8 common habits that can actually make loneliness worse, according to psychology

If you’ve ever felt a wave of loneliness, you know it can feel isolating and overwhelming. Sometimes, it’s our own habits that can intensify these feelings, even if we don’t realize it.

Loneliness isn’t just about being alone – it’s a complex emotional state and it’s not something we choose to experience.

Common habits, some of which might seem harmless, can actually make us feel even more lonely. It doesn’t have to be this way, though.

Psychology offers insights on how our behaviors can exacerbate feelings of loneliness. By understanding these habits, we can start to change them and reduce feelings of isolation.

In this article, we’ll explore these habits and discuss how you can break free from them.

1) Spending too much time on social media

Believe it or not, spending hours scrolling through social media feeds might not be the best cure for loneliness. In fact, it can sometimes make things worse.

When you’re feeling lonely, it’s easy to get stuck in a loop of comparing your life to others’. You see pictures of friends hanging out, everyone seemingly having a great time without you. This can lead to feelings of exclusion and intensify your loneliness.

What’s more, being on social media often means you’re not fully present in your current environment. You may be physically alone, but you’re not truly connecting with yourself or engaging in activities that could alleviate your loneliness.

Instead of fostering real connections, social media can create a sense of artificial intimacy. You might end up feeling more disconnected and isolated than before.

Remember, people usually only share the highlights of their lives online. It’s important not to fall into the trap of comparing your behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.

This isn’t to say that you should completely abandon social media. It’s about finding a balance and utilizing these platforms in a way that doesn’t exacerbate feelings of loneliness.

2) Keeping a rigid routine

Routine can be comforting, but sticking to a rigid schedule might actually amplify feelings of loneliness.

When our days become predictable and monotonous, it’s easy to feel like we’re stuck in a rut. We might start longing for connection or excitement to break up the monotony, and in the absence of that, loneliness can creep in.

Furthermore, strict routines can sometimes limit our opportunities for spontaneous social interactions.

If every minute of your day is accounted for, you might miss out on unplanned chats with neighbors, impromptu coffee dates with friends, or even just time to relax and do something out of the ordinary.

While it’s important to have structure in our lives, flexibility can be beneficial too.

Shaking things up a bit can not only make your life more interesting but also help you feel more connected to the world around you.

This is not about discarding routines entirely but rather about striking a balance that allows room for variety and spontaneity. It’s about breaking free from the rigidity that can sometimes come with an overly structured life and embracing a bit of unpredictability.

3) Ignoring your feelings

It’s easy to think that loneliness is a problem to be solved, so you might try to ignore or suppress these feelings.

But did you know that our emotions serve a purpose?

They act as a signal system for our needs.

Loneliness, like hunger or thirst, is your body’s way of telling you something. It’s signaling that you need social interaction. By ignoring your feelings of loneliness, you’re essentially ignoring a basic human need.

Instead of trying to push these feelings away, it can be more helpful to acknowledge and understand them. This doesn’t mean wallowing in self-pity but rather recognizing loneliness as a signal of unmet needs.

Once acknowledged, we can then take steps to address these needs. Whether it’s reaching out to a friend, joining a club or group with similar interests, or even seeking professional help, there are ways we can respond to our body’s signal and address our loneliness in a healthy manner.

In essence, it’s okay to feel lonely. The key is not to ignore it but rather to understand and respond to it in a proactive and self-compassionate way.

4) Believing you’re alone in feeling lonely

When you’re in the midst of loneliness, it’s easy to believe that you’re the only one feeling this way. But here’s the truth: everyone experiences loneliness at some point.

It’s a universal human experience, and there’s no shame in feeling this way. Loneliness doesn’t mean you’re flawed or unlovable. It just means you’re human.

Sometimes, knowing that others have been where you are and have found their way through can be a source of comfort. Sharing your feelings with trusted friends or family members might reveal that they’ve experienced something similar.

We all have our own unique experiences and ways of dealing with loneliness, but understanding that it’s a shared experience can help lessen its sting. It’s like being part of an unseen community, bound by a common human experience.

My advice?

You’re not alone in your loneliness.

Reach out, share your feelings, and let the shared experience of others help guide you through.

5) Overloading your schedule with work

Picture this: you’re feeling lonely, and your solution is to bury yourself in work. After all, the busier you are, the less time you have to feel lonely, right?

While it might seem like a good idea to distract yourself with tasks and responsibilities, overloading your schedule with work can actually make feelings of loneliness worse.

Work is important and fulfilling, but it isn’t a substitute for social interaction or personal fulfillment. In fact, too much work can lead to burnout, leaving you feeling more isolated and disconnected.

Moreover, constantly being preoccupied with work might rob you of the time and energy needed to cultivate meaningful relationships and engage in activities that you enjoy.

The key is balance. Allocate time for work, but also make sure to set aside time for relaxation, hobbies, and socializing.

Finding this balance can help manage feelings of loneliness while also ensuring that other aspects of your life are not neglected.

6) Waiting for others to reach out first

There was a time when I’d sit by the phone, waiting for it to ring. I thought if someone wanted to talk or hang out, they’d reach out first. But often, the phone stayed silent, and my loneliness persisted.

This habit of waiting for others to make the first move can deepen feelings of isolation. It places your social life in the hands of others and can lead to disappointment when they don’t reach out as often as you’d like.

Reaching out to others can feel daunting, especially when you’re already feeling lonely. But remember, everyone appreciates a friendly check-in or an invitation to catch up.

Taking the initiative doesn’t mean you’re desperate or needy. It shows that you value your relationships and are willing to put in the effort to maintain them.

So next time you’re feeling lonely, don’t wait for the phone to ring.

Be the one to dial a number, send a text, or propose a meet-up. You might be surprised at how positively people respond.

7) Neglecting self-care

When loneliness strikes, self-care often takes a backseat. But let’s be honest here, neglecting your own needs is not going to make you feel any less lonely.

Skipping meals, neglecting your hygiene, or skimping on sleep might seem like minor things in the grand scheme of things. But these small acts of self-neglect can add up over time, affecting your physical health and mood, and could potentially make you feel even more isolated.

Self-care isn’t just about bubble baths and spa days. It’s about taking care of your physical health, nurturing your mental well-being, and treating yourself with kindness.

It’s about recognizing that you have needs and that it’s important – and completely okay – to take time out to meet those needs. So eat that nutritious meal, take that refreshing shower, get a good night’s sleep. You deserve it.

Ultimately, taking care of yourself is not selfish. It’s necessary. And it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself when you’re feeling lonely.

8) Not seeking professional help when needed

It’s important to remember that while everyone feels lonely from time to time, persistent loneliness could be a sign of a deeper issue that might need professional help.

If you’ve tried various strategies and nothing seems to alleviate your feelings of loneliness, or if your loneliness is tied to feelings of depression or anxiety, it might be time to seek help from a mental health professional.

Therapists and counselors are trained to help you understand and manage your feelings. They can provide you with tools and techniques to cope with loneliness and guide you towards healthier social habits.

There is absolutely no shame in seeking help. In fact, it’s one of the bravest things you can do for yourself.

As we wrap up this list, the most crucial thing to keep in mind is that your feelings are valid.

Loneliness is a universal human experience, and you’re not alone in feeling this way. Reach out, take care of yourself, and don’t hesitate to seek help when needed. You’re important, and your well-being matters.


Understanding loneliness is an important step towards living a more fulfilled, balanced life. This article has shed light on some habits that might be making your loneliness worse, but remember, the power to change these habits lies within you.

Spending time nurturing your emotional well-being is never time wasted. And being emotionally intelligent means understanding your feelings, including loneliness, and taking proactive steps to manage them.

So here’s to making changes, big or small, towards reducing feelings of loneliness. It’s okay to feel lonely and there’s no shame in seeking help when needed.

Above all else, you’re not alone in your loneliness. Reach out to others, take care of yourself, and know that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.

Here’s to living a more connected and less lonely life!

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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