Loneliness: different for everybody
Loneliness is a feeling, so it does not always mean the same to everyone. For instance, someone can have very few contacts, but not feel lonely at all, while another person can have a large network, yet suffer from loneliness.
There are two types of loneliness:
- emotional loneliness: missing a close, emotional and intimate bond with someone (e.g., a close friendship)
- social loneliness: lacking a broad social network of people with whom you have something in common (e.g., colleagues, neighbours, an inner circle of friends)
People need both forms of relationships, but the extent to which they do differs from person to person. That is why you cannot put a number on how many high-quality contacts you “should” have in order not to feel lonely, as it is a very subjective experience.
Everyone feels lonely sometimes. Mostly, this lonely feeling disappears spontaneously as soon as you start feeling better.
When someone has no or few social contacts, we can speak of social isolation.