Loneliness is…feeling that you’re lacking the social connections you need. It can feel like being stranded, abandoned, or cut off from the people with whom you belong—even if you’re surrounded by other people. What’s missing when you’re lonely is the feeling of closeness, trust, and the affection of genuine friends, loved ones, and community.

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Intimate/Emotional loneliness is the longing for a close confidante or intimate partner—someone with whom you share a deep mutual bond of affection and trust.
Relational/Social loneliness is the yearning for quality friendships and social companionship and support.
Collective loneliness is the hunger for a network or community of people who share your sense of purpose and interests.

These three dimensions together reflect the full range of high-quality social connections that humans need in order to thrive. The lack of relationships in any of these dimensions can make us lonely, which helps to explain why we may have a supportive marriage yet still feel lonely for friends and community.

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Her emotions were simply warning her that her life was out of balance, that she needed to tend to her social needs. Loneliness was signaling, not accusing her. It was trying to help by reminding her just how vitally she needed to reconnect.

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When we become chronically lonely, most of us are inclined to withdraw, whether we mean to or not.

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Hypervigilance…creates an intense preoccupation with our own needs and security, which can appear to others as self-involvement. These two elements—the threat perception shift and the increased focus on self—are key parts of the hypervigilance story that make it difficult to engage with others when we’re lonely.


Quotes are from the book “Together” by Vivek Murthy, MD

Brene Brown &
Vivek Murthy, MD

Loneliness & Connection Podcast

Listen here

 Feeling Disconnected?

Having fewer friends than we need or desire can lead to feelings of loneliness. Friend-making can be challenging. Want to normalize your experiences? Take a look at We Should Get Together by Kat Vellos.  Simply click the option to “Read Sample.” The introduction alone contains hand-drawn illustrations that are relatable and humorous.