A brief glance at the literature suggests that there are 5 different types of loneliness with generous amounts of overlap.

  • State loneliness. This type of loneliness is found among people who have lost an important attachment. It can be short lived like a day long separation or lengthy as in the break-up of a love affair. Most people experiencing this type of loneliness can be proactive and take measures to correct the situation or ameliorate it by finding a way “to amuse” themselves until the feeling dissipates.
  • Trait loneliness. Those experiencing this type of loneliness are often people who have difficulty forming attachments or creating social networks for themselves. they badly wish to have an important person in their life but are often too frightened to let down their defenses.
  • Emotional loneliness. This occurs, like state loneliness, due to the loss of an attachment figure such as a husband, mother or friend.
  • Social loneliness. this occurs due to the lack of a viable social network
  • Existential loneliness. This is the recognition that we are all alone in facing our selves and death. This spiritual phenomenon can be the seed of dread and/or a spiritual awakening.