Loneliness NZ

Signs of loneliness

Loneliness is complex! Everyone is different – and all of us display some of the signs of loneliness at times, even if we are not lonely. And some lonely people don’t recognise they are lonely, and simply have accepted the feelings they have as normal. So when we consider signs of loneliness we look how these fit together, and in the context of what else is happening for you.

  • Yourself: How satisfied are you with your life?
  • Others: How well do you come across to others? How healthy are your relationships with others? Are people around you happy, lonely, worried about you?
  • Your Landscape: What is happening in your external environment? Are you going through a work reorganisation? Have you recently relocated? What stressors are outside of your control?

When you should be concerned

You having a few signs of loneliness now and again is a very different context to you having an increasing number of signs and/or increasing intensity of how low you feel with some of these. Also to consider is that chronic loneliness sometimes starts with one or two signs of loneliness, which affects either your behaviour or others, and that leads to further loneliness. So intervening early is important for your overall well-being.

Being lonely is not the same as being depressed or having anxiety; and it is not a mental illness. However loneliness has been shown to be a precursor to depression and some other physical and mental illnesses. Therefore alleviating loneliness early on in a sustained way will be considerably beneficial to your health and might enable you to avoid depression and/or any more serious health issues.

Loneliness NZ would like to help you with your loneliness but is not a substitute for professional medical advice. So if you have already identified yourself as lonely AND are showing signs of depression, mental or physical illness or have thoughts of self-harm (or acted on them) please see a health professional such as your GP.  

Delving deeper

We have grouped the signs for loneliness in to five categories, shown by the coloured boxes below.  To delve deeper into the signs of loneliness, please click the box of interest.

The signs of loneliness shown on these pages are not intended to be exhaustive; instead they are intended to be a guide for you.