Loneliness and isolation

Loneliness and isolation occur when you feel disconnected from yourself or the people around you. You can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely.

It's normal to feel this way sometimes, but it becomes unhealthy if the feeling lasts too long.

If you are lonely you may feel:

  • Unloved
  • Excluded from a group (e.g. your peers, family or society)
  • Like you don't have any friends
  • Like everyone except you is in a relationship
  • Like you can't adjust to a new environment (perhaps you have moved or started a new school)
  • Distant from friends and family
  • Out of touch with society
  • Very different from others
  • That you have no choice other than to be alone

Being lonely and isolated can make you feel horrible about yourself and can lead to illness, depression or even suicide.

It is very important to address your feelings. Talk to a trusted adult like a parent, doctor, teacher, school counsellor or other family member. Or call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. We are always here to listen.

Here are some suggestions to help you break free from your feelings of isolation and loneliness:

  • Remember that you're not alone. Lots of people feel the same way you're feeling right now.
  • Get physically active — it will make you feel better about yourself.
  • Join a group or club that interests you.
  • Work on hobbies that you've always had an interest in or try a new one.
  • Get involved in classroom discussions and conversations.
  • Try meeting new people.
  • Start a conversation with someone new.
  • Volunteer your time to worthwhile causes.
  • Visit with people you care about.
  • Put time into the friendships that you already have.
  • Be proactive: make the first move by calling or writing to distant friends.
  • Learn to forgive. If anger and resentment are keeping you from pursuing a friendship that was once important to you, make amends.
  • Live in the real world: limit your time spent with television, books and the Internet.
  • If problems from the past are keeping you isolated, seek help.

You can overcome loneliness but you will have to make changes that will require effort - only you can decide which changes to make in order to feel better about yourself and your situation.

Last Reviewed September 2012 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team

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