Loneliness in Adolescence: What You Need to Know

The feeling of loneliness in adolescence is common among many teenagers. In this article, we'll explain everything you should know about it.
Loneliness in Adolescence: What You Need to Know

Last update: 02 March, 2019

Loneliness in adolescence is a common feeling that many teenagers experience. This feeling can appear even if they have lots of friends. Oftentimes, they may think that nobody understands them, and that they have different tastes and interests.

Problems socializing are usually because of low of self-esteem and shyness that teens often experience. Certainly, their loneliness and anxiety may also be related to their inability to resolve peer conflicts.

Loneliness in adolescence can become an indicator of individuality or personal freedom, although unfortunately, it’s also one of the most common problems human beings face.

Although everyone feels lonely at certain times, moments of solitude are very important for teenagers. However, it’s a problem when this feeling becomes permanent or causes suffering.

Loneliness in adolescence

In adolescence, teenagers need to be able to relate to their peers. Not feeling like they fit in can make some teens feel weak and stressed out. In addition, it can make them feel alone and helpless when dealing with problems.

Naturally, teenagers face many challenges and pressures on the road to adulthood. It can be difficult for parents to distinguish typical melancholy with actual loneliness in adolescence.

Sometimes, teenagers who feel lonely may seem shy and unsure of themselves. In addition, lonely teens are generally sad and withdrawn, and don’t know how to handle themselves in different social situations. Also, anxiety can be a sign of feeling lonely.

Loneliness in Adolescence: What You Need to Know

If you think your child might feel lonely, we recommend that you spend as much time as possible with him and talk about what’s going on in his life. Getting involved in his day-to-day will help you determine how he really feels.

Keep in mind that lonely teenagers can become lonely adults. If teens are alone, they may not learn from their relationships and peer interactions how to form healthy relationships in the future.

“The conflict between the need to belong to a group and the need to be seen as unique and individual is the dominant struggle of adolescence.”

–Jeanne Elium–

Friendship and loneliness in adolescence

Being alone can have positive and negative consequences for teens. Generally, their environment and how often they’re alone will influence this.

Certainly, loneliness gets better with a strong network of friends, and it gets worse with bad or few social connections. This shows just how vulnerable people in bad relationships can be. Also keep in mind that socialization is incredibly important in adolescence.

In fact, studies show that helping teens develop safe friendships and positive attitudes makes a big difference in reducing loneliness. In addition, you save them from suffering negative results.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to encourage your teen to talk to you about his feelings and share his thoughts. For example, if he’s interested in doing some kind of social activity, like sports or theater, you should encourage him to do it. Then, he can meet other teens with similar interests.

It’s also very helpful to work with him to improve his social skills. His shyness or anxiety may be holding him back and contributing to his loneliness.

Loneliness in Adolescence: What You Need to Know

Why do teenagers feel alone?

There are many things that can lead to loneliness in adolescence. However, these are the most common:

  • Prejudice and criticism
  • Family problems
  • Dissatisfaction with life
  • Lack of true friendship
  • Lack of social acceptance
  • Afraid to talk and share opinions
  • Feeling misunderstood by others
  • Not feeling accepted for personal preferences, such as music or style.

Finally, we want to remind you that if you see that loneliness negatively affects your teenager, don’t hesitate to talk to him to help in any way that you can. You can also contact his teachers, as well as professional support.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Iglesias Diz, J. L. (2013). Desarrollo del adolescente: Aspectos físicos, psicológicos y sociales. Pediatria Integral.
  • Hurlock, E. (1995). Psicología de la adolescencia. Psicología de la adolescencia.
  • Naranjo, C. R., & González, A. C. (2012). Autoestima en la adolescencia: Análisis y estrategias de intervención. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy.
  • Roa, A. (1982). La adolescencia. Revista Chilena de Pediatria.
  • Silva-Escorcia, I., & Mejía-Pérez, O. (2014). Autoestima, adolescencia y pedagogía. Revista Electrónica Educare. https://doi.org/10.15359/ree.19-1.13

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.