What is loneliness?

We can all feel lonely sometimes for many different reasons, including at times of difficult change in our lives, such as moving to a new city, because of relationships or friendships ending, or because of a bereavement. Sometimes, we can feel lonely even if we are around lots of people or have lots of friends.

Loneliness causes people to feel empty, alone, and unwanted. People who are lonely often crave human contact, but their state of mind makes it more difficult to form connections with other people.

Anyone can experience loneliness. However, the way you experience loneliness can be different to somebody else.

But life doesn’t have to be this way; if you’re feeling lonely, there are things you can do to feel better.

Things you can do to stop feeling lonely

guy handshaking smiling girl introducing greeting at group meeting in cafe

Focus on self-love.

Spending time alone might not seem fun, but the more time you spend doing things you enjoy and being kind to yourself the more confident you will feel. It’s ok to have time just for yourself.

Express your feelings. 

It can be hard to open up, but sharing can benefit our relationships and well-being. It is important to have ways to express yourself, even if right now you don’t have people close to you who you can talk to. Keeping a journal can help you to track your mood and reading over it might help you to see things that keep happening in your life which you might need some help with. Some people like to express themselves through drawing, painting, music, fashion or sport.

Woman blogger relaxing drinking tea while sitting near the window in modern  cafe bar

Join a club.

You don’t have to be good at something to give it a go and enjoy it. A regular hobby with other people can help you build new friendships and have fun. It can feel really nerve-wracking to turn up to a new place, especially if the people already know each other, but you’re likely to find people who are very happy and willing to help you settle in.

If you feel anxious about meeting new people, have a read of our anxiety page.

Try volunteering.

This can be a great way to learn a new skill, give back to your community, feel good about yourself and meet people passionate about the same things as you. 

Follow your passions.

If there is something you absolutely love there will be other people out there who feel the same. Whether that’s an online fan forum or a local writers’ group, find ways to connect with the things you love and you might be surprised about what opportunities that leads to.

Reach out if you’re struggling. 

Talk to someone you trust. It could be your parents or wider family members, like older cousins, aunts or uncles. Outside home, it could be a teacher, a neighbour or a close family friend. You can also speak to your GP about how you’re feeling. 

Woman is comforted by a friend

They can listen, tell you about local services and support groups, or they may suggest specific treatment for the way you’re feeling.


Urgent support

If you cannot wait to see a doctor and feel unable to cope or keep yourself safe, it's important to get support.

Get urgent support now

In a life-threatening emergency, phone the emergency services and ask for an ambulance.

Call 999


Useful links

Here are some small steps you can take to keep on top of our mental wellbeing and cope during times of uncertainty.