Learn the Difference Between “loneliness” and “loneliness”
For the past few years, we’ve been told that loneliness is a public health crisis , as devastating as smoking 15 cigarettes every day. The message is that we are people – people who need people – and spending too much time on our own is a serious problem. Oh, but at the same time, we seem to be all introverts now , and socializing with others is exhausting . So what is it? It turns out that it can be both, because “loneliness” and “loneliness” are two completely different concepts. Here’s what sets them apart and why a better understanding of what each term means can help.
Loneliness versus loneliness
Given the quarantine, physical distancing, and self-isolation that we have applied over the past few months, it has been suggested that those living alone should feel lonely. While this may be the case for some people, it is not the case for others who feel like they are constantly surrounded by friends, family, and colleagues, even if it is virtually. These two concepts are not mutually exclusive. Let’s see what each of them means.
In an article in MindBodyGreen, Dr. Margaret Paul explains :
Loneliness is the feeling you get when you want to connect with someone, such as your partner, and either you have no one to contact or your partner is not available.
In an article for Psychology Today , Dr. Eglantine Jules-Danier notes that loneliness is “the physical state of being away from another person, be it human or animal,” while loneliness is “a psychological state characterized by an unpleasant experience that occurs when a person’s social relations (self) are perceived as less in quantity and quality than one would like. ” In other words, this is when the social contact that you have at the moment does not bring you satisfaction.
And if you are alone now, Jules-Danier suggests using this time as a chance to refocus on yourself, your needs and what makes you feel good. “It’s time to figure out what kind of people you want to hang out with, [and] what hobbies you want to pursue,” she writes .
The takeaway from this is that you can spend most (or all) of your time alone but not feel lonely, or you can be around people all the time and feel lonely all the time. Understanding the difference between the two can help you better deal with your current situation.