For instance, do you think that your loneliness may be caused by your relationships (e.g., if you miss a partner or if your friendships are not as good as you would like them to be)?
Or would you like to learn more about the loneliness that can emerge after specific events or situations (e.g., after spending much time alone, being separated from the people you are close to, feeling different from others at a party)?
Or maybe you suspect that your loneliness is more about who or how you are (e.g., if you dislike being by yourself; if you would like to but cannot open up to others; if you have high expectations from others or are afraid that they might leave you).
Finally, if you think that there is still something missing, then you might want to have a look at unexpected causes for loneliness – namely those that have very little or even nothing to do with your social relationships.
As human beings, we are born based on and into social relationships, and we usually move through our lives in social networks. On the flip side, having less relationships than we would need, or lacking fulfilling relationships, can make us feel lonely. An introductory video to the connections between loneliness and (unsatisfying) relationships.
Lonely people are often believed to be socially isolated – that is, to have no or too few social relationships. In fact, however, relationships are wonderful breeding grounds for loneliness. Indeed, we often feel lonely because others do not understand us (or if we don’t understand them) – and these can be others who we hardly know as well as those who we usually feel very close to.
Feeling lonely only rarely results from being alone or socially isolated. However, we are likely to feel lonely if others – and particularly those who are important to us -reject us. No matter whether they actually don’t want to have anything to do with us, whether they need more personal space than we do, whether they just don’t feel like meeting that often, or whether they are in a bad mood and accidentally behaved in a way that made us feel rejected.
Most of us have already felt different from other people or experienced that they did not quite fit in. But some of us are accompanied by such situations throughout their entire lives. They somehow deviate from what the crowd views or presents as normal, desirable, or acceptable. This video is dedicated to the many people out there who suffer from this.
Many people have the idea that their family members should be the people that they can always turn to. But then, disharmonies, conflicts, long histories of disagreement, Christmas gatherings, quarantines etc. happen and people feel like they do not belong and lonely. As such, current family relationships can as much prevent loneliness as be breeding grounds for it.
Wanting but not finding a partner, unreciprocated love, secretly wishing for a different partner. The world of dating, romance, and partnership can make lonely in many ways. Interviewees in this video talk about their experiences.
A common stereotype is that singlehood makes lonely, and that partnership (particularly marriage) protects from it. Although not having a partner indeed increases the likelihood for loneliness, one can feel lonely in partnerships, too – and quite often exactly because of what one’s partner does or does not do. Indeed, loving someone else, opening up, and sharing life creates many situations in which one can feel rejected, misunderstood, or simply not in tune, and hence lonely.
Saying goodbye can hurt and make lonely. After having been together with a partner, a friend, a group, etc. for a longer time, many people have to first get used to being by themselves again. Usually, the loneliness after a separation vanishes after some time. Or it gets at least easier to bear, as the people in this video explain.
When we lose loved ones, we can feel very alone and lost in the world. However, although painful, it is part of the human experience to sometimes say goodbye forever. As one interviewee in the video explains, we usually just need (quite some) time to heal.
Most of us have already felt different from other people or experienced that they did not quite fit in with a group. At a party where everyone (except for us) seemed to love board games and to share a music taste that we secretly detested, at high school where others boasted with their latest severe hangover while we somewhat liked knowing what had happened last night, in our friendship group where everyone else was suddenly talking about their children while we were still figuring out our career path. This video is a small collection of such situations.
Feeling lonely feels like we are all alone. Does that automatically mean that there is something wrong with our relationships? No, sometimes it is not our relationships with others that are problematic, but rather our relationship with ourselves. Because we dislike being with that person who we are, because we can’t stand the constant buzz of thoughts in our heads, because we haven’t quite decided what we aim for in life. As much as feeling lonely can indicate that one should meet people, it can thus also mean that it’s time to go for coffee or tea with me, myself, and I.
For those of us who repeatedly encounter loneliness or who hardly ever don’t feel lonely, present social relationships are often not the reason. Rather, the roots of this loneliness are in their past relationships. Some reflections about difficult relationships with one’s parents and the loneliness that these can create.
Some of us like to be the centre of attention in groups; others prefer to observe the centre of attention. Some of us like to talk about themselves; others prefer to talk about others; and others prefer to talk about things… or the weather. Participants in this video explain that, in their experience, not talking to anyone about emotions, worries, or experiences can make lonely.
Our friends should be a 100% by our side – forever and always. Our partners should tell us from time to time that they love us. Our colleagues should remember our birthday.
Loneliness sometimes happens if we expect something from our relationships that they cannot offer us. Or if we expect quite the opposite: that others will leave us as soon as they can – although there is no actual sign that this will happen… It can help to realize that it is our mind that creates these fears rather than others around us.
It is not only relationships that can make us feel lonely. Sometimes, we can be happily married, have five children, be the top manager of an organization, be surrounded by tons of friends, live in a lovely neighbourhood and still feel lonely. Why? Among others, because we can feel lonely when we are faced with problems or a difficult decision. Because we feel like, no matter how many people there are around us, we are the only ones responsible for that situation, and we have to walk our very own path.
The novel, the unfamiliar, and the unknown can make us feel afraid… and lonely? Yes, this clip shows that some people react to feeling lost, overwhelmed, or disoriented with loneliness. As such, loneliness can appear in a new job, when we do not yet understand how things work at a university, or even when we are on holiday with our partner. If this is entirely novel to you (or just not), you might want to watch this video…