What is loneliness

Reviewed by our psychologist : Simone das Dores

We all experience loneliness every now and then. It’s not necessarily a problem if you feel lonely from time to time. Loneliness is a perception rather than a fact or a situation. You feel lonely because you’re lacking connection. You’re missing that close, emotional bond with others.

We’re going to explain what loneliness is and what the different types are, as well as the causes and effects. We’ll also give you some tips on how you can manage it better. But what if you’re still struggling with feelings of loneliness? We’ll explain how you can get in touch with one of our psychologists.

In this article

  • What is loneliness?
  • Why is loneliness different from being alone?
  • Causes and effects of loneliness
  • Types of loneliness
  • Social loneliness
  • Emotional loneliness
  • Existential loneliness
  • Dealing with loneliness

What Is Loneliness? 

Loneliness is a perception. It’s the state of feeling lonely. Some people need meaningful relationships and a large social network much more than others do, so loneliness is very much a personal experience. 

It’s hard for other people to tell just by looking at you whether you’re lonely or not. People won’t necessarily be able to see that you’re dissatisfied with the interactions you have with your romantic partner, friends, family or other acquaintances. That you find it difficult to improve these relationships, or that you’ve maybe even given up trying. This means that it’s difficult to identify loneliness. Only you can tell if you’re feeling this way.

Whether or not you’re experiencing loneliness largely depends on how you feel about being alone. If you think about it a lot or keep worrying about it, then your feelings of loneliness will only intensify. Always bear in mind that feeling lonely is a perception. And that you can tackle it by changing your circumstances.

iPractice offers everyone:

Why Is Loneliness Different from Being Alone?

Being alone is the objective reality of being by yourself. Loneliness is subjective, because it refers to a feeling of isolation. When you’re alone you might still feel happy, something that isn’t possible when you’re lonely. Signs of loneliness include confusion, insomnia and depression – all things you won’t necessarily experience as a direct result of being alone.

Causes and Effects

Loneliness has a major impact, especially if it goes on for a long time. You start to feel like you’re withdrawing from regular society. There’s a risk that you’ll become less socially active, which is a downwards spiral that’s difficult to break. 

Ultimately, this could lead to both mental and physical health issues that will have an impact on your overall happiness. As social beings, we definitely need human connection. 

Types of loneliness

There are several different types of loneliness:

  • Social loneliness
    You’re lacking social contact, or you think that you are. You’ve started to withdraw socially, which means you’re interacting with others less and less.
  • Emotional loneliness
    You’re finding it difficult to be honest with your partner, friends and colleagues. Since you’re not really being yourself, you feel lonely even if there are others around you.
  • Existential loneliness
    You’re not really sure why your life matters or what the point of anything is. Your loneliness is related to larger issues. You’re not sure what exactly you’re contributing to the world.

Dealing with loneliness

You can learn to manage your feelings of loneliness. This will diminish the impact they have on your daily life. But what if your feelings persist? It’s time to speak to one of our psychologists. Cognitive behavioral therapy or acceptance and commitment therapy can both really help here. 

Still got questions about loneliness and the best ways to manage it? Give us a call on +3120 214 3928 and we’d be happy to discuss it with you personally. 

Clinical Psychologist : Simone das Dores

“Loneliness is the silent gap you experience between you and others.“

Would you rather have the support of a professional?

Contact one of our psychologists today without obligation. You can talk about your feelings and symptoms and get information about a suitable treatment programme for you.