How feeling lonely impacts our perceptions and behaviors in self-defeating ways
Loneliness is a personal and subjective experience, one which is defined not by the quantity of our relationships but by their subjective quality. Not all lonely people live in isolation. A person might have many friends around them or live with a partner, yet still feel the deep ache of emotional or social isolation (read Are You Married but Lonely here).
For some of us, loneliness begins gradually. One friend moves away, another has a child, a third works a seventy hour work week, and before we know it the social circle that had sustained us in the past ceases to exist and we find ourselves spending most of our weekends alone. For others, loneliness is a result of life transitions such as leaving for college, enlisting in the military, losing a partner to death or divorce, starting a new job, retiring and losing the daily company of collegues and associates, or moving to a new town or country.
Guy Winch, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist, keynote speaker, and author whose books have already been translated into thirteen languages. His most recent book is Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries (Hudson Street Press, 2013). The Squeaky Wheel: Complaining the Right Way to Get Results, Improve Your Relationships and Enhance Self-Esteem (Walker & Company) was published in January 2011. Dr. Winch received his doctorate in clinical psychology from New York University in 1991 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in family and couples therapy at NYU Medical Center. He has been working with individuals, couples and families in his private practice in Manhattan, since 1992. He is a member of the American Psychological Association. In addition to the Blog on this site, Dr. Winch also writes the popular Squeaky Wheel Blog on Psychology Today.com, and blogs for Huffington Post.