87 Loneliness Quotes That Will Make You Think, Laugh — And Cry
Loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself.
— Rupi Kaur
There is something so very familiar yet frightening about loneliness but at the same time, it’s helpful to remember that it’s an incredibly common experience.
Loneliness can create a sense of vulnerability that leads us toward self-reflection, particularly when our feelings are mirrored in thoughts that others have openly shared with the world.
An eternal kind of comfort comes with knowing that others have experienced loneliness and pondered what it means to them through the written word.
In this article, we’ll share:
Editor’s Note: This article is part of our ongoing series The Roots Of Loneliness Project, the first-of-its-kind resource that comprehensively explores the phenomenon of loneliness and over 100 types that we might experience over the course of our lives.
Thoughtful Quotes About Loneliness & Feeling Lonely
Riding the wave of emotions that loneliness brings can be challenging.
There are times when loneliness can feel calm, and other times when it feels violently unsettling.
Loneliness is a conscious state that we’ve all experienced at some time or another — or will, someday.
The following quotes characterize the vast expanse that is loneliness.
Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.
— Janet Fitch
I have suffered from being alone, but because I have been able to keep my secret I have overcome the suffering of loneliness. To go right to the end implies knowing how to keep one’s secret. And, today, there is no greater joy than to live alone and unknown.
— Albert Camus
Wasn’t friendship its own miracle, the finding of another person who made the entire lonely world seem somehow less lonely?
— Hanya Yanagihara
If I could catch the feeling, I would; the feeling of the singing of the real world, as one is driven by loneliness and silence from the habitable world.
— Virginia Woolf
The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely.
— Lorraine Hansberry
It’s always so moving to see how art claims us out of a kind of loneliness.
— Hilton Als
The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.
— Mother Teresa
You are right… I am lonely. But unlike the rest of this world I am not lonely for anybody.
— Dimitri Zaik
Neither had realized the loneliness each had lived with for such a long time until the loneliness was interrupted by genuine affection.
— Min Jin Lee
I love your loneliness. It is brave. It makes the universe want to protect you. You have the loneliness that all true heroes have, a loneliness that is a deep sea, within which the fishes of mystery dwell.
— Ben Okri
She had become accustomed to being lonely. She was used to walking alone and to being considered ‘different. ‘ She did not suffer too much.
— Betty Smith
When you’re surrounded by all these people, it can be lonelier than when you’re by yourself. You can be in a huge crowd, but if you don’t feel like you can trust anyone or talk to anybody, you feel like you’re really alone.
— Fiona Apple
When we are most alone is when we embrace another’s loneliness.
— Mitch Albom
I held to be invaluable: my cat, my resolve to travel, and my solitude. Time spent with a cat is never wasted. There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall.
Books have given me a magic portal to connect with people of the past and the present. I know I shall never feel lonely or powerless again.
— Lisa Bu
As yet I had spoken to no one, nor did anybody seem to take notice of me; I stood lonely enough: but to that feeling of isolation I was accustomed; it did not oppress me much.
— Charlotte Bronte
Lonely like any other organism; competitive and resourceful in the struggle to perpetuate itself.
— Sebastian Faulks
There comes a time when loneliness is stronger than fear.
— Christopher Buehlman
Something happens when you are alone most of the time, when there are no distractions. Your mind grows more powerful–muscular, even. It takes over and starts to carry you.
— Amanda Lindhout
I am alone, but not lonely. I like who I am. I like who I am becoming.
— Deena Kastor
Everyone is “extremely nice”— and yet I feel entirely alone.
— Roland Barthes
Truth be told, loneliness had seeped into her bones with the passing of time until it had become her normal way of life.
— Katherine McIntyre
The world is sick with loneliness in spite of multitudes of people living in it.
— Sunday Adelaja
Loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself.
— Rupi Kaur
Loneliness—since I was trying to escape it—was hell; and yet for the hermit who seeks it, it is apparently happiness.
— Kōbō Abe
This feeling of being lonely and very temporary visitors in the universe is in flat contradiction to everything known about man (and all other living organisms) in the sciences. We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.” Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated “egos” inside bags of skin.
— Alan Watts
She asked me whether I had learned to like big cities. ‘I’d always be miserable in a city. I’d die of lonesomeness. I like to be where I know every stack and tree, and where all the ground is friendly. I want to live and die here.
— Willa Cather
The worst part of being truly alone is you think about all the times you wished that everyone would just leave you be. Then they do, and you are left being, and you turn out to be terrible company.
— John Green
Loneliness, she said, is when nothing will stick to you, when nothing will thrive around you, when you start to think that you kill things just by being there.
— Rachel Cusk
Define loneliness? Yes. It’s what we can’t do for each other.
— Claudia Rankine
All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
— The Beatles
On any person who desires such queer prizes, New York will bestow the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy.
— E.B. White
I have been lonely in my life but never when drinking strong coffee, wearing my fleecy slippers, and standing in my own kitchen.
— Amy Bloom
I’m afraid sometimes you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.
— Dr. Seuss
Friends are the real superheroes. They battle our worst enemies—loneliness, grief, anxiety, depression, fear, and doubt—every time they come around.
— Richelle E. Goodrich
When feeling lonely or anxious, most of us have the habit of looking for distractions, which often leads to some form of unwholesome consumption — whether eating a snack in the absence of hunger, mindlessly surfing the Internet, going on a drive, or reading. Conscious breathing is a good way to nourish body and mind with mindfulness.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
Often a man wishes to be alone and a girl wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. But we were never lonely and never afraid when we were together.
— Ernest Hemingway
There’s a loneliness that only exists in one’s mind. The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.
— F Scott Fitzgerald
I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish… You see, it is difficult to get all which I want.
— Simone De Beauvoir
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
Two can be bad as one
It’s the loneliest number since the number one
All great and precious things are lonely.
— John Steinbeck
He distrusted her affection; and what loneliness is more lonely than distrust.
— George Eliot
In the midst of friends, home and kind parents, she was alone.
— William Makepeace Thackery
Don’t think you can frighten me by telling me that I am alone. France is alone. God is alone. And the loneliness of God is His strength.
— George Bernard Shaw
There doesn’t have to be loneliness in being alone.
— Taylor Swift
Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
— Maya Angelou
That’s when love turns nighttime into day
That’s when loneliness goes away
That’s when you gotta be strong tonight
Only love can build us a bridge of light
— Shel Silverstein
It was a weird kind of loneliness, feeling that some of my closest friends didn’t actually know I existed.
— Sarah Dessen
I realized that I knew less about loneliness than I had thought – and much less than I would know when he went away.
— Octavia Butler
Sometimes she would cry. I was so lonely, she’d say. You have no idea how lonely I was. And I had friends, I was a lucky one, but I was lonely anyway.
— Margaret Atwood
That’s why; he’s worried about how his life is turning out, and he’s lonely, and lonely people are the bitterest of them all.
— Nick Hornby
Loneliness is a barrier that prevents one from uniting with the inner self.
— Carl Rogers
Positive And Funny Quotes About Loneliness
Loneliness holds all spectrum of emotions at once.
It can be sad and happy at the same time — and sometimes, it can even make us laugh through our own tears.
Sometimes I have thought I was lonely and it turned out I was in reality wanting a snack, just like sometimes I have thought I was mad and it turned out I was actually wearing too many sweaters.
— Patricia Lockwood
Did I read because I was lonely, or was I lonely because I started to read?
— Grace Metalious
If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.
— Jean Paul Satre
You’re either married and bored or single and lonely. Ain’t no happiness nowhere.
— Chris Rock
I don’t fear death so much as I fear its prologues: loneliness, decrepitude, pain, debilitation, depression, senility. After a few years of those, I imagine death presents like a holiday at the beach.
— Mary Roach
When they are alone they want to be with others, and when they are with others they want to be alone. After all, human beings are like that.
— Gertrude Stein
Lonely people tend, rather, to be lonely because they decline to bear the psychic costs of being around other humans. They are allergic to people.
— David Foster Wallace
Some people are lonely for all the right reasons.
— Meg Rosoff
I was once walking through the forest alone. A tree fell right in front of me, and I didn’t hear a thing.
— Steven Wright
According to a new study, women in satisfying marriages are less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases than unmarried women. So don’t worry, lonely women, you’ll be dead soon.
— Tina Fey
The most terrifying loneliness is not experienced by everyone and can be understood by only a few. I compare the panic in this kind of loneliness to the dog we see running frantically down the road pursuing the family car. He is not really being left behind, for the family knows it is to return, but for that moment in his limited understanding, he is being left alone forever, and he has to run and run to survive. It is no wonder that we make terrible choices in our lives to avoid loneliness.
— Charles Schulz
Sad And Heartbreaking Quotes On Loneliness
There are times when loneliness is painful and hard to carry.
To know loneliness with the familiarity of our favorite well-worn jeans grants us a deeper understanding of sadness — whether we want it, or not.
Over time, loneliness gets inside you and doesn’t go away.
— Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I feel unspeakably lonely. And I feel – drained. It is a blank state of mind and soul I cannot describe to you as I think it would not make any difference. Also it is a very private feeling I have – that of melting into a perpetual nervous breakdown. I am often questioning myself what I further want to do, who I further wish to be; which parts of me, exactly, are still functioning properly. No answers, darling. At all.
— Anne Sexton
And the bell jangled, the driver started. The bus whirled off, to the last stop, the lonely room, the lonely night.
— Brian Moore
So I wait for you like a lonely house till you will see me again and live in me. Till then my windows ache.
— Pablo Neruda
You told me you would never leave me, but the only thing I feel is loneliness.
— Mickeal Bonneau
God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of “parties” with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter – they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. Yes, there is joy, fulfillment and companionship – but the loneliness of the soul in its appalling self-consciousness is horrible and overpowering.
— Sylvia Plath
Loneliness wasn’t just a state of mind, was it? It was tactile. She could feel it. It was a sixth sense, not in some fanciful play of words, but physically. It hurt… it hurt like phagocytes devouring the white matter of her brain. It was merely that she had no friends. She didn’t even have a sanctuary in which she could simply be alone.
— Tom Wolfe
I don’t know why, some people fill the gaps and others emphasize my loneliness. In reality those who satisfy me are those who simply allow me to live with my ”idea of them.”
— Anais Nin
I’m free, I think. I shut my eyes and think hard and deep about how free I am, but I can’t really understand what it means. All I know is I’m totally alone. All alone in an unfamiliar place, like some solitary explorer who’s lost his compass and his map. Is this what it means to be free?
— Haruki Murakami
The liar has many friends, and leads an existence of great loneliness.
— Adrienne Rich
I felt so lonesome, all of a sudden. I almost wished I was dead.
— J.D. Salinger
I began to weep with loneliness. What was I, who was I? I felt pretty again, my pimples were gone, the sun and the sea had made me slimmer, and yet the person I liked and whom I wished to be liked by showed no interest in me.
— Elena Ferrante
One of my biggest weaknesses, one that has always shamed me, is that I have always been lonely. I’ve struggled to make friends because I can be socially awkward, because I’m weird, because I live in my head.
— Roxane Gay
When you’re lonely and blacking out in strange places, you let other lonely people do what they want to you. You call it free love.
— Melissa Broder
As my lopped head tips backward off my neck and rolls off the bed, I feel as lonely as I have ever been.
— Carmen Maria Machado
I used to be fine in my loneliness
snapped me out of it
and showed me company. What it’s like to feel at home,
and so the going on by myself part wasn’t as easy anymore.
Seasons happened and things got colder and harder and suddenly I found myself smoking circles in the air
by myself in the snow
and I was not okay.
— Charlotte Eriksson
Loneliness and darkness have just robbed me of my valuables.
— Sigmund Freud
If she knew how often I was thinking about her, she wouldn’t feel lonely.
— Taylor Jenkins Reid
Asleep you don’t feel pain or hunger, or loneliness, or bitterness.
— V.C. Andrews
Stars, too, were time travelers. How many of those ancient points of light were the last echoes of suns now dead? If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize we were alone?
— Ransom Riggs
Dad called it “enlightenment” but to me, it just felt lonely.
— Ta-Nehisi Coates
I’m alone and nobody is in the mirror.
— Louise Bourgeois
Loneliness is like a big, empty room inside you that echoes with the sounds of the life you’re not living.
— Leisa Rayven
No place big enough for holding
All the tears you’re gonna cry
Cause your mama’s name was lonely
And your daddy’s name was pain
And he called you little sorrow
Cus you’ll never love again
Why you wanna fly Blackbird
You ain’t ever gonna fly
You ain’t got no one to hold you
You ain’t got no one to care
If you’d only understand dear
Nobody wants you anywhere
— Nina Simone
Knowing that there are many types of loneliness and ways to experience them, it’s no wonder why so many quotes about loneliness and feeling lonely range in tone and substance.
Even if not every loneliness quote in this list resonated with you personally, it is still comforting to know that loneliness is just as real for others among us.
We may feel lonely and alone — but we aren’t. Not truly.