32 6

Why are there so many people who are lonely? Why is it so hard for people to make real connections when almost everyone wants to make real connections?
What’s the most crucial thing for a healthy relationship?​​

nicknotes 8 July 25

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


Here's my 2¢: Making a real connection is hard work, especially as we get older. It's easier in a lot of ways when we're young, because we are in school or otherwise have routine hangouts where we can get to know people our own age through prolonged contact day after day. As we get older, we have fewer and fewer people we can just hang out with, we spend less time just hanging out in general, and so out opportunities to find a romantic partner dwindle significantly as well. And as we get older we become more set in our ways, so we don't mold to one another like we might have in our youth. I mean, who cared at 15 years old what political persuasion our friends and romantic partners were? So, I think it's a combination of changing circumstances and calcifying mindsets.

Good analysis of the problem. It would seem that the key is finding a way to be exposed to more people who might be potential partners.

@nicknotes Exposed to more people, and for greater duration I think.

Think of yourself as a salesman. You are selling yourself. Go out and look for your customers. Do it Scientifically. @resserts

@nicknotes A salesman selling myself? Yuck! 😕

Very well said....add to that the fact that as we become older we become more aware of not having quite the same physical appearance as we did in our 20's and 30's.....society reminds us of that on a daily basis. Throw in some unrealistic expectations - its a miracle that anyone finds that special someone. 😉

It's OK I can take rejection of my advice. @bingst


Why do people need a partner in order to not be lonely? Except for two times when my son and his wife lived with me, I have lived alone for the last 12 years because I prefer to live alone. My last two boyfriends wanted to marry or at least live together, but I cannot imagine living with anyone or being in an ultra "strict" relationship. Most people pin their happiness on others and do not even try to be happy within and of themselves. I was lonelier in my 25 year marriage and seven year live-in relationship than I have ever been living alone. Being lonely is one of the worst reasons that I can think of to have a relationship.

But one answer to not being able to find a partner is, in my experience (which may or may not be widespread) is that people want more than they are capable of attracting. On dating sites, old, ugly, obese men with scraggly beards want good-looking, thin, sexually aggressive women. Women say they want a "good" man, but they want that good man to be handsome and to have money. I used to go into forums on a dating site and they would be filled with men and women who SAID they wanted the same things from a mate. When I asked them why they did not hook up, they never replied. Perhaps the eye candy on dating sites has changed what is "acceptable" for people.

I need someone to share life with. Not sure why that's such a big deal.

@Deanervin Why is it such a big deal that not needing to have a partner is considered by many people as abnormal? I have been told that because I do not desire a partner that I am lying to myself or just haven't met the right person. So, I ask the reverse: I don't need someone--why is that a big deal and why do more people ask questions about being lonely than not being lonely?

You raised some good points. I do think as we age we are more protective of our privacy. Perhaps we have high standards which we ourselves fail to meet.

@nicknotes Welll . . . I set high standards, if they can be called that, for dating:

  1. Financially stable
  2. Clean, well dressed
  3. Intelligent
  4. Not clinically depressed, bi-polar, etc.
  5. Decent teeth
  6. Healthy
  7. Not obese
  8. Attractive--but that is subjective
  9. Liberal or not a raving conservative--certainly did not vote for Trump
  10. Can carry on a conversation
  11. Not addicted to TV or a phone

I meet all of these standards.

@Gwendolyn2018 well I don't understand your perspective but if that's how you feel then it is normal to you. I'm not one to judge. Just my point of view.

I've seen research suggest loneliness isn't good for a person, or any social creature.

@Deanervin Humans are herd animals, but some of us do not fit into the herd as do others. If man person is alone and lonely, that is one thing, alone and not lonely is another. We have also been culturally indoctrinated. I prefer to live alone.

@Gwendolyn2018 Decent teeth and not "clinically" depressed. LOL. What about BPD?

@AdriaBack My mother was bipolar and clinically depressed; I won't live through that again.


I've concluded that many are simply romantically lazy. Much easier to just moan about it. We want relationships, but that would require getting up and doing something about it. And who wants to do that kind of work. Crucial thing? Respect for one another.

As Artether Franklin sang..R E S P E CT. Very important. Yes...can't be lazy...go out there in the world and find your match.


IMO one of the cricial parts of a healthy relationship is being comfortable & at peace being alone, all by yourself. If you need someone to "fill a hole" or to "complete" you, you are going to end up being lonely in a relationship. You'll come off as clingy, demanding, manipulative, etc. The sexiest thing, for me, is a man who doesn't "need" me, he wants me. He can do for himself just fine but he loves just having me in the same room with him because he enjoys my company.

Oh have a way with words. I like the way you say ""The sexiest thing, for me, is a man who doesn't "need" me, he wants me""


I think that the most crucial thing is emotional intimacy and I also think it is one of the hardest things to allow in a relationship. are correct. As we age we have more to protect from others.

yes - especially if you've been involved with someone who has betrayed your trust - it becomes very hard to set yourself up for a repeat of that.


You have to go out to places to meet people, and that requires money that a lot of us either already have earmarked for bills and shit or just don't have at all. Places don't like it when you hang around and don't buy anything.

And if money isn't a problem, then constantly being told we have no social skills is. Oh, be yourself, but don't do this or this or ten things you do that are unattractive according to science or fifteen things you should stop doing/wearing/thinking/being RIGHT NOW. People are too scared to leave their homes because they think the rest of the world demands perfection.

Introversion is being glorified. Everywhere I look I see things about wanting to stay home, being happy when other people cancel plans, not wanting to have other people around, bla bla bla, and that anyone who isn't an introvert is shallow, stupid, and codependent.

Nobody wants to deal with other people to find a relationship.

I agree dealing with other people can be annoying at times. You mentioned money...that's a factor. I thought a park might be a "free" place to meet people. As a young man I could hang out at the park. As an older man I might get arrested as a pervert hanging at the park.


Yes, it's very evident, including on this site. It's the paradox of the modern world: the more connected we become, the more isolated we start to feel. As capitalism had reduced people more and more to economic units in a dehumanised society, the more alienation people feel. I read Karl Marx on this 40 years ago, but believe it now more than ever.

I think you have a point. When we were an agrarian society we depended more on each other to survive. Now we can sit in front of the TV, get stuff delivered, and pay with a credit card and rarely have to interact with others.


Excellent question. This is a byproduct of capitalist individualism and the alienation in capitalist society. In a more communal society, there would be less lonely and thus happier people. Consumerism separates us. Virtual friends are not a substitute...

Interesting comment comrade. I actually agree that you have a valid point of view.

Competition versus cooperation. Related?



I'm uncertain why there are so many lonely people out there, but I imagine it's because life sometimes feels isolating for everyone, even those in partnerships. Its a lot easier to blame feeling alone on being single when you don't have a partner to lean on for that emotional support and have to find that level of support in other ways.

I think it's hard to find a real connection because the fact is that real connections should be challenging to find. They shouldn't occur with everyone you meet, even on a friendship level.

The most crucial thing for a healthy relationship is honesty, loyalty, consistency, and building together. Ensuring that your partner doesn't feel alone in life is key.

Yes one can be lonely in a crowd.

Yes and what % of partners ever think about that? I believe its low. We are a narcissistic so key. Selfies ughhhh


Lots of fear out there. Seems I meet those so damaged by the first relationship, the one they put their heart into, or so they believe, and refuse to do it again so even if meeting a great guy they are not really available.

Yes I suppose fear is a factor. We all are protecting our wealth, our health, our physical safety, and our ego.

@nicknotes I see fear in people every day. I believe it to be what motivates most people.

IMO living with fear is not healthy.@Deanervin

@nicknotes most definitely. Not sure people are even self aware enough to realize it. Every random brake light on the freeway, for example, is an exhibition of fear based response and I see them all the time.


Friendship. If that person does not become your best friend, it will never be what it could be. I really believe that. The two best relationships in my life were the best becuase we became best friends.

So where do you find friends? How do you make friends?

@nicknotes That is the problem, it takes time, and it doesn't always go there. At least that is how it worked for me both times. Blind-ass-luck?

Sometimes it is luck. But if you are trying to catch a fish your baited line has to be in the pond that has fish. @Sticks48


I am a loner, an introvert, practically a recluse and I rarely feel lonely. On those rare occasions I might feel lonely, I visit some married family and friends and it only takes me a very short while observing them that when I leave I tell myself how thankful I am that I live alone.

Having a relationship is not for everyone. But isn't it more fun to have a warm body in your bed at night?

@nicknotes I absolutely agree with you. However, I would want that warm body to get up and go home after about 3 days max.

Come on are joking ...aren't you? @jlynn37

@nicknotes Why would I be joking when I prefer to be alone most of the time? Let's get together any time we want, have some fun and enjoy each other, then each go home. What could be better.


My answer--many people are too anxious about getting together to let a relationship develop and unfold naturally. Looking back on my longish life, my best relationships have come with both mates and friends who I spent time around for reasons other than trying to specifically be with them, and we found ourselves liking each other more and more the more time we were in each other's presence. I honestly don't know how this relates to online dating. I've never successfully done it, so I cannot say. But my experience is that if you are out in the world meeting people and pursuing interests, you will from time to time encounter people you feel drawn to for a deeper friendship or romance.

I agree with what you have stated.

You make a valid point. Some philosopher....I forget who....said...Never marry unless you know your mate at least 5 years.


Simple Suggestions: 1: Turn off the TV and the computer. 2: Invite some friends over for boardgames/storytelling/joke sharing. 3: Learn to sing/play and instrument & join a group for practice. 4: Learn to dance and throw a dance party. 5: Join a group that seeks to improve a situation you are concerned about. Basically entertain yourselves and act the way our great-grandparents did - with each other rather than with expensive technology. is a good tool for meeting real people with similar interests.

Some excellent suggestions for widening your circle of people


Honestly, I no longer harbor any desire for another intimate relationship. I have all the "connections" I need.

I am an affectionate man and would enjoy having a friend to snuggle and cuddle with who enjoyed it as much as I do.

@jlynn37 I sincerely wish you find what makes you happy.

@KKGator Thank you and you too my dear friend.

Then if you don't want romance you can try the politics.

@nicknotes In case it's missed your attention, I'm all about politics. LOL

I understand...sorry I missed that. @KKGator

@nicknotes Its all good. ?


People are lonely because they can't stand being alone with themselves humans are social animals and the concept of being introspective and thinking about your life is terrifying to them it makes them examine their own mortality

I like your insight. When we are with others we can forget our problems that consume us when we are alone.


because people are too busy being something they're not instead of being themselves. when they finally figure that out they're in their 50's or more and desperately trying to claw for a few years of much deserved fun. yourself. Many have mentioned this...good point.

@nicknotes sorry, I don't compare notes to others. my bad.

You are fine. @kauva

@nicknotes well thank you! I have been working out and watching what I eat! Thats nice of you. I like women though.

Me too.....@kauva


Good question, all the lonely people: where do they all come from? Some are no doubt picking up the rice in a church where a wedding has been, others wait by the window, and still another segment lives in a dream. Im personally darning my socks most nights when nobody’s there. Darn you, socks ?

I used to believe we all had one soul mate. I know now that the number of possible combos that could fall in love are endless if under the right circumstances, but it’s that right set of circumstances that is so rare. Meeting at a time when youre both single, not being too shy to try, not being so nervous and clumsy when you do try that you make a fool of yourself, the chances that one person will push anothers deal breakers or pet peeves or not be your typical “type” or any other superficial reason not to give each other a chance.

The ways things can go wrong in the early stages of meeting someone are endless and the ways they could go right are so specific and unique that it takes a lot of practice, work an inordinate amount of luck to all coalesce before anyone whos introverted will meet and impress anybody when you meet so few new people as an adult already.

Yes...the Beatles understood the situation. So have you thought up ways to expand your circle of people you meet to find the person you desire?

@nicknotes Not really many actionable ones to be honest. the fact that this site is growing fast nowadays is the only thing giving me much hope. I know I need to find a new job and should go to play at open mics but other than that, who knows.

You never know...Miss Right may be reading your comments and wondering what you are like. That "open mic" might just attract interest. @Wurlitzer


After getting burned a few times I decided I'd rather be alone than with someone who lies, cheats, has mommy issues, and/or is all wrapped up in himself. Every now and then I think it would be nice to have someone but the trust issues may never go away.

Trust...good point...have we gotten better at the "game' as we age so we resort to lies and cheating to "win." ???


Because we sit in our houses with the tv on, and wonder why we don't meet someone wonderful. The most crucial thing for a healthy relationship is respect and honesty. (I know, that's two things.)

The person of your dreams is not going to materialize in your living room as you watch TV. So get up get out and go looking. The trick is to have enough imagination to know where to look.


All that are alone are not lonely. Just wanted to make that distinction first.
Here is my theory and it is halfbaked, even though I am not at this time.
Lonely is the state where I find myself longing for what is past. That deep connection I shared with someone. Dating can make it worse because we wonder why we can't/don't have it with the new person. It takes time and often the relationship ends before you find it for one reason or another. I think that makes people less likely to expend the effort, or at least I know that is the case for me. It seems like a loop and it is exhausting. Emotions themselves are draining at times and it is hard to always be on. I think socially or culturally we wait too long before trusting people with who we are interested in. So I just trust people aren't out to screw me over and I know that is never my intent.

Dating is the pretty crazy ritual when you break it down and is fundamentally flawed imo. I listened to all my girlfriends talk about how shitty it was all through my teens 20s and 30s. I never really dated in a traditional sense save for a bit maybe in high school. I tend to avoid it for the most part. To me relationships are built on trust so I just try and meet someone have fun and try it again. If you can keep repeating that formula things work out how they are supposed to. Maybe that no longer works but I think that is the only thing that feels right now. Selecting from a list just isn't for me right now so I will just try to be a fun person to hang with.

I am alone and at times lonely like I said above so I need to be better about dropping the past. I probably won't always be a fun person until I can be better at that.

Thanks for your interesting contribution to the discussion.

@nicknotes Don't know how interesting it is but probably unconventional

The point is you were able to express your views. @maxhyde

@nicknotes Even when I should keep my mouth shut I have a tendency to share my thoughts. Over-sharing...a gift to no one and curse upon myself

You did well. Don't be critical of yourself. @maxhyde


To your first two questions: fear and improper communication.

Fear is a powerful drive. Fear of judgment, of ridicule and rejection. Or sometimes it's fear of being hurt, especially if you've been hurt before. All the can cloud our judgement and rein us in from going after what we want.

Improper communication is when something seems
to be obvious or clear to one person, when it's anything but to their partner. When we say "It's fine.", when it isn't and refuse to talk about. When we want or need something but don't say it and get frustrated that they don't give us what we're looking for. All of this serves to drive people appart.

For your last question: trust, proper communication and faith.

Trust is so fundamental that without it you don't have a relationship at all. You just have a series if interactions that will most likely be bad and harmful. You can trust them not judge or hurt you. Without trust you have no real basis by which to communicate.

Proper communication is what is born of trust. Judgement free exchange of ideas, hopes and fears. The ability to say what you want in a way your partner can clearly understand and they do the same with you.

Faith is one I imagine most people here will bristle at, but hear me out. I'm not talking a higher power. I'm talking faith in yourself and your partner. You can never truly know another person. There will always be some part of them that is theirs alone. Which means at a certain point you have to have faith that your judgement was sound, that your trust wasn't misplaced, and that you expressed yourself clearly. You have to surrender some modicum of control, pass the ball to them and see what happens.

You made some excellent points. Fear is a terrible hindrance to starting a relationship. Many fear rejection. One has to accept rejection and promptly move on to discover new people.


Well, as usual, there are some excellent comments here on this subject. I would only ad that in today's society, which is highly commercialized, people feel obligated to be part of a couple. Movies, books and ads romanticize couples and people feel ostracized if they
are not involved with someone.

Sure some people thrive being alone.


I think this neatly sums up part of the problem:

Very intuitive video. There are many symbols utilized . I was hoping for a happy ending.


People need social interaction for good emotional and mental health. Loneliness I see as something different in most cases. If we really like, admire, love and appreciate ourselves we can't be painfully lonely. Our disposition with self-love and love of others is to generously participate with them in all levels of social intercourse by bringing our valued selves to the table. In that state of being, rejection is also not painful but educational.

A person who is bitterly lonely, with rare exceptions, just doesn't like the company; often falsely believing that if they don't, someone else will.

An interesting comment.

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:139833
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.