Elderly woman stares our window, there are purple flowers on the windowsill

10/06/2024 Top five tips for supporting someone who is lonely

Loneliness is the feeling that we experience when the amount or nature of social interactions in our lives doesn't feel right. It may be triggered by different life events, like bereavement or illness, or it may appear out of nowhere. Chronic loneliness can have a serious impact on our health - physical, mental and emotional. Research suggests that it can be as bad for our physical health as smoking 10-15 cigarettes a day. It can also contribute to depression or anxiety, amongst other things.

Importantly, loneliness is something we will all feel at some point in our lives. So it is something we need to talk about and remedy in our society, which is seeing increased levels of loneliness, with approximately 3 million people in England saying they felt lonely often in the last two years.  

We don’t always realise when we are lonely, even if we actually are. When we are lonely we can find it harder to reach out and talk about it, and sometimes we can even feel embarrassed. So it’s helpful if those around us are able to notice when we may be finding things challenging, and support us to do the things that can help us feel less lonely or get the support we need to feel better. 

We can help each other to feel less lonely, and doing so can make a huge difference to someone, as well as benefitting ourselves and our wellbeing. So, what can we do to support someone who might be feeling lonely?

Be there

Often you don’t need to do much except help someone realise that you’re there for them and that you care. Knowing they have someone who is available without judgement is one of the key steps in feeling less lonely. Ask that person what you can do to support them and what will make them feel better – it might just be knowing that they can call or text you whenever they need to.


It can take time and small steps for someone to start to connect again after they have been lonely, as social connection is a habit that we build. Be patient and take time to support them in small ways. Try not to push what you think is best for them, rather ask them what might support them. 

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