1. The definition of loneliness

What is meant by loneliness may be best demonstrated through comparison with solitude.

  • Loneliness comes when we’re forced to be alone. Solitude is a decision to be alone.
  • Loneliness sweeps over us and stays with us despite our best efforts to get rid of it. Solitude can be started and ended at will.
  • Loneliness is painful, draining and unpleasant. Solitude is refreshing, rejuvenating and enjoyable. In essence loneliness is the experience of being alienated from relationships.

2. The extent of loneliness

a. Transient-situational loneliness arises because of temporary social causes. A move away from home, the break up of a relationship, starting a new job, divorce or death are the kinds of things that initiate this type of loneliness. It lasts from a few minutes to a few months.

b. Chronic-persisting loneliness arises because of permanent psychological factors some of which we’ll consider in a moment.

3. The causes of loneliness

We’ll consider three of the causes identified by Psychologists; social, developmental and psychological.

a. Social Causes

This includes factors brought about by the rapid social changes in our era. Three current societal trends have exacerbated the experience of loneliness.

i. Urbanization.

ii. Technology.

iii. Mobility.

b. Developmental Causes

Three developmental needs must be met if loneliness is to be avoided. We need to experience attachment to others, acceptance by others and we need to acquire social skills.

i. Attachment to Others.

ii. Acceptance by Others.

iii. Acquiring Skills.

c. Psychological Causes

Loneliness appears more often in people who demonstrate the following character traits

i. Low Self Esteem.

ii. Inability to Communicate.

iii. Self Defeating Attitude.

4. The remedy for loneliness

a. Admit the Problem

b. Consider the Cause

c. Change our Thinking

a. We need to concentrate on our relationship with Christ

b. We need to concentrate on our relationship with church

Further Resources

  • Peter Hicks, What Could I Say? IVP
  • Gary Collins, Christian Counselling, Word
  • Geoff Baker, Friends, IVP
  • Biblical Counsel for Concerned Singles, J.S. Forrey, Spring 1996 The Journal of Biblical Counselling, Christian Counselling and Education Foundation

  • Loneliness: God’s Remedy, J.V. Clarke, Fall 2005, The Journal of Biblical Counselling, Christian Counselling and Education Foundation