Loneliness vs. Solitude

And how to switch

Olabanji Stephen
2 min readMar 14, 2023

Solitude is when you enjoy your own company
Loneliness is when it feels like a punishment

Solitude feels rewarding
Loneliness feels unpleasant

Solitude is a choice (you’re happy to make)
Loneliness is something you’d rather not have (or forced)

Solitude doesn't feel like you’re not loved or cared for
Loneliness does

Solitude offers an opportunity for introspection, imaginative exploration, and deep work
Loneliness triggers a predilection to feel sad and somewhat rejected.

Solitude is being physically alone and being fine with it
You can feel lonely even if you are not isolated

Solitude is associated with positive emotions
Loneliness is associated with negative emotions

The key is to track your emotions and understand why you feel them.
Now, that’ll require some detachment and it can be extremely difficult but here’s an expression from Dr. Jordan Peterson that I find useful in this case, “treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping”

Track how you feel, then acknowledge it, then ask, “why?”
Sometimes, walking through the answers might require having conversations with people that make you feel unloved or unheard (or whatever negative emotion it is)

Then, start associating these emotions with events and the real reasons behind them (not what you labeled them to be). And that begins your healing journey. Because now, you know it not because you’re ugly, or short, or boring, or not intelligent, and on and on…

It’s also useful to seek out new connections and make new friends (your kind of friends).

And the last tip would be, to do something you love when you’re alone.

Another side of this is personality. Personality does play a role because if you are higher in extraversion, you are likely to feel lonely pretty quickly but perhaps, I'll write about that in the next post.

PS: I’m not a clinical psychologist and this post is not a prescription in any way. Please see a psychologist for professional help.



Olabanji Stephen

I see the world differently and attempt to interpret it in ways that inspire genius