Thursday, July 3, 2008

Loneliness a "woman" thing?

Being lonely is often described as universal, even among married women. In fact, many married women describe themselves as lonely, either because they are not emotionally close to their partner or because they depend on their partner for most or all social contacts.

People suffer from two forms of loneliness:

  • Social Loneliness
  • Emotional Loneliness

Social loneliness is brought on by a lack of social network. Everyone needs people for "hanging out."

Women with an active social life rarely suffer social loneliness. Others, for various reasons such as being shy, a workaholic, or new to an area, do not have a social network in place. The first step, then, will be to rebuild or develop a social network.

Emotional loneliness is the absence of a close emotional relationship. Those superficial acquaintances that can cure social loneliness won't touch the emotional variety. That explains why people can party for weeks and still feel lonely.

Although even one close relationship can cure emotional loneliness for many, that close relationship is much harder to build than a social network.


1. Developing a close relationship can be scary. All close relationships require self-disclosure. That frightens many people because of the potential rejection factor.

2. Just as with a love relationship, any close relationship requires a certain amount of "chemistry," that click that comes with finding a kindred spirit. Again, just as with chemistry and love, it becomes a "numbers game." We need to meet a lot of people to find our kindred spirits. Meeting a lot of people requires a lot of effort. And it does not happen quickly.

3. Developing a close relationship also requires a non-competitive atmosphere. Dropping that competitive self is hard-to-impossible for many, especially those who have been socialized to be competitive beings.

Is loneliness a "woman" thing? No. Men and women suffer from loneliness in exactly the same way. In many cases, women often have a much better friend and family network for curing emotional loneliness. Men, however, can have a better network for curing social loneliness with the male "buddy" system.

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