Loneliness (quotes)


Loneliness is sadness about being alone


Excessive loneliness is painful and harmful


Loneliness can be an acute form of suffering…

  • Loneliness is the worst of all tortures, the worst of all sufferings. Paulo Coelho
  • Strife is better than loneliness. Irish Proverb
  • Isolation is the sum total of wretchedness to a man. Thomas Carlyle
  • The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved. Mother Teresa
  • For the way loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve—like the soul’s version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable. Laini Taylor
  • Loneliness is about the scariest thing out there. Joss Whedon
  • You get lonely, is what it is. A person’s not supposed to go through life with absolutely nobody. It’s not normal. The longer you go by yourself the weirder you get, and the weirder you get the longer you go by yourself. It’s a loop and you gotta do something to get out of it. Jim Shepard
  • Nothing makes us more vulnerable than loneliness, except greed. Thomas Harris
  • Life dies inside a person when there are no others willing to be-friend him. He thus gets filled with emptiness and a non-existent sense of self-worth. Mark R. J. Lavoie
  • Loneliness is the most terrible poverty. Mother Teresa
  • Suffering

… and over time, can do harm to us

  • Loneliness is the prison of the human spirit. When we are lonely, we pace back and forth in small, shut-in worlds. John Powell
  • Loneliness breaks the spirit. Jewish Proverb
  • I believe a lot of disease comes from anxiety, loneliness. Tom Cochrane
  • Over time, loneliness gets inside you and doesn’t go away. Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  • Loneliness leads to nothing good, only detachment. And sometimes the people who most need to reach out are the people least capable of it. Joss Whedon

Some loneliness in life is inevitable


Loneliness is an inescapable human condition…

  • The most evident quality of human life is its loneliness. Austin O’Malley
  • I remember my grandfather telling me how each of us must live with a full measure of loneliness that is inescapable, and we must not destroy ourselves with our passion to escape the aloneness. Jim Harrison
  • Loneliness is the unloneliest feeling in the world, as everyone has experienced it. Jarod Kintz
  • The tragedy of this world is that everyone is alone. For a life in the past cannot be shared with the present. Alan Lightman
  • The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence. Thomas Wolfe
  • Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone. Octavio Paz

… for the truth is that life can be a lonely affair

  • We enter the world alone, we leave the world alone. James A. Froude
  • We live as we dream–alone…. Joseph Conrad
  • Separate we come, and separate we go, And this be it known, is all that we know. Conrad Aiken
  • Remember we’re all in this alone. Lily Tomlin
  • We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone. Orson Welles

However, loneliness is something we tend to avoid talking about

  • Forget sex or politics or religion, loneliness is the subject that clears out a room. Doug Coupland
  • A man in a bookstore buys a book on loneliness and every woman in the store hits on him. A woman buys a book on loneliness and the store clears out. Doug Coupland

Things that do not necessarily cure loneliness


Having others in our lives is no sure cure for loneliness…

  • The loneliness you feel with another person, the wrong person, is the loneliest of all. Deb Caletti
  • Lonely people, in talking to each other can make each other lonelier. Lillian Hellman
  • I am lonely, yet not everybody will do. I don’t know why, some people fill the gaps and others emphasize my loneliness. Anaïs Nin
  • Loneliness is never more cruel than when it is felt in close propinquity with someone who has ceased to communicate. Germaine Greer
  • FriendshipConnection

… and being surrounded by many people can sometimes make us feel most alone

  • In cities no one is quiet but many are lonely; in the country, people are quiet but few are lonely. Geoffrey F. Fisher
  • It’s paradoxical that were people are the most closely crowded, in the big coastal cities in the East and West, the loneliness is the greatest. Robert M. Pirsig
  • It is strange how the presence of additional people can make you feel more alone. James Alan Gardner
  • When you’re surrounded by all these people, it can be lonelier than when you’re by yourself. You can be in a huge crowd, but if you don’t feel like you can trust anyone or talk to anybody, you feel like you’re really alone. Fiona Apple
  • Sometimes being surrounded by everyone is the loneliest, because you’ll realise you have no one to turn to. Soraya
  • We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness. Albert Schweitzer
  • Little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth. For a crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love. Francis Bacon
  • Loneliness is a state of feeling that can be changed. People may still feel lonely even among the crowd. Toba Beta

Even fame and wealth are no cure for loneliness

  • If I am a legend, then why am I so lonely? Judy Garland
  • Onstage, I make love to 25,000 people – then I go home alone. Janis Joplin
  • Fame always brings loneliness. Success is as ice cold and lonely as the North Pole. Vicki Baum
  • Loneliness is the universal problem of rich people. Joan Collins
  • It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely. Albert Einstein
  • WealthFame

Loneliness is cured by true connection with others


We yearn deeply to escape our loneliness

  • The eternal quest of the human being is to shatter his loneliness. Norman Cousins

Loneliness is our reminder that we need to connect deeply with others to feel whole

  • Loneliness is part of being human. It reminds us that we are not complete in ourselves. David Runcorn
  • Loneliness is proof that your innate search for connection is intact. Martha Beck
  • When we truly realize that we are all alone is when we need others the most. Ronald Anthony
  • In all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable is each other. Carl Sagan
  • Connection

Meaningful relationships are a vital part of life…

  • We need others. We need others to love and we need to be loved by them. There is no doubt that without it, we too, like the infant left alone, would cease to grow, cease to develop. Leo Buscaglia
  • The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration. Pearl S. Buck
  • Only through our connectedness to others can we really know and enhance the self. And only through working on the self can we begin to enhance our connectedness to others. Harriet Goldhor Lerner
  • I think what makes us human is our interconnectedness among people. It’s our ability to form and maintain relationships. It’s the barometer by which we call ourselves human. Thomas Jane
  • If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth. Mitsugi Saotome
  • From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men – above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends. Albert Einstein
  • We know from daily life that we exist for other people first of all, for whose smiles and well- being our own happiness depends. Albert Einstein
  • We will never be fully satisfied emotionally until we develop deep and loving relationships. James J. Jones
  • No man is an island. John Donne
  • Human relationships always help us to carry on because they always presuppose further developments, a future – and also because we live as if our only task was precisely to have relationships with other people. Albert Camus
  • If no one in the entire world cared about you, did you really exist at all? Cassandra Clare
  • Life is relationships… The rest is just details.
  • Men exist for the sake of one another. Marcus Aurelius
  • How we need another soul to cling to. Sylvia Plath
  • Principles for healthy relationships

… essential for our physical and emotional health

  • If you want to predict how happy someone is, or how long she will live (and if you are not allowed to ask about her genes or personality), you should find out about her social relationships. Having strong social relationships strengthens the immune system, extends life (more than does quitting smoking), speeds recovery from surgery, and reduces the risks of depression and anxiety disorders. Jonathan Haidt
  • Cultivating positive relationships is essential to overall psychological wealth. Although people differ in their need for social relationships, and in the types of social relationships they most enjoy, we all need to receive and give social support. We all need to be loved and to love others. Ed Diener & Robert Biswas- Diener
  • Recent research shows that there are some things worth striving for; there are some external conditions of life that can make you lastingly happier. One of these conditions is relatedness—the bonds we form, and need to form, with others. Jonathan Haidt
  • Health

Overcome your fear of others…

  • Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other. John Steinbeck
  • Man’s loneliness is but his fear of life. Eugene O’Neill
  • What loneliness is more lonely than distrust? George Eliot
  • Fear

… and reach out

  • When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone. Tennessee Williams
  • Don’t try to hog loneliness and keep it all to yourself. Share it with a special someone. Jarod Kintz
  • People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges. Newton
  • If someone listens or stretches out a hand or whispers a word of encouragement or attempts to understand a lonely person, extraordinary things begin to happen. Loretta Firzaris
  • When you have nobody you can make a cup of tea for, when nobody needs you, that’s when I think life is over. Audrey Hepburn

Learn to share your inner most self deeply with other people…

  • The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared. Lois Lowry
  • Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets. Paul Tournier
  • What we don’t let out traps us. We think, No one else feels this way, I must be crazy. So we don’t say anything. And we become enveloped by a deep loneliness, not knowing where our feelings come from or what to do with them. Why do I feel this way? Sabrina Ward Harrison
  • The whole problem of life, then, is this: how to break out of one’s own loneliness, how to communicate with others. Cesare Pavese
  • Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible. Carl Jung
  • I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone. Rainer Maria Rilke
  • Loneliness is never more cruel than when it is felt in close propinquity with someone who has ceased to communicate. Germaine Greer
  • Vulnerability

… for intimacy is the polar opposite of loneliness…

  • Physical distance between people has nothing to do with loneliness. It’s psychic distance. Robert M. Pirsig
  • All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart. Tahereh Mafi
  • I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone. Rainer Maria Rilke
  • The opposite of Loneliness is not Togetherness , It’s Intimacy. Richard Bach
  • Intimacy, Connection

… and love is the cure for loneliness

  • We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community. Dorothy Day
  • Love is something far more than desire for sexual intercourse; it is the principal means of escape from the loneliness which afflicts most men and women throughout the greater part of their lives. Bertrand Russell
  • We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone. Orson Welles
  • I think that if we look for love courageously, it reveals itself, and we wind up attracting even more love. If one person really wants us, everyone does. But if we’re alone, we become even more alone. Life is strange. Paulo Coelho
  • To be alone with yourself is to be alone. To be in the company of others is to be alone together. The only time you are not alone is when you forget yourself and reach out in love — the lines of self blur, and just for a wild, flickering moment you experience the miracle of other.  And now you know the secret.  Vera Nazarian
  • Love

Appreciate and nurture your friendships

  • There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematician that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one. K. Chesterton
  • Go oft to the house of thy friend, for weeds choke the unused path. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Friendship needs no words – it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness. Dag Hammarskjöld
  • No one would choose a friendless existence on condition of having all the other things in the world. Aristotle
  • When friendship disappears then there is a space left open to that awful loneliness of the outside world which is like the cold space between the planets. It is an air in which men perish utterly. Hilaire Belloc
  • Friendship

Learn to be authentic

  • The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend! Edith Wharton
  • Be who you are

Be able to be alone at times


Part of life is coming to accept your aloneness and learning your way around loneliness

  • When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings. Elizabeth Gilbert
  • It’s no good trying to get rid of your own aloneness. You’ve got to stick to it all your life. Only at times, at times, the gap will be filled in. At times! But you have to wait for the times. Accept your own aloneness and stick to it, all your life. And then accept the times when the gap is filled in, when they come. But they’ve got to come. You can’t force them. H. Lawrence
  • Loneliness accepted becomes a gift leading one from a life dominated by tears to the discovery of one’s true self and finally to the heart of longing and the love of God.  Kelley Kelsey
  • Acceptance

It’s important to be able to be alone at times…

  • Perhaps only people who are capable of real togetherness have that look of being alone in the universe. The others have a certain stickiness, they stick to the mass. H. Lawrence
  • I was lonely. I felt it deeply and permanently, that this state of being on my own might never disappear. But I welcomed the loneliness, which had everything to do with being anonymous. It’s never loneliness that nibbles away at a person’s insides, but not having room inside themselves to be comfortably alone. Rachel Sontag
  • To dare to live alone is the rarest courage; since there are many who had rather meet their bitterest enemy in the field, than their own hearts in their closet. Charles Caleb Colton
  • I was never less alone than when by myself. Edward Gibbon
  • It would do the world good if every man would compel himself occasionally to be absolutely alone. Most of the world’s progress has come out of such loneliness. Bruce Barton
  • I have friends who I get along with who I know get very uncomfortable being alone, unless they’re with people, talking all the time. Whether it’s on the phone, or in person, they’re never by themselves. Whereas I could be alone for months. Viggo Mortensen
  • By all means use sometimes to be alone. Salute thyself; see what thy soul doth wear.    George Herbert
  • Solitude

… for this will save you misfortune

  • All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone. Blaise Pascal
  • All men’s misfortunes spring from their hatred of being alone. Jean De La Bruyere

Sometimes the hardest thing about being alone is facing ourselves

  • The worst thing about loneliness is that it brings one face to face with oneself. Mary Balogh
  • To dare to live alone is the rarest courage; since there are many who had rather meet their bitterest enemy in the field, than their own hearts in their closet. Charles Caleb Colton

Realise that being alone can be vastly different from being lonely

  • Being alone is a markedly different experience than being lonely. Clark E. Moustakas
  • Loneliness is black coffee and late-night television; solitude is herb tea and soft music. Pearl Cleage
  • Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is richness of self. May Sarton
  • Then stirs the feeling infinite, so felt in solitude, where we are least alone. George Gordon Byron
  • Language … has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone. Paul Tillich
  • Solitude is a condition of peace that stands in direct opposition to loneliness. Loneliness is like sitting in an empty room and being aware of the space around you. It is a condition of separateness. Solitude is becoming one with the space around you. It is a condition of union. loneliness is small, solitude is large. Loneliness closes in around you; solitude expands toward the infinite. Loneliness has its roots in words, in an internal conversation that nodbody answers; solitude has it’s roots in the great silence of eternity. Kent Nerburn
  • I was never less alone than when by myself. Edward Gibbon
  • There’s a lot to be said for being alone. But you and I know, don’t we, Flavia, that being alone and being lonely are not at all the same thing? Alan Bradley
  • What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.

Make friends with yourself and accept yourself as you are

  • There is no loneliness if one is satisfied with oneself. Hans-Ulrich Rieker
  • People who like themselves and realize that they are God’s creation, are never really lonely. It is only when we lose track of our own value, and our personal connection with the divine, that we are desperate for others to distract us from our loss.  Richard Nelson
  • If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company. Jean-Paul Sartre
  • I’m not much but I’m all I have. Philip K. Dick
  • When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death – ourselves. Eda LeShan
  • You’ll never be lonely if you learn to befriend yourself.
  • You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with. Wayne Dyer
  • They are never alone that are accompanied with noble thoughts. Sir Philip Sidney
  • The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself. Mark Twain
  • The end comes when we no longer talk with ourselves. It is the end of genuine thinking and the beginning of the final loneliness. Edward Gibbon
  • Self-loveSelf-acceptance

Transcend loneliness by getting in touch with your innermost being


Overcome your loneliness by regularly going within…

  • Loneliness is one of the bugbears of mankind. With some people, it is a constant source of unhappiness. They make plans, sometimes exceedingly complex, to keep it at bay. They think that it lies outside. It really lies within their own consciousness. John Daniel Barry
  • Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony. Douglas Coupland
  • The secret to overcoming a feeling of loneliness is not going outside to meet people. That will only keep you from being alone.  The secret is going inside yourself, to realize your true kinship with God and with all the human beings that he created.  Amy Grant
  • We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being. Hermann Hesse
  • To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. The movement from loneliness to solitude, however, is the beginning of any spiritual life because it it is the movement from the restless senses to the restful spirit, from the outward-reaching cravings to the inward- reaching search, from the fearful clinging to the fearless play. Henri J.M. Nouwen
  • …I also believe that introversion is my greatest strength. I have such a strong inner life that I’m never bored and only occasionally lonely. No matter what mayhem is happening around me, I know I can always turn inward. Susan Cain

… to get back in touch with your inner most being…

  • At the innermost core of all loneliness is a deep and powerful yearning for union with one’s lost self. Brendan Francis
  • Loneliness is one of the most feared states in modern life. Perhaps this fear has come about because so many of us have a vague awareness of a surging river of loneliness deep inside.  Much of our activity and busyness is designed to keep that river within its banks.  Maybe loneliness has received a bad rap in today’s world.  Maybe loneliness is one of the ways our inner being communicates with us, letting us know that we need to take the time to get back in touch with ourselves.  Could it be that the emptiness we feel in our solar plexus (and try so hard to avoid) is a friendly reminder that something (or someone!) has gone missing–we ourselves!   When we are lonely, it’s usually a signal that we need to spend some time with ourselves.  The next time you get this signal, try taking some time alone.  Anne Wilson Schaef
  • And loneliness. I should say something of loneliness. The panic, the sweeping hysteria that comes not when you are without others, but when you are without yourself, adrift. I should describe the filthy province of mind, the blighted district inside, the place so crowded you cannot raise the lids of your eyes. Your shoulders are drawn and your head has fallen and your chest is bruised by the constant assault of your heart. Hilary Thayer Hamann
  • Presence

… and to get to know and understand yourself

  • Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way. Janet Fitch
  • Self-knowledge

Realise that God is within you

  • Never fear being alone, because you never are. Rod McKuen
  • The secret to overcoming a feeling of loneliness is not going outside to meet people. That will only keep you from being alone.  The secret is going inside yourself, to realize your true kinship with God and with all the human beings that he created.  Amy Grant
  • People who like themselves and realize that they are God’s creation, are never really lonely. It is only when we lose track of our own value, and our personal connection with the divine, that we are desperate for others to distract us from our loss.  Richard Nelson
  • When you close your doors, and make darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; nay, God is within, and your genius is within. And what need have they of light to see what you are doing? Epictetus
  • The soul hardly ever realizes it, but whether he is a believer or not, his loneliness is really a homesickness for God. Hubert Van Zeller
  • People sometimes ask me if I do not feel lonely on holidays. How can I feel lonely when I live in the constant awareness of God’s presence? I love and I enjoy being with people, but when I am alone I enjoy being alone with God. Peace Pilgrim
  • God

More ways to transcend loneliness


Music, film and books can help us feel less lonely…

  • Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. Maya Angelou
  • I also wanted to express the strength of cinema to hide reality, while being entertaining. Cinema can fill in the empty spaces of your life and your loneliness. Pedro Almodovar
  • If I could always read I should never feel the want of company. George Gordon Byron
  • MusicBooksMovies

… as can writing

  • Writing is an antidote for loneliness. Steven Berkoff
  • Writing

Create a sense of community

  • Any decent society must generate a feeling of community. Community offsets loneliness. It gives people a vitally necessary sense of belonging.  Yet today the institutions on which community depends are crumbling in all the techno-societies.  The result is a spreading plague of loneliness.  Alvin Toffler
  • We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community. Dorothy Day
  • What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured. Kurt Vonnegut
  • Community

Have a place to go back to

  • Loneliness isn’t about being by yourself. That’s fine, right and good, desirable in many ways. Loneliness is about finding a landing- place, or not, and knowing that, whatever you do, you can go back there. The opposite of loneliness isn’t company, it’s return. A place to return. Jeanette Winterson

Final thoughts


Suffering can be a very lonely experience

  • There is the solitude of suffering, when you go through darkness that is lonely, intense, and terrible. Words become powerless to express your pain; what others hear from your words is so distant and different from what you are actually suffering. John O’Donohue
  • Suffering

Don’t be scared to be different and unique even if this means being lonely at times


Let your loneliness spur you to pursue what’s important

  • Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for. Dag Hammarskjold

Loneliness cures vanity

  • There is none more lonely than the man who loves only himself. Abraham Ibn Esra
  • The surest cure for vanity is loneliness. Thomas Wolfe
  • If you are afraid of being lonely, don’t try to be right. Jules Renard
  • Vanity

On a lighter note

  • Be good and you will be lonely. Mark Twain
  • Don’t try to hog loneliness and keep it all to yourself. Share it with a special someone. Jarod Kintz
  • Golf is the loneliest of games not excluding postal chess. Peter Dobereiner
  • However lonely you feel, you’re never alone. There are literally millions of bugs, mites and bacteria living in your house. Goodnight.
  • I went to a therapy group to help me cope with loneliness but no one else turned up. Stewart Francis
  • If that boy had a good idea, it would die of loneliness.
  • If you are afraid of loneliness, don’t marry. Anton Chekhov
  • If you feel a bit lonely, forgotten, or just need someone to cheer you up remember…You can always change your birthday on facebook!
  • If you had a second brain, it would be lonely.
  • In Montana a policeman will pull you over because he’s lonely. Rich Hall
  • It’s lonely at the top, but you eat better.
  • Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering… and it’s all over much too soon. Woody Allen
  • No man is lonely while eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention. Robert Morley
  • Overlonely And Underkissed. Faron Young
  • People tell me there are a lot of guys like me which doesn’t explain why I’m lonely. Mort Sahl
  • So, a thought crossed your mind? Must have been a long and lonely journey.
  • Sometimes I get really lonely – especially when I’m throwing a Frisbee. Mitch Hedberg
  • You’d think such a little mind would be lonely in such a big head. Herbert Beerbohm Tree