Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Loneliness

Emotion Loneliness

When you want to write the emotion loneliness, it's important to "show" the emotion your character is experiencing through their physical reactions and dialogue, rather than "tell" it. In this article we provide you with inspiration so you can avoid show; don't tell and immerse your readers in your story.

Loneliness is a complex emotional state that arises when a person perceives a discrepancy between their desired level of social contact and their actual level of social contact. It is often accompanied by feelings of isolation, emptiness, and sadness. Loneliness can be experienced even when surrounded by people and can be caused by a variety of factors such as social rejection, the loss of a loved one, or a major life transition.

  1. Different Types of Loneliness
  2. Situations Associated with Loneliness
  3. Physical Reactions to Loneliness
  4. Thoughts Associated with Loneliness
  5. Atmosphere of Loneliness
  6. Verbs Associated with Loneliness
  7. Emotions Before Loneliness
  8. Emotions After Loneliness
  9. Telling Loneliness Examples to Avoid
  10. Practical Examples of Showing Loneliness
  11. Exercises for Showing Loneliness

Different Types of Loneliness

Here are some different types of loneliness:

  • Social loneliness: feeling disconnected from others and lacking a sense of belonging in social situations.
  • Emotional loneliness: feeling disconnected from others on an emotional level, lacking close relationships and not being able to confide in others.
  • Existential loneliness: feeling disconnected from the world and questioning one's purpose or existence.
  • Situational loneliness: feeling lonely due to a specific circumstance, such as being alone in a new city or after a breakup.

Situations Associated with Loneliness

Here are some situations where a character might experience the emotion of loneliness:

  • Moving to a new place or starting a new school/job
  • Losing a loved one or going through a breakup/divorce
  • Feeling isolated or misunderstood by friends and family
  • Being the only one with a certain interest or hobby
  • Feeling like an outsider in a group or community
  • Being physically separated from loved ones for a long period of time
  • Struggling with mental health issues such as depression or anxiety
  • Growing old and feeling disconnected from younger generations

Physical Reactions to Loneliness

Here are some physical reactions a character experiencing loneliness might have:

  • Slumped posture or closed body language
  • Lack of eye contact or avoiding social situations
  • Slow movements or lethargy
  • Decreased appetite or overeating
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Lack of interest in personal hygiene or grooming
  • Constantly seeking reassurance or attention from others
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Increased susceptibility to illness or physical ailments

Thoughts Associated with Loneliness

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing loneliness might have:

  • Why am I always alone?
  • I wish someone was here with me right now.
  • Does anyone really care about me?
  • I feel like I don't belong anywhere.
  • I'm tired of feeling isolated and disconnected.
  • I envy those who have close relationships.
  • Maybe it's my fault that I'm alone.
  • I hate the feeling of being forgotten.
  • Is there something wrong with me?

Atmosphere of Loneliness

Here are some ways that you might reflect the emotion of loneliness in the atmosphere of your scene:

  • Use a setting that is isolated or desolate, such as a deserted street or an abandoned house
  • Create a sense of emptiness by describing a lack of activity or noise
  • Use weather to reflect the character's emotions, such as a cold and rainy day or a dark and stormy night
  • Use lighting to create a sense of isolation, such as a dimly lit room or a single light source
  • Use metaphors or similes to describe the character's emotional state, such as feeling like a lone wolf or a castaway on a deserted island
  • Use objects or props that emphasize the character's loneliness, such as a single chair in an empty room or a photograph of a loved one who is no longer there

Verbs Associated with Loneliness

Here are some verbs commonly associated with the emotion of loneliness:

  • Yearn
  • Crave
  • Pining
  • Long
  • Ache
  • Desolate
  • Isolated
  • Emptied
  • Forsaken
  • Abandoned
  • Solitary
  • Secluded
  • Cut-off
  • Detached

Emotions Before Loneliness

Here are some emotions that may come before a character experiences loneliness:

  • Sadness
  • Disappointment
  • Rejection
  • Isolation
  • Abandonment
  • Betrayal
  • Longing
  • Melancholy
  • Regret

Emotions After Loneliness

Here are some emotions that may come after a character experiences loneliness:

  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Abandonment
  • Rejection
  • Longing
  • Emptiness
  • Numbness
  • Self-pity
  • Bitterness
  • Envy
  • Jealousy
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Desperation
  • Vulnerability
  • Insecurity
  • Anxiety
  • Fear

It's important to note that everyone experiences emotions differently, so these are just some possible responses to loneliness. As a writer, you can use these emotions to create complex and realistic characters who are dealing with the aftermath of loneliness.

Telling Loneliness Examples to Avoid

Here are some examples of telling the emotion loneliness in a sentence. You should avoid things like this:

  • She felt lonely sitting in her empty apartment.
  • John had never felt so alone in his life.
  • Sarah's loneliness was palpable as she walked through the empty streets.
  • The feeling of isolation weighed heavily on him.
  • Mary couldn't shake the sense of loneliness that had been following her all day.
  • He was consumed by loneliness after the death of his wife.
  • The emptiness she felt was overwhelming.
  • Loneliness had become a constant companion for him.
  • The silence in the room only heightened her sense of loneliness.

Practical Examples of Showing Loneliness

Here are some examples of showing loneliness in a sentence:

  • The sound of the clock ticking echoed through the empty room.
  • She curled up in bed, hugging her pillow tightly.
  • He scrolled through his phone, searching for a message that never came.
  • The silence was deafening as he walked through the deserted streets.

Exercises for Showing Loneliness

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing loneliness:

  • Put your character in a setting that emphasizes their isolation, such as a deserted island, an empty house, or a quiet park.
  • Write a scene where your character tries to reach out to someone but is unable to connect, either because the other person is not receptive or because of external circumstances.
  • Describe your character's physical sensations when they are lonely, such as feeling cold, hungry, or tired.
  • Write a letter or a diary entry from your character's perspective, expressing their feelings of loneliness and longing.
  • Create a backstory for your character that explains why they feel lonely, such as a childhood trauma, a failed relationship, or a recent loss.
  • Show how your character copes with loneliness, either through unhealthy habits like substance abuse or through creative outlets like writing or painting.
  • Introduce a secondary character who helps your protagonist overcome their loneliness, either by becoming a friend or a romantic partner.

Want more help with showing emotion instead of telling? You find more help in our full list of emotions.

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