Feeling lonely doesn’t have to
mean that you’re just physically alone. Some people feel lonely even when
they’re in a crowded room of people or at a party. To feel lonely is to have an
overwhelming feeling of being separate from those around you. It’s a normal
emotion and often a part of growing up, as things like moving out of home, going
to a new school or any other changes can make us feel isolated.
Some reasons people feel lonely include:
• Technology. Though the internet and mobile phones are awesome, they can
sometimes make us feel detached from the world around us. Seeing other people
online who seem to have loads of comments or heaps of followers can sometimes
make us feel unpopular or lonely.
• Not fitting in. If you’re in an environment where you don’t feel comfortable,
it’s not unusual to feel a bit lonely. This is particularly tough if you’re
being bullied or discriminated against, or if you don’t understand the common
social interactions for the situation.
• No one listens to you. When you’re young, it can feel like no one listens to
you or takes you seriously. This can make you feel more alone or not important.
• Physical isolation. sometimes we’re in a situation where there’s just no one
around. This can be as a result of moving to a new place, living alone, family
moving away or someone dying.
Common causes of loneliness
Though there’s no one reason people feel lonely, there can be things that
contribute to loneliness and a feeling of isolation.
Some people who are particularly at risk of loneliness include:
People with mental illness. People who are living with mental illness are
particularly prone to feeling lonely. This can be as a symptom of the illness
itself or particular things that make it hard to make friends or get out and
about. Anxiety, in particular, can make it difficult to make friends and meet
Lone carers. If you’re caring for someone it can be very difficult to leave the
house and get out and about. It is not uncommon for lone carers to feel isolated
or alone, particularly if they don’t receive respite or support.
People with physical disability. People with a physical disability are at risk
of experiencing loneliness for a number of reasons. Stigma and disadvantage can
cause people who experience a physical disability to feel excluded from social
People experiencing discrimination. Being treated as different from others can
often make people feel lonely or isolated. Being discriminated against because
of ethnicity, gender, sexuality or any other cause can not only result in
physical isolation but also a feeling of being separate from those around you.
While some situations make people more prone to loneliness, it's also really
important to remember that just about everyone feels lonely from time to time.
To hear from some young guys about their experiences with loneliness, be sure to
check out our Real Talk: Feeling Lonely vox pops.
How to cope
There are a number of coping strategies you can use to help overcome loneliness,
not least having a chat to someone about how you’re feeling. However, sometimes
if it becomes ongoing it might be a sign of something a bit more serious. If you
can’t put your finger on why you feel lonely or if it’s something that has been
going on for a while, check out 'I feel so alone' fact sheet for more info.