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Feeling lonely

differences; harassment; moving; house; loneliness; lonely; sad; friend; feelings; alone; bullies; different; school of the air ;


Do you sometimes feel lonely?

Everyone feels lonely sometimes. Maybe we have to go somewhere different or come home to an empty house. Maybe your best friend is sick or on holiday, or you find yourself in a group who all know each other well and they leave you out.

Whatever the reason, everyone can understand what it feels like to be lonely sometimes, but what would it be like to be lonely most of the time?

What makes a person feel lonely?

  • Living in a lonely place.
    Some kids who live in the outback of Australia don't go to school, but do lessons at home through the 'School of the air'. Their teacher and the other kids in their class may be a very long way from them, but they can listen to each other and talk with the teacher every day online. They are alone, but they might not be lonely because they have their parents and the other people and animals on their place to be their friends - or they might be lonely because they don't have other children to be friends with. (If you would like to know more about this go to Our school - school of the air.

What do you think?

If you live a long way away from other people, send us a message and let us know how it is for you.

  • lonelinessBeing harassed or bullied makes a person feel very lonely. (Look for some tips in our topic on Dealing with bullies if this is happening to you.)
  • Moving to a new place. Finding your way around a new place, new school and new people can be very scary. Our topic 'Changing schools' may help.
  • Being unable to join in activities. Talk to your parents, teacher or sport coach and tell them your problem. Think about what you need, eg. money, transport, someone to help you learn the skills - and maybe they'll be able to help you.
  • Not being allowed to do things. Sometimes it may seem that your parents or caregivers are not allowing you to do the same sort of things that some of your friends say they can do. Tell them how you feel, but also listen to what they say so that you understand their reasons for not allowing you to do some things. Together, you might be able to think of other ways you can be with your friends.
  • Parents being separated or divorced. 
  • A special adult leaving your life.
  • Losing a friend. 
  • The way you think about yourself. If you think other people don't like you or don't want to play with you or be your friend, talk to your teacher and parents about it and ask them to help you. They will know what it is like to feel like that. 
  • The way you think about others. Remember that whatever a person looks like, everyone is the same inside. Everyone has feelings, and everyone gets scared or lonely sometimes - so don't think that anyone is too confident or too popular or too 'anything' for you to speak to.
  • Being sick and feeling that you are not part of life. It is hard if you have to miss out on a lot of school through being sick. At home ask if you can invite friends around sometimes to do some things with you, and ask if you can use the phone or email to keep in touch.

no friendsThese are just a few reasons why people feel lonely.

What makes you feel lonely?

Feeling lonely for a long time can make you feel very sad. If you feel sad all the time, you get to feeling that you 'can't be bothered' to do anything or go anywhere or talk to anyone, and then you feel even more lonely. Our topic 'Depression - when you feel sad most of the time' may give you some ideas about what to do.

What can you do if you're feeling lonely?

  • friendshipLearn skills about friendships. 
  • Make changes in yourself.
  • Have a go at something new, like exercising, walking the dog, learning a new skill or craft, or joining a group like scouts, drama, art or a school club.
  • computerWrite letters to relatives or pen friends. Lots of kids' magazines have a page for kids wanting pen friends from around the world.
  • Ask someone over to play or to the movies or to watch a video or DVD (if it's OK with your parents or caregivers).
  • Talk about your feelings to the adults in your home. 
  • Talk to your teacher, school counsellor or trusted adult.
  • If something bad is happening and you feel scared and alone, ask for help from a trusted adult.
  • Learn and practise a new skill, for example, yoyo, knitting, juggling, haki sac - then show it to others and maybe teach them how to do it.
  • Think about others and their feelings. Sometimes people get so used to thinking about themselves and their own worries that they can't talk about or do things that are interesting to others, so other kids avoid them.
  • If you are sick and can't go to school, get mum to talk to your teacher.

There are lots of ways in which you can feel less lonely, for example, letters, e-mails, school work, phone calls, making things, swapping games and videos, helping mum or dad, joining a sports team, walking a dog.



Advice from kids on how to deal with loneliness

  • "Take something to school and if someone asks to play with you, say yes. They might ask you to play with them next time."  Caleb
  • "Start a collection or a hobby where you are making something." Ivy
  • You will not feel lonely as much and you will be able to talk about it with other people who do the same things. If you get a collectors magazine you can find other people who want to swap and you could be friends or pen friends."
  • " Listen to music or learn to play an instrument." Rizwan
  • "Go for a walk or a bike ride." Jai
  • "Join a club at school or near where you live." Sean
  •  "Get mum or dad to teach you how to do something like knitting or woodwork." Sharmila
  • "Help mum or dad to do jobs: you'll have someone to talk to and you'll learn how to do things when you grow up." Natalia
  • "Volunteer for something, eg library helper, a school garden group, cleaning play equipment. Working with others keeps you busy and helps make new friends."

What do you do when you feel lonely?

What about being alone?

Being alone doesn't always mean that you feel lonely. There are lots of times when you may like to be alone. Then you can read, watch your favourite TV program, listen to your music or do any of the things that you really enjoy doing without anyone bothering you! Being alone can be great, but feeling lonely and sad isn't much fun.

Dr Kim says:

Dr Kim"Everyone is special and unique. Get to know a new person and let people know you. Sharing your thoughts and your time with others makes life more interesting, and you don't have time to be lonely. Look around and see if there are lonely people around you and try to be kind to them so they will feel less lonely. One day you may be feeling lonely too."

Feeling lonely for a long time can make you feel very sad. If you feel sad all the time, you get to feeling that you 'can't be bothered' to do anything or go anywhere or talk to anyone, and then you feel even more lonely. Our topic 'Depression - when you feel sad most of the time' may give you some ideas about what to do.




Loneliness is what I'm feeling
feelingsShrivelled up like a tiny bean
Everyone else seems as happy as can be
But to me they are so mean.
Being kicked out of the group
Makes me want to scream.
Standing up, facing my fears,
Smiling and wiping away my tears.
I'll make new friends and I'll have them for years.

I feel alone,
Deep inside.
A feeling that I try to hide.
When lonely, hurt or feeling blue,
Is the time I'd like to be "see-through".
I'm black with tears and unsaid fears,
My sunshine snuffled out.
I feel distracted when someone has acted Irrationally.
When I feel better I am relieved,
To fight my fear I have achieved.

Bronwyn and Erin
Feeling lonely

Inside my head
I have friends who play,
Places to go
An adventure each day.
Reality is I'm all alone
No-one to play with,
No one to phone.
One day maybe
I'll try to find
Friends in the real world
Not just in my mind.
Friends to share my hopes and fears.
Fun and laughter and even tears.

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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