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I am finding it really hard to shift this feeling of loneliness. I don’t have any really close friends and when I do, I think I expect them to put in as much effort as I do. I take everything very personally and can get upset by little things quickly.

If I do make friends and it is going well I start to feel panicky like I expect something to go wrong and I end up pushing them away before they can hurt me, it is like a vicious circle; or I will do something really stupid to try and test them to see if they are good friends and stick by me which normally has the opposite effect.

I say I am quite happy being alone but it starts to hurt after a while. I have this nightmare a lot where I am stood in the middle of a field wearing a black dress and can hear laughter all around me but can’t quite get to it and I’m still all alone. That’s how I feel constantly and I want to change but I can’t. (From London)


Answered by on -


 Thank you for your email. I have two suggestions: the first is to push yourself into new experiences with other people. I know this sounds difficult, but you want to meet new folks in new and different ways. Trying new things and meeting new people is a skill. Just because it may not be comfortable, doesn’t mean it can’t be good. I recommend taking fun or interesting courses so that you are in a relaxed atmosphere while making new connections.

Secondly, I’d recommend some individual therapy to understand why you panic when you do make a good friend. Understanding what happens when people do get close would be a good way to transform your feelings.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral


Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Loneliness. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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