Understanding Loneliness

What makes us happiest in life? Some people may point to fabulous fame and fortune. But hands down, surveys show that friends and family are the real prize. Even though our need to connect is innate, some of us always go home alone. You could have people around you throughout the day or even be in a lifelong marriage, and still experience a deep, pervasive loneliness. Unsurprisingly, isolation can have a serious detrimental effect on one's mental and physical health.

Recent Posts on Loneliness

Life in the Mushpot

By Bernard L. De Koven on July 27, 2015 in On Having Fun
Sometimes it's OK when you don't get to play. Sometimes, not so much.

The Loneliness of Social Media, Part Two

Social media is not always very social. Understanding why not can help us understand what is lacking in our lives.

4 Mental Health Disorders That May Thrive on Loneliness

By Kira Asatryan on July 23, 2015 in The Art of Closeness
It's possible you're not mentally ill. You're just lonely.

The Loneliness of Social Media: Part One

You may have seen "the baby whisperer" photo that went viral. What it teaches us about life and loneliness in the digital age is fascinating.

How Loneliness Tricks People Into Staying Lonely

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on July 21, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel
A new study illuminates one of the main reasons it is so hard for lonely people to break the cycle of disconnection that traps them in their misery. Read on to learn more.

Stories of Seclusion: "I'm Not of This Planet"

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 18, 2015 in How To Do Life
Feeling out of step can drive one to physical and mental seclusion.

Poor Care Pushes LGBTQ Seniors Back in the Closet

LBGTQ seniors cope with the choice between staying silent and revealing their identities to potentially hostile healthcare providers. Improvements are needed to ensure the safety and well-being of this group.

When Cheating Isn't Cheating

By Frances Cohen Praver Ph.D. on July 12, 2015 in Love Doc
Tossing her long blonde hair over her shoulder, Sarah smiled, “Stan wants me to marry him.” “Do you want to marry him?” I asked. Her dazzling smile turned to a frown. “I’m thinking about it. It’s a problem though.” I asked, “Why’s that?” “I’m married to Evan.” She said in a matter of fact tone.

The World Needs a Secular Community Revolution

The decline of religious community has made people less happy and less healthy. The solution is to create more naturalistic, secular, quasi-religious communities.

No More Tears

It will be a year ago tomorrow that my mom left this world. Even though I believe that she is happy and at peace, I still want her here with me NOW.The heartbreak of loss seems to be a fundamental, inescapable aspect of the human condition. When we take the risk of caring about another living being, we set ourselves up for eventual loss. What can compare to that pain?

Gay Marriage Ruling Is Matrimaniacal, Shames Single People

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on June 26, 2015 in Living Single
It is possible to expand the scope of social justice without declaring one class of people superior and derogating another. The SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage failed in that respect. We are all supposed to be equal under the law.

Coping with Loneliness: Finding Your Way Out of the Dark

Loneliness can be so agonizing that it often presses us to seek a quick remedy, something to numb the pain. Here are a few suggestions to help you make your way back out of the darkness without introducing new regrets.

Put on a Happy Face at Your Own Risk

Trying to be happy all the time is bad for our bodies and relationships. Here's what to do if you habitually hide your real feelings behind a smile.

The Emotional Topography of Grief

Loss—especially traumatic or tragic loss—creates a dark region in our world that will always be there.

How Phones Are Tearing Us Apart

By Guest Bloggers on June 19, 2015 in Brainstorm
Research suggests that smartphones may decrease our trust in one another, lower the quality of our relationships, and degrade the quality of our conversations.

Seeking Solitude but Finding Loneliness: Five Wrong Turns

Many of us feel the need to seek out solitude. Recently, though, I’ve been learning that this quest for time alone can be a gamble. Sometimes, when all that I’m seeking is a little solitude, I can take a wrong turn somewhere and find myself way out in a lonely place. Here are five wrong turns that might take us away from solitude and toward loneliness.

Intergenerational Transmission of Irrelationship

Irrelationship can manifest powerfully in places where we least expect it to. Subtly, our family relationship patterns, when carefully examined, are shown to span generations. We are not as individual as we think we are... but we can choose to change the future by breaking the chain right now.

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The world can be a lonely place

The Manipulative Power of Sexual Climbers

The objective of the sexual climber is not merely sex. When they leave a relationship, they often will take anything of value they can get. Money, goods, friends, and business contacts can all be confiscated by a climber.

5 Secrets to Finding Real Love

Love unfortunately is no fairy tale, but it is possible to find authentic love with these 5 steps.

Monkey See, Monkey Don't

It important to continue to explore not just the sticky irrelationship dynamic that we have seen so many many of us get tangled up in, but also to ask: what are the resiliency factors? What allows one person from the same family to break the pattern, when others cannot?

Four Strategies to Make Facebook Work Better for You

Facebook has become a very powerful phenomenon and tool, transforming lives around the globe. But you need to find a way to make it work for you and not against you. Keeping social comparison theory in mind might help you to do so. Monitor your mood and comparisons after Facebook use and then act accordingly.

Loneliness Is Not Caused By A Lack of Social Skills

By Temma Ehrenfeld on June 01, 2015 in Open Gently
Anxiety can be the root of loneliness, not lack of social skills.

How to Rebuild Your Social Circle After a Split

By Wendy Paris on May 26, 2015 in Splitopia
Divorce can shake up friendships, but it also gives us a chance to connect with others, and recreate a social circle more supportive of our new lives. Sometimes ending a marriage enables us to see the value in others we've formerly dismissed.

Beyond Bread and Butter

Progressive political activists are too fixated on economic inequality and justice, reflecting a narrow and incorrect view of what people really need.

A Select Assortment of Books and More

Not every worthy book or DVD gets the attention it deserves. Here are a few you might otherwise miss.

6 Tips to Beat Loneliness for Good

Are you hungry for love? These six tips will help you create the intimacy you desire, and also show you how to avoid toxic affection.

What is Relationship Sanity?

Insanity is defined as repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. But how might we broach a definition of relational sanity? If we accept a simple and straightforward definition of sanity as "soundness of mind," could we say that experiencing ourselves as being loving and lovable is a (if not the) definition of relational/relationship sanity?

We Have It All Wrong About Lonely People

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on May 12, 2015 in Living Single
A set of just-published studies shows that lonely people have social skills that are just as good, or even better, than those of non-lonely people. But certain social situations make lonely people anxious, and that anxiety undermines the skills that are there for them when they are not worried.

You Can Change Your Attachment Style

secure people create good relationships, even with anxious or avoidant partners. Secure people express their needs directly instead of playing games. They establish a dynamic that helps others feel safe expressing needs and negotiating mutually satisfying solutions.