In Raymond Lloyd Richmond’s, website A Guide to Psychology, he explores the connection between social identity and loneliness. He finds that the fragility of social identity and the desire to protect it is a root cause of loneliness.

“Most of us derive identity from the world around us.

And some persons desire to be desired with such desperate intensity that you can literally see in their eyes the inner emptiness they seek to fill.

But they never can fill the void.

At best, their self-styled image is only a fraud, a feeble attempt to hide their pain from their own eyes.

At worst, their self-styled image becomes their only reality, a pathetic lie and a living hell.

Although developing a social identity has a certain short-term value, whatever you “think” you are is, ultimately, nothing but a vague approximation of what you really are. And what you really are is revealed in discrete moments of genuine encounter with your inner life.

You might be able to guess where loneliness comes from.

As long as you derive your identity from the world around you, you have to be concerned about losing it.

Like a dragon sitting greedily on its hoard of treasure, your entire being will be caught up in defending what you are most afraid to lose. Nor can you be honest with others because if you speak your mind you might offend someone, and then he or she will turn away in a huff, taking your identity in the process, leaving you empty and “dead.”

That’s what loneliness is. It’s a fear of psychological death.

Real life—not the glossy advertising-agency image of “life”—on the other hand, is an embracing of all the uncertainty of your unconscious, an acceptance of your essential vulnerability, and a willingness to risk everything to trust in something far greater than what you “think” you are.”