Skip to main content

Health library

Are you lonely?


reviewed 9/10/2019

Are you lonely?

You might wonder what this question has to do with your health. It turns out that our connections with other people are important for our well-being.

People who feel lonely are at higher risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. Plus, loneliness just feels bad.

To get a better idea of how you’re doing, answer the following questions. Based on your answers, we’ll share suggestions for small steps that might help.

Note: This assessment is not intended to be a substitute for medical care or professional help.

1. Do you often do things alone and feel unhappy about that?

2. Do you often feel like you have no one to talk to?

3. Do you often find yourself waiting for people to contact you?

4. Do you often feel shy or unable to reach out to those around you?

5. Do you feel like it’s hard to make friends?

Results

If you answered “yes” to all five questions: Your answers suggest you may be lonely or struggling socially. Taking steps to connect with others could help make you happier and healthier.

If that sounds scary, you can start small. For example:

  • Smile at people you encounter during the day.
  • Reach out to a family member or friend you’ve been thinking of.
  • Do something nice for someone. Studies have shown that helping others may ease loneliness.

Keep in mind, feelings of loneliness and depression often go hand in hand. If you think it may be more than loneliness, talk with your doctor. Depression is a treatable illness.

Get more tips on connecting with others.

If you answered “yes” to three or four questions: Based on your answers, it sounds like you might benefit from steps to strengthen your connections with others. It’s good for you—mentally and physically—to have people in your life you enjoy spending time with and can turn to, if needed.

You can start in small ways. For example:

  • Smile at people you encounter during the day.
  • Reach out to a family member or friend you’ve been thinking of.
  • Do something nice for someone. Studies have shown that helping others may ease loneliness.

Keep in mind, feelings of loneliness and depression often go hand in hand. If you think it may be more than loneliness, talk with your doctor. Depression is a treatable illness.

Get more tips on nurturing relationships.

If you answered “yes” to one or two questions: Based on your answers, you might benefit from steps to strengthen your connections with others. It’s good for you—mentally and physically—to have people in your life you enjoy spending time with and can turn to, if needed.

Remember that good relationships are like plants—they need attention and care to flourish.

Get more tips on nurturing relationships.

If you answered “no” to all five questions: Based on your answers, it sounds like you’re doing well. You don’t feel lonely often, and you appear to have people in your life you can count on.

Treasure your friends. Remember that good relationships are like plants—they need attention and care to flourish.

Get more tips on nurturing relationships.

Sources: American Psychological Association; HelpGuide.org; National Institutes of Health; UCLA Loneliness Scale

Related stories