Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Loneliness

We all think we know what loneliness is, but a lot of our assumptions about it are actually way off base. Turns out, there’s more to this extremely common emotion than meets the eye. Getting a clearer picture of what loneliness really is can help us deal with it better in ourselves and be there for other people who are struggling with it. Here are some of the myths that are long overdue for busting.

1. Loneliness is the same as being alone.

It’s possible to feel lonely even when surrounded by people and equally possible to experience deep happiness and comfort in solitude. Loneliness isn’t about physical isolation; it’s about a perceived lack of meaningful connections. You can be in a crowded room but still feel deeply disconnected or invisible. On the flip side, intentional alone time offers space for introspection, creativity, and peace that’s distinct from the pain of loneliness.

You may also like: 23 Habits Of Chronically Unhappy People

2. Loneliness is a sign of weakness or social inadequacy.

Upset young man in white t-shirt standing by window at home,

We live in a hyper-social culture with unrealistic expectations of constant connectedness, author Kameron Hurley notes. And yet, loneliness plagues everyone from the seemingly popular to the socially reserved. It’s not a flaw but an inherent part of being human. Our need for genuine belonging is wired deeply into us, and feeling a lack of it signals to our brains that something is wrong, not that something is wrong with us.

Don’t miss out – follow Bolde for exclusive content daily

3. Introverts are always lonely, and extroverts are never lonely.

Pensive young man looking off in the distance while out for a walk alone in a park in spring

Personality traits do play a role, but they don’t guarantee immunity or susceptibility to loneliness. Introverts might thrive with less social interaction, but they still want to experience deep connections. Extroverts may draw energy from the crowd, but if those interactions stay shallow, they can feel just as lonely. Loneliness isn’t about how many people you know but about the quality of those relationships.

You may also like: People Who Lack Empathy Often Had These 15 Childhood Experiences

4. If you’re in a romantic relationship, you can’t be lonely.

This misconception is particularly harmful. Romantic love doesn’t solve all problems. Even within a dedicated partnership, mismatched communication styles, fading emotional intimacy, or a lack of shared values can create a profound sense of loneliness. Love doesn’t equate to the kind of deep understanding and soul-level connection that staves off loneliness.

Don’t miss out – follow Bolde for exclusive content daily

5. Loneliness is all in your head – you just need a more positive attitude.

man outside standing against wall

While mindset plays a role, telling someone to “cheer up” is dismissive and minimizes a complex issue. Loneliness can have real physical and mental health consequences. Studies show it’s linked to heightened stress, weakened immunity, and an increased risk for depression. It’s a legitimate problem, not a mere case of needing a better playlist or a few affirmations.

You may also like: 15 Phrases Socially Intelligent People Use To Make An Instant Connection

6. Social media makes everyone feel less lonely.

Hopeless young man sitting alone and thinking about problems, covering his mouth.

Ironically, social media often makes loneliness ten times worse. Carefully curated feeds of vacations, parties, and seemingly perfect lives can encourage unhealthy comparisons. We don’t see the real stuff that happens off-camera, merely the highlight reels. This can make our lives feel smaller, less exciting, and create a sense of FOMO. While social media can be a tool for connection, it’s often a poor substitute for the depth found through face-to-face interactions, shared experiences, and the vulnerability of true intimacy.

Don’t miss out – follow Bolde for exclusive content daily

7. Loneliness is only a problem for the elderly or those lacking social circles.

sensitive redhead woman by window

Loneliness is a pandemic affecting all ages. Major life transitions can trigger it – moving to a new city, graduating college, becoming a new parent. Even young people seemingly immersed in social circles can lack the quality connections that protect against loneliness. Life circumstances change as we age, but the risk of loneliness follows us throughout our lives, shifting in intensity depending on our support systems and life events.

You may also like: Things A Narcissist Does When You Enrage Them

8. You have to overcome being lonely on your own.

While developing coping mechanisms is crucial, loneliness isn’t a battle to be won on our own. Reaching out, even when it feels daunting, is a must, Psychology Today points out. Talking to a trusted friend, joining a club that aligns with your interests, volunteering, or seeking therapy can help. We’re social creatures, and connection plays a crucial role in overall well-being. Asking for help and building a robust support system is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Don’t miss out – follow Bolde for exclusive content daily

9. Busy people don’t have time for loneliness.

Staying occupied might be a temporary distraction, but packing your schedule doesn’t shield you from loneliness. True connection takes time and vulnerability, something easily sacrificed for work or endless obligations. We can be surrounded by colleagues and acquaintances yet feel a profound distance if those interactions lack authenticity and true understanding.

You may also like: People Who Rarely Exhibit Empathy Usually Have These 16 Traits

10. Loneliness is always a negative experience.

While chronic loneliness is undoubtedly detrimental, shorter, less intense periods can serve a purpose. Feeling lonely can be a catalyst for self-reflection – it forces us to examine our relationships, our values, and the kind of life we truly want. It can motivate us to step outside our comfort zones, seek new connections, or rekindle old bonds. Sometimes, that pang of loneliness is what pushes us towards the growth we need.

Don’t miss out – follow Bolde for exclusive content daily

11. Admitting to being lonely is shameful.

The stigma surrounding loneliness prevents open conversations, making it harder for people to reach out for support. When we see loneliness as a universal human experience rather than a character flaw, it creates a more compassionate environment. Normalizing conversations about loneliness and sharing our own struggles allows for understanding and empowers people to seek help or make the changes they need.

You may also like: Things A Narcissist Does When You Enrage Them

12. There’s a quick fix to cure loneliness.

Overcoming loneliness is often a process, not a single event. It might involve changing how you interact with current friends, making new connections, seeking therapy, or shifting your mindset about alone time. There’s no magic bullet – it takes effort and a willingness to explore what kind of connections truly fulfill you. But with the right approach and proactive steps, the intensity of loneliness can lessen.

Don’t miss out – follow Bolde for exclusive content daily

13. Once you solve loneliness once, you’ll never be lonely again.

Sadly, life doesn’t work that way. Loneliness can resurface when your circumstances change – a move, a job loss, a breakup, the death of a loved one, etc. Even within a happy life, fleeting pangs of loneliness are part of the human experience. The key is developing coping mechanisms, knowing where to turn for support, and recognizing that these periods often pass.

You may also like: 15 Phrases Socially Intelligent People Use To Make An Instant Connection

14. Technology will eventually solve the loneliness epidemic.

While technology offers ways to connect, it’s ultimately about the quality of those connections. Virtual friendships and online communities can play a role, especially for those with limited mobility or living in remote areas. However, nothing fully replaces the shared energy of in-person interactions – the laughter, the hugs, the shared experiences that build deep bonds. Technology can be a tool, but it’s not a substitute for the multifaceted nature of human connection.

Don’t miss out – follow Bolde for exclusive content daily

15. Feeling lonely is the same for everyone.

Loneliness is deeply personal. Someone mourning a spouse experiences a distinct kind of loneliness compared to someone yearning for their tribe after moving to a new town. Some pangs are tied to specific unmet needs – needing deeper intellectual connection, desiring a close-knit group of friends, or yearning for a romantic partner. Recognizing the specific flavors of your loneliness can guide you towards communities or activities that can address those needs.

You may also like: People Who Lack Empathy Often Had These 15 Childhood Experiences

16. Feeling lonely means you’ve done something wrong.

Loneliness, especially in a culture that glorifies always being “on,” can easily lead to self-blame. It’s important to remember that modern life encourages disconnection – long commutes, demanding jobs, less reliance on extended family and tight-knit neighborhoods. Loneliness is often a symptom of larger conditions, not a sign of your personal failure. Recognizing this allows for kinder self-compassion and motivates you to create the social life that nourishes your soul.

Enjoy this piece? Give it a like and follow Bolde on MSN for more!

Gail is Bolde's social media and partnership manager, as well as an all-around behind-the-scenes renaissance woman. She worked for more than 25 years in her city's local government before making the switch to women's lifestyle and relationship sites, initially at HelloGiggles before making the switch to Bolde.