loneliness, try to make new friends. Making friends usually comes from spending time with people who share your interests. Join a group where you can express your interests and find other like minded individuals. You can join a club or a sporting team, a voluntary group that does something that interests you. You might find peers with similar interests.
  • Be assertive. Sometimes people become lonely because they are afraid to even try to get close to people and form meaningful relationships. Some people assume that others would not like them. This could be because they have low self esteem. Click on our article on self esteem to read more. Sometimes to overcome loneliness you have to take the first step of being assertive and put aside your fear and take a risk.
  • Do something you wouldn’t normally do – go over to a group of friends and introduce yourself, join the conversation.
  • Go out into your community and join in the activities with other youth in the neighbourhood. In doing this, you would find that neither you nor the other people you are afraid to talk to are as bad as you think.


For more tips on dealing with loneliness visit


Loneliness can cause depression. Go to the article on Depression to read more on this and remember, you can call ChildLine at 131 or 800-4321 to talk about how you are feeling.



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