Everybody feels lonely from time to time. When we have no one to sit next to at lunch, when we move to a new city, or when nobody has time for us at the weekend. But over the last few decades, this occasional feeling has become chronic for millions. In the UK, 60% of 18 to 34-year-olds
say they often feel lonely. In the US, 46% of the entire
population feel lonely regularly. We are living in the most
connected time in human history. And yet, an unprecedented number of us feel isolated. Being lonely and being alone are not the same thing. You can be filled with bliss by yourself and hate every second surrounded by friends. Loneliness is a purely subjective, individual experience. If you feel lonely, you are lonely. A common stereotype is that loneliness only happens to people who don’t know how to talk to people, or how to behave around others. But population-based studies have shown that social skills make practically no difference for adults when it comes to social connections. Loneliness can affect everybody: money, fame, power, beauty, social skills, a great personality; Nothing can protect you against loneliness because it’s part of your biology. Loneliness is a bodily function, like hunger. Hunger makes you pay attention
to your physical needs. Loneliness makes you pay attention
to your social needs. Your body cares about your social needs,
because millions of years ago it was a great
indicator of how likely you were to survive. Natural selection rewarded
our ancestors for collaboration, and for
forming connections with each other. Our brains grew and became more and more fine-tuned to recognize what others thought and felt, and to form and sustain social bonds. Being social became part of our biology. You were born into groups of 50 to 150 people which you usually stayed with for the rest of your life. Getting enough calories, staying safe and warm, or caring for offspring was practically impossible alone. Being together meant survival. Being alone meant death. So it was crucial that you got along with others. For your ancestors, the most dangerous threat to survival was not being eaten by a lion, but not getting the social vibe of
your group and being excluded. To avoid that, your body came up with ‘social pain’. Pain of this kind is an
evolutionary adaptation to rejection: a sort of early warning system to make sure
you stop behavior that would isolate you. Your ancestors who experienced rejection as more painful were more likely to change their behavior when they got rejected and thus stayed in the tribe, while those who did
not got kicked out and most likely died. That’s why rejections hurt. And even more so, why loneliness is so painful. These mechanisms for keeping us connected worked great for most of our history, until humans began building a new world for themselves. The loneliness epidemic we see today
really only started in the late Renaissance. Western culture began to focus on the individual. Intellectuals moved away from the collectivism of the Middle Ages, while the young Protestant theology stressed individual responsibility. This trend accelerated during the Industrial Revolution. People left their villages and fields to enter factories. Communities that had existed for hundreds of years began to dissolve, while cities grew. As our world rapidly became modern,
this trend sped up more and more. Today, we move vast distances for new jobs, love and education, and leave our social net behind. We meet fewer people in person, and we
meet them less often than in the past. In the US, the mean number of close friends
dropped from 3 in 1985 to 2 in 2011. Most people stumble into chronic
loneliness by accident. You reach adulthood
and become busy with work, university, romance, kids and Netflix.
There’s just not enough time. The most convenient and easy thing to sacrifice
is time with friends. Until you wake up one day and
realize that you feel isolated; that you yearn for close relationships. But it’s hard to find close connections as adults and so, loneliness can become chronic. While humans feel pretty great about
things like iPhones and spaceships, our bodies and minds are fundamentally
the same they were 50,000 years ago. We are still biologically fine-tuned
to being with each other. Large scale studies have shown that the stress that comes from chronic loneliness is among the most unhealthy things
we can experience as humans. It makes you age quicker, it makes cancer deadlier, Alzheimer’s advance faster,
your immune systems weaker. Loneliness is twice as deadly as obesity and
as deadly as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. The most dangerous thing about it is that once it becomes chronic, it can become self-sustaining. Physical and social pain use common mechanisms in your brain. Both feel like a threat, and so, social pain leads to immediate and defensive behaviour when it’s inflicted on you. When loneliness becomes chronic,
your brain goes into self-preservation mode. It starts to see danger and hostility everywhere. But that’s not all. Some studies found that when you’re lonely, your brain is much more receptive and alert to social signals, while at the same time, it gets worse
at interpreting them correctly. You pay more attention to others but you understand them less. The part of your brain
that recognises faces gets out of tune and becomes more likely to categorize neutral faces as hostile, which makes it distrustful of others. Loneliness makes you assume the worst
about others’ intentions towards you. Because of this perceived hostile world, you can become up more self-centered to protect yourself, which can make you appear more cold, unfriendly and socially awkward than you really are. If loneliness has become a strong presence in your life, the first thing you can do is to try to recognise the vicious cycle you may be trapped in. It usually goes something like this: An initial feeling of isolation leads to feelings of tension and sadness, which makes you focus your attention selectively on negative interactions with others. This makes your thoughts about
yourself and others more negative, which then changes your behavior. You begin to avoid social interaction, which leads to more feelings of isolation. This cycle becomes more severe
and harder to escape each time. Loneliness makes you sit far away from others in class, not answer the phone when friends call, decline invitations until the invitations stop. Each and every one of us has a story about ourselves, and if your story becomes that people exclude you, others pick up on that, and so the outside world can become the way you feel about it. This is often a slow creeping process that takes years, and can end in depression and a mental state that prevents connections, even if you yearn for them. The first thing you can do to escape it is to
accept that loneliness is a totally normal
feeling and nothing to be ashamed of. Literally, everybody feels lonely at some
point in their life, it’s a universal human experience. You can’t eliminate or ignore
a feeling until it goes away magically, but you can accept that you
feel it and get rid of its cause. You can self-examine what you focus
your attention on, and check if you are
selectively concentrating on negative things. Was this interaction with a colleague really negative,
or was it really neutral or even positive? What was the actual content of an interaction? What did the other person say? And did they say something bad,
or did you add extra meaning to their words? Maybe another person was not really
reacting negatively, but just short on time. Then, there are your thoughts about the world.
Are you assuming the worst about others’ intentions? Do you enter a social situation
and have already decided how it will go? Do you assume others don’t want you around? Are you trying to avoid being hurt
and not risking opening up? And, if so, can you try
to give others the benefit of the doubt? Can you just assume that they’re not against you? Can you risk being open and vulnerable again? And lastly, your behaviour. Are you avoiding opportunities to be around others?
Are you looking for excuses to decline invitations? Or are you pushing others away
preemptively to protect yourself? Are you acting as if you’re getting attacked? Are you really looking for new connections,
or have you become complacent with your situation? Of course, every person
and situation is unique and different, and just introspection alone might not be enough. If you feel unable to solve your situation by yourself, please try to reach out and get professional help.
It’s not a sign of weakness, but of courage. However we look at loneliness, as a purely individual problem that needs solving to create more personal happiness, or as a public health crisis, it is something that deserves more attention. Humans have built a world that’s nothing short of amazing, and yet, none of the shiny things we’ve made is able to satisfy or substitute our fundamental biological need for connection. Most animals get what they need from their physical surroundings. We get what we need from each other, and we need to build our
artificial human world based on that. Let’s try something together:
let’s reach out to someone today, regardless if you feel a little bit lonely,
or if you want to make someone else’s day better. Maybe write a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Call a family member who’s become estranged. Invite a work buddy for a coffee, Or just go to something you’re usually too afraid to go to or too lazy to go to, like a D&D event or a sports club. Everybody’s different,
so you know what’s a good fit for you. Maybe nothing will come of it, and that’s okay.
Don’t do this with any expectations. The goal is just to open up a bit; to exercise your connection muscles,
so they can grow stronger over time, or to help others exercise them. We want to recommend two of the books
we read while researching this video. ‘Emotional First Aid’ by Guy Winch,
a book that addresses, among other topics, how to deal with loneliness in a way that we found helpful and actionable and ‘Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection’ by John Cacioppo and William Patrick. It’s an entertaining and scientific exploration as to why we experience loneliness on a biological level, how it spread in society and what science
has to say about how to escape it. Links for both books are in the video description. Thanks for watching. Don’t forget to subscribe!

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98 thoughts on “Loneliness”

  1. Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell says:

    We designed a poster on this topic as well. You can find it here:

  2. sakurafan771 says:

    I am experiencing it now but thanks to introspection I have every now and then. I understand that it isn't me and just something of a biological and environmental effect.

    I am suffering from Bipolar Disorder. Maybe BPD too.

  3. Dylan Hughes says:

    The 6:20 ish area is really rough, can never even tell if I'm reading my best friends right

  4. Sherrlyn De Lara says:

    I hate attention from others but it just made me feel lonely.

  5. Sherrlyn De Lara says:

    Another reason why Im always lonely is because I don't talk to people. I always think that if I said something wrong, they would hate me.

  6. Toshy says:

    I’m sure all of us felt lonely at some point.and holy shit that was a journey when I was lonely for a while,well I felt like I was.

  7. Albert Einstein says:

    This hit hard. I'm no expert, but I can relate to almost all of this video. But god dangit, this hurt

  8. Thatone Guy says:

    I don’t want to sound like I am bragging but I come from a rich family. So I have so much loneliness, I feel like my friends hate me because I am always on vacation, I feel like my parents hate me because they bought me only an iPhone XS for my birthday but gave my sister a brand new computer. I tend to cry in my room. Even a few days ago I went to Disneyland and I was still sad. So money can’t buy you happiness.

  9. Kawish Hoda says:

    Have You Ever Felt Lonely Mr Kurgesagt ?

  10. NightStrike68 says:

    Do I make excuses and avoid invitations? No I don’t get invitations

  11. The first oofer says:

    Can some one plz teach me how to talk to ppl

  12. alkahest- - says:

    to everyone scrolling through the comments, I love each and every one of you and you’re worth every bit of effort everyone will ever spend on you, never forget that

  13. Pranav appu says:

    Guys, I feel lonely. Help me 😊

  14. giovanna evangeline says:

    The animation makes me so soft.

  15. Shakirah Alatas says:


  16. Denice TeaGardener says:

    This took a year?? That's amaxing Live your work kurzesagt . We love your hardwork!

  17. Some Guy says:

    You know that time when you can’t wait for summer?
    But the whole summer is just you because school is the only place you can find your friends

  18. Frido Biantoro says:



    Pls fixed turkish translate

  20. Ahmetcan Aksu says:

    Loneliness is only for God

  21. Tony Ko says:

    This negative feedback loop where the world becomes what you feel about it is exactly how incels became the way they are. Assumptions, your outwardly message, etc, cause people to move away from them.

  22. Aneesa H. says:

    Damn, this was kind of a wake up call. I need to stop being so antisocial 😅

  23. Halv Gud says:

    God I love those smart germans from Kurzgesagt.

  24. Erika Logofet says:

    i see that hong kong building 12 :29

  25. Waiity why says:

    I’ll admit I do these things but I like being alone

  26. İlker Kesal says:

    this video took approximately 1.5 years shut up and like it.

  27. HypnoPants says:

    Okay, I'm pretty sure this video just explained why SJWs even exist at all, and why they get triggered so easily by seemingly normal interactions.

  28. LeCutter says:

    Ahh, makes me want to listen to "So Lonely" by The Police, "Only The Lonely" by Roy Orbison, and "One is the Loneliest Number" by Three Dog Night.

  29. Tyler Lynch-Goff says:

    Thanks, now I have loneliness AND anxiety

  30. Ignis says:

    Social anxiety, introverted, depressed, lonely. GG

  31. Basty says:

    It’s pretty annoying to have no clue how to talk to other people

  32. Rockets #1 says:

    This probably is the only video where we don’t die quickly.

  33. Arjun Dev says:

    well it's that fear that takes over, if that fear is discarded then everything becomes more clear and loneliness will never matter

  34. Nomajor says:

    If you cant find friends, create a friends.

  35. sacra acala says:

    I have invormentaly conditioned long term depression because of a not very grate life for meany years and i also have a highly paranoid personality and genral anxity disorder its been very hard for me and this video has really helped

  36. Supposedly I am a philosopher says:

    Is this why we have outrage/cancel culture?

  37. Andy says:

    I needed this video

  38. ᴷᵖᵒᵖ ᵗʳᵃˢʰ says:

    How do you help someone that feels like this?

  39. Ramiz Prankster says:

    You can get a lot of diseases if you are lonely.
    Me: chuckles I'm in danger

  40. Aliens Guy 42 says:

    not only was the explanation of loneliness and how it affects people super accurate but I feel like his instructions to fix it are not just inaccurate but also less than in depth… bold of you to assume I even have a spouse… or know anyone outside my family enough to call them a friend for that matter

  41. The Odd Ninja says:

    Hey uhm what happens if I feel lonely when I’m with my friends

  42. we Edwards says:

    Goddamn! This kinda hurt to watch! I also have PTSD which definitely mirrors a lot of this. However, with help from a therapist, a loving family, and some stellar friends, I'm able to better form bonds with others.

    If you're reading this, know that you are loved and there are people that will always welcome you; go find them again.

  43. s0uL_ Shatterer says:

    Looks like imma be lonely forever. Started since highschool. I like to be lonely tho, sometimes

  44. 莫玄羽 says:

    Oh my god. Am I gonna die

  45. Fastfirefox1 says:

    To anyone doest belive this i can say from experience its all 100% true.

  46. amjthemoon1 says:

    Since i got a retinal bleeding in my eyes laat year, my friends comforts me at first but i was depressed because of my condition and slowly they started to invite me less and less.
    Until I became completely lonly.
    Now i got only my wife and 2 kids (6 and 1 years old) to keep me company.

    I miss they old days sooooooooo much 😫😫😫

  47. Maheen Farooqi says:

    We basically get lonely because of the pain we experience as a result of someone rejecting us because of a mistake we made. For the rest of our existence, our brain has that mistake and rejection registered to stop you from making that mistake again, and therefore we avoid all situations that would lead to us making that same mistake again and therefore receiving the same response from someone, because it would hurt. Because those mistake managers block so many different situation possibilities, it causes us to eventually avoid all social interactions altogether, and become lonely. Someone who doesn't feel much social pain becomes a psychopath or sociopath.

  48. Miz pro says:

    Feelin' paintful…

  49. Jeremy Smith says:

    Stop triggering me!!

  50. Tis Toni says:

    how to stop lonliness? Step 1. Stop watching Youtube infotainment animations

  51. Nuranə Kərimova says:

    Actually my all problem about being lazy,i just love my home.İ hate talking with people,they all look like so fake for me.I feel i even don't need

  52. Some autistic kid says:

    I did not want to hear this, but i had to hear this..

  53. Eclipsa says:

    Can you risk being open and vulnerable again?

    lol nope thanks

  54. Venly Plays Nothing says:

    Why is this video so right?

  55. Setsu셋수 says:

    I'm an introvert that got adopted by an extrovert. So lucky to have them.

  56. Graham Chapman says:

    I need this vid lol

  57. Sarath S says:

    Wow.. This was truly an insight.. I am trapped in that vicious cycle.. Self preservation mode on.

  58. Odwa Mbenyane says:

    Thank you

  59. Abigail King says:

    me in a nutshell

  60. Abigail King says:

    the only time you didn't use birds

  61. ๖ۣۜKบgส Sสภ says:

    what if you don't feel lonely, and just wants to be lonely

  62. TropicalTrapFire 03 says:

    I started high school in a Charter School after coming from publuc schools. I thought of this as a new opportunity and to be somebody cool and nice. In the end, I'm always judged for not being as smart as everybody else.

    In honesty, I have nobody and I dont know who i am anymore at this school.

  63. Eonnn AAA says:

    That means people who are not lonely while frequently alone; are able to survive by themselves.

    They have no need for others and are ready to face death at any given time, and can live through, that’s why they never become lonely anymore.

    Or maybe not 👍

  64. MusicalWolfieXOX YT says:


  65. Generation Today says:

    İ am so lonely that i hide in school toilet during 15 minute of pause just because i dont want people seeing me lonely 😕

  66. Lea says:

    Naruto …
    know i know what you lived during your childhood 😭😭💔

  67. Donuts World says:

    People in the USA are dramatic

  68. Fluffy Avalanche says:

    I am lonely, like actually. Basically everyone hates me and even though a few people like me here on Youtube, I just don’t feel like it’s real. I feel like everyone is lying to me and everyone is fake. I feel like the whole world despises me. :((((

    Edit: I know I’m not hearing anything wrong. My “friends” always say you’re stupid. Or you’re a nerd ( true but not proud)

  69. Assisted Vision says:

    Another good book on this topic is ‘The Lonely City’ by Olivia Laing, which looks into the loneliness felt by artists like Warhol, Hopper and Wojnarowicz. It’s written from Laing’s own experience and full of empathy, a virtue the world could use (way!) more of. Also, hang in there if you’re feeling lonely. It may not seem like it now, but things will definitely improve! Try reaching out to friends, family or a professional, it can help to share your pain.

  70. NTG Alive says:

    But I like to by lonely…

  71. Clorox Bleach says:

    It’s not that I don’t mind being alone, I love being alone. I just feel lonely in a romantic sense. Like I love my best friends but that’s a different type of thing than romantic love.

  72. Don Pepe says:

    Freaking biology

  73. NSixtyFour says:

    I avoid opening up to people because im homeless, sleeping in my car. I know if they find out they will think different of me.

    Its a lonely life, but at least i am alive and working full time.

  74. The Music Effect says:


  75. Joel Turner says:

    I've lived alone for 22 years, no real friends,, family is estranged to a point since my parents passing. I don't feel lonely.

  76. Tsukari Kaoru says:

    This really helped. I'm not crazy. Last year I had a long term mental breakdown due to the stress caused by school, and even though summer is almost over i'm still feeling that stress. I know why now. This gives me some hope for the future, since maybe if I get a handle on this then maybe I can actually do college ;-;

  77. Chimp Padass says:

    A whole video about me ?

  78. Akash Khot says:

    This video is just describing every step of my life :'(

  79. ST - says:

    Are you lonely.
    Don't be tensed.
    Thats why god is their

  80. Ged Woods says:

    What about when you wake up in the morning and you feel like there is no end to it.

  81. Miyase Öz says:

    I think being lonely is the best thing ever.. you spend time with yourself! You learn how to love yourself.. you'll be your own hero..
    So if you feel lonely? Take advantage of it!!!

  82. The Humble Geometric Figure of Doom says:

    Yes we are lonely, and this video brilliantly illustrates all our symptoms. However only we can change this, nobody will fix us, no magical pill, not even antidepressants.

    Go out more, in spite of potential pain or awkward situations. Change your attitude, convince yourself you do not care what others care or feel about you. Let whoever is without sin throw a stone at you and you will find out soon enough not a single one will be thrown.

  83. Milo Andreevich says:

    Samotność to jest wtedy gdy mieszkasz 2 lata sam i nie odwiedziła cię w tym czasie żadna kobieta

  84. First Name Last Name says:

    It’s such a beautiful world, but why does it feel so gray.
    7 billion people on this Earth, but no one is meant to stay.
    I look around to try and find a reason.
    But it just feels like there isn’t any seasons.
    The faces of all these wonderful people
    Only feels like holographic see throughs.
    In a world like this, I just feel so alone.
    With no one to turn to, nowhere to call home.
    I tell myself that everything will be okay,
    But I was barely able to make it through the day.
    Something, someone, give me a reason to stay
    Before I lose myself and disappear away
    From all these feelings of emptiness,
    Just maybe, i wasn’t meant to exist.

    – A poem by depressed me

  85. Timesen says:

    I stay most of my time alone in my apartment, currently working from home after I finished my studies. My friends all moved away after they finished university. My last social interaction with a friend is about half a year ago and before that another half year or so. I was always pretty much an introvert and dislike being in big groups all my life and never went out of my way to make friends. Nevertheless I somehow always ended up with people who are pretty decent and managed to visit one friend every day for about an hour. I went to parties with them(sometimes) or just us drinking leisurely in a group talking bs. After they all moved away I was feeling a bit lonely but that feeling quickly subsided. I have contact with one or two every other month through text and haven't undertaken any effort to get any new social contacts. I don't feel lonely. I don't have any urge to talk to people. I greet the personal in the store with a smile. I only hide in long hoodies when I was too lazy to make my hair. I am way to obsessed with how I should write some code or what art I need or what good story hooks would be great to spend any time observing other people or notice their reactions.

    So my life is pretty much awake, train half an hour, shower, youtube/reading and coding/drawing/writing, eat and sleep.
    Is this me being lonely and not realizing it? Or am I just content with my social life, having become some kind of a hermit? I mean talking with someone for more than an hour was always pretty taxing for me, so I never gave my current situation much thought.

  86. Andrew says:

    We friends though right?

  87. BoyurBee Gaming says:

    I wish I was lonely, I can’t get away from all these people bothering me!

  88. Wu Li says:

    A woman from a primitive Yanamamo-like tribe visited NYC and was asked by reporters what it was like to go from the stone age to the modern world. She said she like fast food and TV, but what struck her was the first time she looked out on a crowded NYC street. Although she had grown up surrounded by the same 30 people her entire life, without so much as a radio or a mailman, she said she had never felt that kind of crushing loneliness in her life and had no clue it was possible, much less all crowded together like so many cattle. Forty years of extensive studies concluded the republican party organizes like chickens, while studies of morality suggest that those raised in extended families and who regularly donate the use of their own two hands in service to their community, don't have such problems.

  89. Jonathan Aguilar says:

    You just need to find the right people to feel good and to make them feel good wether it’s a relation ship friend or the best friend in the world. C:

  90. Tech Engeneers says:

    Please subscripe because im a bit lonely

  91. Chicago galaxy says:

    this explains everything

  92. Yellow Lamo says:

    Come on guys, make friends with lonely people. Specially in school, High School. Just say hi to lonely people.

  93. The Socially Awkward Falcon says:

    Me at 0:00 : I need something to watch, so this ought to do!

    Me at 8:00 : Why am I crying

  94. 1 957 896 vues says:

    I ended up alone by an "accident" as you say but I found virtues there, I am self sufficient with little and I can be happy, music, video games, that kind of thing, all this gives me dopamine and serotonins much more than being in the presence of friends but the only brake to my happiness, like 99% of men I think, it's not the fact of not having friends, the human being is self-sufficient, especially in this technological century, the real problem is not having a girlfriend. But you need friends for that, that's the vicious circle.

  95. kpun48 says:

    I’m in this video and I don’t like it

  96. ryn says:

    thanks youtube

  97. ほしぼし says:

    I really need a big hug (´;ω;`)

  98. Lightning Whip says:

    I have
    social anxiety
    Aquwardness when speaking to people
    No common sense, so I’m pretty much stupid. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. I do things without thinking them through. One time I tried to flush chop sticks down the toilet.(I don’t even know why I did that.)
    Can’t eat at restraunts without people staring at me, that’s honestly the very very worst part.
    I’m super super weird looking.
    And if I do socialize, I mess up my words pretty badly and I’m super ignorant about a lot of things.
    Can’t have a girlfriend for these reasons.
    People are like, “Why don’t you get yourself a girlfriend?” I say, “it’s complicated.” “Whats so complicated?”

    I think one of the worst parts is knowing how to truly make a woman feel loved, and being totally affectionate towards her and treat her right, yet knowing you’ll never have a girlfriend to be affectionate to.

    I am in pain.

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