Loneliness NZ

Meaning of loneliness

Loneliness is an emotional state that arises from not having the desired sufficient meaningful connections with others – those people you could rely on in time of need. Loneliness is not related to how many friends or relationships you have, or whether you are alone or amongst people.

Loneliness and social isolation are different concepts but they are interconnected…one can exacerbate the other, or they can be simultaneously causing distress.

Triggers of loneliness

Loneliness can be triggered when you:

Remember past relationships

...feel pain remembering any significant relationship (to you) that has ended for any reason (death, separation, divorce).

Experience unrequitted love

...feel empty in love from a relationship which you desire to be in but you are not noticed, or which you are in one but feel neglected.

Feel unfulfilled by close people

...realise your relationships (siblings, friends, partners) are not emotionally satisfying.

Are not understood by someone

...recognise that you are not truly known and understood by another (anyone at all or a particular individual).

Life changes around you

...have less access to social relationships through changed life circumstances.

Feeling lonely

When you do not have one or more people in your life where caring and deep understanding is mutually felt, you feel unfulfilled. You feel sadness, and heartache…. and distress.  Because loneliness is a feeling of being disconnected, you can feel lonely in circumstances of not being alone, even after:

  • having recently met new people in your new job;
  • connected with many people who were meaningful to you in your past on social media;
  • being amongst people in a crowd at an organised event;
  • being married for twenty years.

The feeling of disconnection is a perception in the lonely person’s mind…so if someone perceives that their world is not right, and they say they are lonely, then they are in fact lonely.

Depths of loneliness

Loneliness sometimes distorts our perceptions of our relationships. People who are lonely might feel unwanted, unloved, undesirable, insignificant, despairing, insecure, or abandoned. When this happens you might choose to become socially isolated, withdrawing even further from those whānau, friends and family, who could lessen your loneliness.

As you become more lonely, people around you might reduce or altogether stop their previous meaningful connections, creating a situation of further social isolation.

Loneliness can cause you to become emotionally isolated. Prolonged or chronic loneliness can lead you to believe that you are depressed, or, in some circumstances, can lead to depression.

Loneliness NZ helps people who feel lonely to understand themselves and people around them, and to work to improve their healthy interactions with people. For more information, see ‘I’m feeling lonely‘. 

Additionally Loneliness NZ works with groups to help people understand how they might reduce loneliness in New Zealand. For more information, see ‘Let’s prevent loneliness‘.

Related terms

One way to further understand what loneliness means is to explore related concepts and terminology (by selecting one of the coloured rectangles below).

These terms may or may not overlap with the meaning of loneliness, but give further insight into the nature of being alone, loneliness, and various forms of isolation.

Let's prevent loneliness

For many people a first step into looking how to do something is to search the internet. So let’s have a quick look at what typing into Google offers us to start considering loneliness.

  • The word “Loneliness” returns a staggering 8,670,000 results.
  • Entering “advice on being less lonely” return’s 2,480,000 results.
  • Asking for “Let’s prevent loneliness in New Zealand” we get 523,000 results.
  • Finally for “meetup groups in New Zealand” gives 281,000 results.

So if we have at our finger tips such a huge amount of information and a wide range of opportunities to meet people, why are so many New Zealanders so lonely?

Four friends

Navigating our website

Our website has been designed to help you to understand loneliness and why it needs to be conquered. A key part of conquering loneliness is preventing it in the first place.

If you are ready to take the next step, click the button to get started on preventing loneliness:

To further understand why we need to prevent loneliness, we have information on what the ‘terms of loneliness’ mean; loneliness questions and answers (Q&A); signs of loneliness; science of loneliness; why loneliness is a significant problem in New Zealand (i.e. its health effects and financial costs); and how changes in society has contributed to an increase in loneliness.  To widen your understanding of these factors click on the coloured box you would like to explore or scroll down the “Let’s prevent loneliness” menu.

Loneliness NZ let's prevent loneliness logo

We are a building a new Trust. We are actively developing our website. To achieve all our purposes well we will need funding to expand our resources.

We would like to hear from you. If our current resources are insufficient to help you right now, we will let you know; and will keep in touch to let you know when we can help you.

So please get in touch with us.  We’re intent on helping you!