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Dealing With Loneliness

Updated on April 9, 2008

Loneliness is some of the greatest pain that a human being can undergo. Ironically, it seems that the more people that are born into this world, and the more connected we become, still the more loneliness afflicts us. Though many of us spend each and every day surrounded by people (generally annoying people, let's face it), a hollow gnawing feeling of loneliness persists, occasionally flaring up into a void in which it is easy to become lost. The world seems dark and empty, and it seems as if just existing is a painful experience.

Many loneliness advice pages will tell you to find the positive aspects of being alone. They will tell you to embrace being by yourself, being company for yourself, learning to find yourself as your own best friend, your own lover, your own confidant. That's not bad advice at all, and most of us, especially single people, experience days when being alone is a positive thing. Coming home and being able to relax as one wishes without having to worry about the needs of others. Being able to enjoy a good book or movie uninterrupted, being able to sit alone and think. These are all positive things, but they're not why you're here.

I'm also not going to tell you to find a hobby, or join an interest group, as a human being who has managed to manipulate a search engine well enough to arrive here, I will assume that the obvious answers have already occurred to you. Perhaps you've already picked up a hobby and joined an interest group, and perhaps you still feel alone, and down. Perhaps you're even in a relationship and living with someone, or married and feeling alone. Loneliness can strike anyone at any time.

It is normal to feel lonely sometimes. Everybody has days when it seems as if every single last person on the planet is a twittish deamon sent straight from hell to torment us. The general state of the world at large viewed through the lens of the news media is not a pretty place either. Indeed, on some occasions, the whole thing looks utterly, irretrievably hopeless, and you are a lost soul within it all, crying out for a home, a place where you are loved, and cared for and understood.

Here are a few suggestions that have proved useful for others in the war on loneliness (the first one is unnecessarily using dangerous media terminology for your own amusement.)

Realize That It Will Pass

Loneliness is an emotional reaction, it is not a state of being, no matter how profound it may feel, and no matter how much it hurts, it will pass. For some people, it can pass in an instant upon hearing a good joke, or perhaps it is relieved from a good night's sleep. If you are feeling lonely due to a sudden change in your life, perhaps a death of a loved one, or as the result of a move, then acknowledge to yourself that it makes sense to feel the way you do, but that things will change with time.

You Are Not Alone

It may or may not be a comfort to know that there are literally thousands of people feeling the way you do right now. You are not the only one who feels this way. This won't solve your problem of course, but it may make you feel a little bit better about it, which, oddly enough, alleviates some of the lonely feeling.

You Are Loved

The greatest tragedy about loneliness is that it often convinces us of things that are simply untrue. When feeling lonely and despairing, it is easy to believe that not only are we not loved, we were never loved, by anybody, ever, and that nobody will ever love us in the future either. The reality of the matter is that even if you don't know it, and even if you fervently believe that you are the most wretched person on the face of the earth, there is someone, more likely several someones, who do love you.

You Are Significant

You do have a purpose on this planet, and you do make a difference even if you don't know it. The smile you gave the lady on the bus, the way you held a door open for a man carrying a heavy load, the time you sat with your friend as she whined on about some love problem that she'd been whining on for weeks about. These little moments which may seem insignificant to you, can mean the world to someone else. Just because you're not the President of The USA (and be thankful you're not), it doesn't mean that you are insignificant and that nobody cares. Simply the act of releasing a bumble bee buzzing hopelessly against a window pane is enough to have made the world a better place for one of the many lives on the planet.


Laughter really is the best medicine when you're feeling sad and alone. I'm putting a few links here to various funny sites and places you can visit for a quick pick me up when you're feeling lonely.


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    • profile image

      sara 5 years ago

      what can i say its just a part of life thats it .....................

    • profile image

      Lonely+pain 5 years ago

      I have no one to share,or understand me.Time have change,time have change.:(

    • profile image

      Razvan 6 years ago

      I don't know what to comment so here's a thanks instead.

      It's easy to forget these things.

    • profile image

      SRK 6 years ago

      Dear Hope, You have beautifully captured the pathos of loneliness and better ways of coping with it. The previous global recession forced me to take the only oppertunity in one of the biggest city's of the world, far away from my wife (13 yrs of married life) and lovely children. In these 15 months have experienced extreme loneliness everyday- separated from my family-in a big city where none have time to smile, forget talk-thankless but highly competitive job-endless queues and crowded trains-4 hours of meaningless commuting everyday-the thought of waking-up alone and returning back to an empty flat. Just when I thought it would improve and I could go back, it is further accentuated by lack of job oppertunities as our world is once again going into recession. To cope with loneliness is the only alternative. The daily motivator is that this job would give financial security to my children. Your suggestions are refreshing and 'Hope'fully work! Thanks,

    • Woody Marx profile image

      Woody Marx 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I don't know if he was joking or not but the French existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre once said:

      The definition of Hell is 'other people'.

      He doesn't sound like a party animal, so I suppose he rarely got invited to them, and hence maybe he was resentful of being left off the list of the social register.

      On the other hand, maybe he really did find other people insufferable. Which means that only he was fit for his own company.

      There are days when I can see his point. ;)

    • profile image

      Mark 6 years ago

      All my life I've wanted to feel connected and I never have. I have a hard time meeting others and I don't know what to do or say. It doesn't help that I was bullied and abused as a kid, and have a hard time trusting people as a result. The author of the article has never experienced loneliness. Her idea of loneliness is like a paper cut, and some of us have loneliness that is like a huge gaping wound.

    • profile image

      jss74 6 years ago

      For all those who are suffering with deep sadness, hoplessness and loneliness....I want to say to you I am sorry and wish you a change in life. Eventhough it is hard to keep fighting for something better...please do!

    • profile image

      KC  6 years ago

      For all the people that felt like this article didn't help...look around other people feel the same way you do and it just seems as if you could find others in your community who feel that lonely...and there you have commonality something to start with. Although it seems as if your loneliness has caused your depression or vice versa. Either way it may be time to seek professional help and there are many programs out there that are free. I found this article to be very helpful. I've just come out of a marriage and in no rush to get involved with someone again. Sometimes its hard being alone because of the loneliness factor but this article truly helped! Thank you writer for taking the time to write encouraging words!

    • KateWest profile image

      KateWest 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Yes you can be lonely surrounded by people but I think the most acute loneliness is when you want to be in a relationship but have no romantic attachments since that makes seeing everyone else's love that much more painful. Yes you have to love yourself and know that you have value but having a warm body (someone who actually cares) to come home to helps so much more than an empty apartment night and night.

    • profile image

      Tasha 7 years ago

      Thanx:)This helped me to smile again!

      My boyfriend stays far from me and I only get to see him once a week and sometimes I just get lonely because I have to go everywhere with other people or by myself and its not always easy. Its always difficult when you see your family with their loved ones and so on! But this really helped me! It always amuses me that you can be around 2000 people and be lonely!

      I guess we're only human:)

      Thanx for this article!

    • profile image

      kwinsi 7 years ago

      good stuff, i feel like i can go to sleep now(finally)

      p.s. for the ppl who wrote there entire life story on here...your story's are boring and depressing but i wish you all the best

    • profile image

      surri 7 years ago

      it pain so much not to have anyone to share with

    • profile image

      Ryan 7 years ago

      im a new college freshman and ever since i started school here, i feel more and more alone every day. i went to an all guys high school, which honestly wasnt as bad as it sounds. it took me a while but i eventually found a solid group of guys i could always rely on. well, those guys all went to schools out of state. i call them once in a while, but its not the same as a face to face conversation. plus, theyre all going to be going various places for spring break, so im not going to be able to see any of them then. and the guy i used to consider my best friend has turned into a complete douche ever since he started dating his "girlfriend." he never returns my calls, texts or facebook messages.

      i have always found it hard to meet new people, but girls especially. whenever im around a girl, hot or not, my brain just freezes up and i never know what to say or do. on top of that, im not exactly, how shall i say it, skinny, attractive, cute or any other adjective that describes a good looking guy. i know im not attractive at all. i even caught two girls talking behind my back on facebook about how unattractive i am. one of them apologized, one didnt. ive never had a girlfriend or even kissed a girl. it just sucks knowing that no girl will ever be attracted to me. what sucks even more is seeing the meathead jock who lives across the hall from me and seeing how crapily he treats his girlfriend and how she always stays with him. all ive ever wanted in my life was to fall in love with a beautiful girl and start a family. i know im only 19 and "i have my whole life ahead of me," but that doesnt help relieve that pain i have right now.

      i dont know why im in college. i dont know what i want to major in and i dont have a job. ive only made a few friends since ive been here and none of them are on the same level as my friends from high school. sometimes i skip class just so i can go lock myself in my room and cry myself to sleep. i know there is a "god," dont ask why, i just know. sometimes i question why he made me so unattractive and put me in a school where girls far outnumber guys, yet not a single one of them will be attracted to me. i go on the internet looking for ways to help myself, but nothing works. i dont want to ask my parents for help, because they will get worried about me, and i hate it when they do that. i hate waking up in the morning and putting on my happy face trying to hide the unbearable pain my heart is going through each and every day. i just want it all to go away. im not suicidal, but i just want it all to go away.

    • profile image

      susie 7 years ago

      its going on 12:45am, and i'm sitting here alone and lonely.

      i thought my life was going to be very different than it is right now.

      i feel so alone and distant from everyone, and it seems like its never going to get any better.

      i have no one else to talk to, especially at this time of night, and the loneliness just envelops me completely which is why i have trouble sleeping most of the time. i just feel so damn alone, and praying doesn't seem to help that.

      praying hasn't helped me get a job either, so i'm starting to have my doubts about even the effort.

      i still pray for my boys, my mom and my family, but beyond that, it just doesn't seem he hears me.

      i can't sleep at just eludes me. i can't shut my mind off, and i replay my past errors or day dreams that never come to pass. it sounds weird, but it just seems like its "safer" to sleep during the day for me.

      there are no jobs right now. so i still have nothing....i am nothing and will never be anything...i feel like i'm falling in a deep, black pit that never ends and i'll never get out of it.

      damned if i do and damned if i don't.

      something has to give, but i don't know that i have the hope that it will.

      whenever i talk to the boys, they act like they're too busy and have no need to talk to me.

      mother has her friends and things she does and doesn't need me, plus i'm not contributing a damn thing to living here.

      i'm really tired of being humbled by God...and i can't get much lower. i've tried to be positive and "praise" him at my lowest, but i'm running out of energy for that as well as faith. i don't know that faith has really gotten me anywhere actually. i'm just too scared not to say i believe, because i fear hell more than i believe in God at times. what a horrible admission, but it goes through my mind.

      i think about how lonely vickie was before she was killed in that horrible accident, and wonder if my time is near because i feel myself turning into her.

      i don't do anything or go anywhere...i just sit here and fret about a job, money and feel lonely.

      funny thing is, i pretty much know that things will never get better. i've never felt i fit in from the time i was very young to now. in elementary school and through middle and high school, i never fit into any of the cliques or groups. i was never that good at sports, not that strong academically, and i just seemed to be a loner, not that i liked being a loner. i longed to fit in somewhere with some group. i wanted to identify with people that thought the way i did, laughed at what i did, helped each other when we were down. but i have never found a group that i seem to fit in.

      i used to think that maybe this is my punishment for all i've done wrong in life. all of my sins, but even as a child, i don't think i committed enough sins to be shamed or foresaken by everyone i knew. or even worse, just invisible and unknown.

      i never needed to be the center of attention, but it would have been nice to be noticed or missed if i weren't around. just a connection of some kind to let me know that i had worth, which is something i never feel.

      perhaps its all just a character flaw or a mental health issue that makes me feel so lacking and unable to pursue or sustain any interpersonal relationships.

      i suck at romantic relationships, though i long to have one that means something more than empty promises or lies. its hard to find someone to date, but i will have to say finding a real friend or two is just as hard if not harder. my trust factor is in the toilet, and i have no desire to pull it out. i'm so cynical, i suppose that's certainly not attractive to either a potential mate or merely "friend" material.

      i'm in a purgatory on earth of being "nothing" to anyone. even myself.

      i often think it would be nice to just not feel the pain of living anymore and have the guts to take my own life, but i'm too much of a coward, and that bit of faith i do have assures me i'd end up in hell.

      but considering so many poor choices i've made in life and what a cruddy person i must be, i guess this is all i deserve. a daily punishment of loneliness and banishment from friendships of any kind are my fate. I do know that deep down, I do have a good heart, but I suppose that isn’t enough. maybe this is all i'm supposed to know and live. well, exist i should say, as this is not living and no way to live.

      i think of all the good people in the world and dear little children who are sick, neglected or abused and die. i would gladly give my life for one of them as they are far superior and worthy of a chance at life than i am. and so my punishment goes on....i exist.

      the demon of depression is so deep that i cannot break its bonds even with the help of medicine which i cannot really afford anyway, as i'm still jobless with no hopes of a paying position.

      i will lose what little i have left and sink even deeper into a despair of hopelessness and loneliness.

      when i hear someone say its sad or selfish for someone to take their own life, i secretly wish i was the one who was dead. no more pain of facing another day feeling unworthy and alone, no more disappointing people you care about that most likely don't care about me. no more trying to fit in and acting as if everything is ok to those around me, when i'm dying emotionally inside.

      its not selfish, its reality, its an end to the daily misery of existence and loneliness. there is no life, joy or hope, there's really no reason to go on.

    • profile image

      Jake 7 years ago

      I read the article it made me feel good for a few minutes but it not lasting, I graduated college at the age of 25 with a bs in biology and mountain of debt, been trying desperately to get a break into the field but no one will give me a chance, I haven't had a job interview in for a bio job in two years, after graduation I had to take a manufactoring tech job for a food processing plant to make some money, i hate it, the hours are horrible I work in the middle of the night, its boring and not helping me get where I want to go in life, I moved back in with my parents to help save money and pay off my debt, no women will date a 28 year old man with a lot of debt still living with his parents, my dreams of becoming a biologist seem dead, i can't afford grad school, so sick of working at night, so sick of being chain rejected by women, so difficult to meet people when you get off of work in the am, I feel like my life is over, lonelyness hurts so bad, its like i have no hope

    • profile image

      Vince 7 years ago

      I also agree with Penelope. One of the hardest things about being alone is there is no one to share your thoughts, your feelings, yourself with. I know that I am a decent person, I know I have a lot to offer, and I know I have a huge amount of love to share. But of course, no one to share it with. Knowing this only increases the pain. It doesn't go away, it doesn't subside. Whenever I see people enjoying themselves, or two people holding hands the pain intensifies. I'm in my twenties and I am constantly reminded of the fact that I am alone and this is time that I will never be able to get back. Living in misery...

    • profile image

      Dan 7 years ago

      I'm like Penelope. Alone so long. Every day hurts. I'm just waiting to leave.

    • profile image

      Sam 7 years ago

      I basically agree with penelope. (that Police song with millions of bottles...) knowing that other people out there somewhere who may feel similarly isn't reassuring. And not everyone is loved. Sure, maybe your mother loves you, if you're lucky enough to have a mother who loves you for who you are. But is that enough? for a grown adult? Maybe you found a new "family", maybe you left the distance and anonymity of city and suburbia for the geniality and hospitality of a small town. Maybe you found it. But nothing lasts. Even the families you choose, the friends who accept you - if you're lucky enough, aren't "real" family, and they come and go.

      People in small towns can be just as distant as people in the suburbs or cities. And when bridges burn or friendships end, it's worse because you see them everyday.

      I guess my point is, some people aren't loved (and maybe for good reason, no one's born deserving it), some people don't have friends, some people truly are alone. Especially in a growing atmosphere of technology. With facebook and twitter and internet and cell phones, people may have the illusion of being more connected, while spending less and less time face-to-face really connecting with people. Depending on where you live and what your job is, you may go your whole life alone, anonymous. When was the last time you had a heart to heart with a cashier or the person at the toll booth, the person on the bus next to you, the person behind you in line at a fast food place?

      Releasing a trapped bee back into fresh air is something I would still do. and maybe it adds to some ethereal network of universal karma. but it isn't even a drop in the bucket towards alleviating the sinking reality of anonymity or alienation....

    • profile image

      penelope 7 years ago

      Nothing in this article was helpful. Loneliness doesn’t pass. You don’t go from being lonely and having no one around to “hey I’m not lonely anymore…and I still don’t have anyone around.” Realizing there are other people out there doesn’t change anything either. Oh and me holding the door for someone really makes me feel loved and significant? Ok so what. I can hold the door for people all day. I’m still going home to an empty house and balling my eyes out when I see commercials on tv that have groups of friends or family in them. After being alone for so long, I just accept it. I’m alone. And every day hurts. The drive and competition for life goes away. It’s just me and myself, no pressure to be anything else at this point.i feel like i'm just waiting to leave.

    • profile image

      annie 7 years ago

      An indian philosopher once said that you feel lonely when you build walls around you in your mind and see everyone else as 'the other'. If you are able to let down these walls and see yourself as one with others, not divided as you and me by comparison and competition but rather as one being, seeing goodness and love in everyone around you and as being there for you, you will never feel alone.......i hope this helps me sometimes...

    • profile image

      Ar 7 years ago

      Loneliness is a really painful emotion, and sometimes it can make us jealous and act less than the person we want to be.

      I have felt lonely for as long as I can remember. I have no memory of a time when I wasn't lonely. I have come to believe that this is my fate, and I am just different from everybody because I am always alone. I know this isn't true, but it becomes hard to believe otherwise after a certain point in time.

    • profile image

      Linda 7 years ago

      Nice to know that I'm not the only one feeling like no one likes me or cares about me. I have a wonderful husband and beautiful loving kids but we are responsible people and don't have time for a social life as all our time is devoted to our immediate family (the four of us). So the people we do have around us, party, talk bad about other people and we're just not like that. So in turn...many times I do feel real lonely. Wishing I had a best girlfriend that was a good person and care about me and in turn I could care about her and we could have girls night out...but...reality sets in and I realize my family comes first....

      Thanks for the article....if God meant for things to happen, it would happen...I should be grateful.

    • profile image

      Joy 7 years ago

      That was the most pleasing thing i have read or felt deeply about for the past few weeks. Your words have gifted me with a small bit of happiness yet the feeling of being alone never seems to cease.

      Nevertherless, i deeply appreciate that you have taken the time to create this page and help the many people waring with their unpredictable emotions.

      Thank you.

    • profile image

      A guy 7 years ago

      This article is truthful and helpful. I know that this loneliness will pass but sometimes I need to hear someone else say it. I know that one day I will find the woman that makes me feel alive and gives me a reason to get out of bed (or stay in bed) every day. Seriously being single for 10 of my 14 adult years is starting to take it's toll

    • profile image

      newbie 7 years ago

      Thanks for this article it has helped...... loneliness is not easy but having good stuff to read really helps.

    • profile image

      Lonely 7 years ago

      Agree with you. I live in a big city, and sad to say, I notice that it is hard to make friends in big city. Everyone is so busy and distant. Nobody wants to look at each other. I think people in small towns have more friends than us in big cities.

    • profile image

      Carol 7 years ago

      Just reading what you wrote makes me feel better. I just retired after 27 years of teaching. I am wondering what is next in my life. I am married, but my husband has his own life in golf. I just have to find mine.

      Thank you.

    • profile image

      Ce 7 years ago

      I understand where you're all coming (those expressiong loneliness). It's painful... and thank God, it's not a permanent feeling, it goes away, too.

    • profile image

      Holi 7 years ago

      That was very sweet and much better advice than getting a hobby! Sometimes, though, people really do loose their support system and need to reach out and start to rebuild a support system in life. A healthy mental attitude will help, but ultimately we do need real people, real friends, and a real extended family support system.

    • profile image

      tsobel 8 years ago

      The Psychic pain of lonliness is has been so unbearable at times. It makes one feel helpless.

    • alberson jerold profile image

      alberson jerold 8 years ago

      i'm still lonely with my own loneliness....i'ts been so loneliness......

    • profile image

      Nick 8 years ago

      Boosted my ego**

    • profile image

      Nick 8 years ago

      I feel lonely almost everyday, I mean I have a great family but it's the type of loneliness that my family can't help me with. I try to stay strong but sometimes that's the hardest thing to do. Every time I see a couple laughing and walking together I tell myself that my time will come. I just pray that time will come sooner rather than later.

      The listed suggestions busted my ego a little, so thank you.

    • profile image

      someone 8 years ago

      The pain of loneliness is a physical pain. It hurts so much just to wake in the morning and deal with your day. Sleep seems to be the only relief.

    • profile image

      Holi 8 years ago

      Good article. Also glad that you didn't give the usual advice to "find a hobby, or join an interest group," etc. And the "You are loved" part is true for many people - loneliness breeds depression, which breeds misperception of reality.

      But, unfortunately, there really are people who are lonely because they are for some reason actually alienated and alone in the world. The good news, is they are not alone in that predicament, and there others similarly situated with whom they can connect and create a support system and chosen family. Create an extended family of your choosing.

    • profile image

      Katherine Barton 8 years ago

      Your words carry so much kindness. Thank you.

      I love you- not for this page or because you have greatly helped me, but because you are alive and existing. Thank you for that.

    • profile image

      AJ 8 years ago

      Enjoyed a lot! But what if your loneliness isn't because you don't feel loved or wanted... what if it is because you don't feel connected?

    • profile image

      Andrew 8 years ago

      It's refreshing to read something that isn't the same old "try volunteering, try a hobby, try cooking a tasty meal" crap that is so prevalent. That stuff skirts the real issues of loneliness. I don't know if the people who write that stuff realize this, but they're basically advising people to repress feelings and avoid dealing with them. This article, however, brings a fresh taste of realism and truth, and that's a required first step in dealing with any problem.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Loneliness haunts a lot more people than we think. And sometimes its not even because one is single, right? If you are married and still feel emotionally apart from the other, it could still be extremely lonely. Thanks for your positive input.

      -- michelle

    • Inspirepub profile image

      Inspirepub 10 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      *thumbs up*

      It's nice to see someone go past the "change your circumstances and you will feel better" standard recipe and get to something a bit deeper.



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