Why Some People Don’t Feel Lonely

Feeling socially connected is a need all of us share, but human interaction isn’t the only way to get it

Deanna Pai
Forge
Published in
3 min readJun 19, 2020

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Photo: Bettina Mare Images/Getty Images

There was a point, midway through quarantine, where I started to wonder if I was made for it.

I’m used to alone time in abundance — I spent seven years living on my own. And I know firsthand that loneliness and being alone are two different things, and that the presence or absence of other people isn’t necessarily tied to the emotional state. Still, as the time in lockdown stretched on, I braced myself for the wave of loneliness to hit.

Strangely, it never did. I’m not saying I’ve been enjoying this time — I’d do some terrible things for a carefree dinner out right now — but for the most part, I’ve been doing okay without in-person socializing. I’m bored. I’m anxious. But I’m not terribly lonely.

Some people, it turns out, really are less susceptible to loneliness while alone. Or, more specifically, some people have already been living the conclusion of a recent study: that spending time with other people isn’t the only way to feel a sense of belonging. And while the country may be inching toward reopening right now, the warnings of new spikes, second waves, and returns to lockdown mean all of us would benefit from getting to know the…

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Deanna Pai
Forge
Writer for

I’m a writer and editor in New York City. You can find my work in Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, New York Magazine, and beyond.