Are You Sure You're Lonely? Or Are You Just Alone?

Not too long ago, while having coffee with an ex-colleague, we discussed the topic of being alone and loneliness.

And like most people, just because she was alone, she automatically thought that she’s lonely.

Are you alone or lonely?

But that is not, I painstakingly explained to her, necessarily the case.

Who says that being alone means you’re lonely?

Haven’t I always said that it is when one is surrounded by a lot of people that loneliness is felt the most? And I truly believe in it too.

Granted that these two terms are very close in meaning and yet, the differences are so also conspicuously clear.

Being alone simply reflects a relational reality. If you are alone, that means that you are in relative isolation with respect to other people but it does NOT suggest any emotional content about being alone.

Loneliness is felt when there's an emotional or mental vacuum; not when there is no crowd around you

On the other hand, lonesome and/or lonely primarily reflect one's emotional state of feeling disconnected from others, especially with families and loved one. It does NOT suggest a physical relational reality.

See the difference?

And just as I told my friend, all you have to do when you're alone is meet up with people. But if you're lonely, then there is no straight and downright cure.

So, the next time you think you’re lonely, make sure there is an emotional vacuum within your feelings and not come to such a conclusion just because you are alone. Knowing the difference would help, believe me.


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