Loneliness is a painful emotional response to the state of being alone and not liking it. It is sometimes influenced by our perceptions of how we are doing in the world. We might spend a great deal of time alone and feel perfectly content. Or we can find ourselves in a situation where being alone causes us a great deal of pain. Perhaps we are also grieving a loss (See also the Grief and Loss page) such as ties to an old place or maybe we perceive ourselves as being “at odds” with the social norm around us.
“Loneliness doesn’t necessarily require physical solitude, but rather an absence or paucity of connection, closeness, kinship: an inability, for one reason or another, to find as much intimacy as is desired.” (Laing, 2017:3-4)
Being lonely does not mean that there is anything wrong with us. Loneliness is a common phenomenon. We all have a basic human need to connect with others in ways that are meaningful to us. Meaningful ways to connect might be things like shared interests, values, beliefs, sense of humour, life stage or even a particular outlook on life. In order to not feel lonely we need to feel that we have enough people around us who really “get” us.