18 Personality Traits That Can Lead to Loneliness

Loneliness is marked by feelings of isolation, despite wanting social connections. It is often perceived as an involuntary separation, rejection, or abandonment by other people. Certain personality traits can lead to a person feeling lonely—here are 18 of these traits.


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High levels of neuroticism are associated with a higher risk of feeling lonely. “Neuroticism, one of the Big 5 personality traits, is typically defined as a tendency toward anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and other negative feelings,” says Psychology Today. All personality traits exist on a spectrum; some people are just much more neurotic than others, which can lead to feeling isolated.

Low Conscientiousness

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Lower conscientiousness is linked to a higher likelihood of loneliness. Less conscientious individuals may struggle with organization and responsibility, which can affect social relationships.


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Introverts recharge and get more energy by spending more time alone than with others. By definition, introversion is a personality trait characterized by a focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation. Introverts may be less likely to seek out social connections, contributing to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Low Self-Esteem

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People with low self-esteem may feel unworthy of others’ attention. Instead of risking rejection or the thought that they could be judged, they can withdraw, which can lead to chronic loneliness.


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One study on a population of subjects aged 60–79 showed that, “among women, high agreeableness at baseline was significantly associated with a higher risk of becoming lonely. Among men, low agreeableness, low conscientiousness, and high neuroticism at baseline were significantly associated with a higher risk of becoming lonely.”


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Detachment, a trait associated with some personality disorders, can lead to loneliness due to a lack of interest in social relationships. When someone cannot make a connection with another human being or has a feeling of being “attached,” it can be isolating, even if they don’t understand the feeling.


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People who constantly push for arguments or are disagreeable for the sake of tension have a hard time creating strong bonds. People prefer not to be around people who will be negative and argue with them about everything, which leads them to disassociate with antagonistic people.


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Our inhibitions are what stop us from acting on every thought that crosses our minds. It makes us think about consequences and how our actions will affect those around us. Disinhibited behavior can lead to impulsive actions that might damage social ties.


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The personality type of psychoticism involves traits like aggression, impulsivity, and antisocial behavior, including recklessness, inappropriate emotional expression, and disregard for common sense. While psychoticism can lead to great creativity, it can also make it hard to create social bonds, and the cliche of the tortured artist can ring true.

Negative Affectivity

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We all have negative moments in our lives. However, high negative affectivity can result in a more pessimistic outlook and difficulty in social interactions. People can find consistently negative people draining, making them want to spend less and less time with the person until they finally end up removed from their social circle.

Social Withdrawal

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Depression is a huge culprit in why people start to withdraw socially. Losing interest in things you once enjoyed and not having the desire to do anything are key signs of depression. When one withdraws from social activities, it can cause depression to become worse as chronic loneliness sets in.

Paranoid Beliefs

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Paranoid thinking can cause mistrust in others. When one is highly paranoid, it can have two effects, both leading to loneliness. One is when the distrust leads you to isolate yourself to not get hurt or used by the outside world. The other is when people pull away because they get worn down by accusations and conspiracy theories.

Lack of Empathy

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Empathy is the ability to care for and understand other people’s feelings. It is the cornerstone of any strong interpersonal connection, as every being wants to feel understood and seen. People who have no empathy for others come off as cold and self-centered, making it hard to have and keep friends.

Poor Intimacy Skills

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The Guardian writes, “People who share intimacy ‘can understand each other without verbalizing, in a way that other people don’t have access to,’” according to neuroscientist and author Giovanni Frazzetto. Struggling with intimacy can prevent the formation of deep bonds. Lack of the ability to form intimate relationships is why many people remain single, even with a plethora of choices.

Impaired Self-Direction

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Difficulty in setting and pursuing personal goals can lead to a lack of purpose and social engagement. When one doesn’t know themselves or where they fit into the world, connecting with others on anything but a superficial level is impossible.

Excessive Need for Admiration

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In narcissistic traits, an excessive need for admiration can lead to superficial relationships that do not fulfill the need for deeper connections. Part of creating authentic connections requires a two-way street of supporting, uplifting, and being honest with both parties. The excessive need for admiration by one party can leave people feeling as though they have to always “worship” the other person, which can push them away.


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Narcissistic personality disorder consists of a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy, resulting in difficulties in social relationships. These people have a preoccupation with their specialty and uniqueness, and only feel understood by other high-status people. Loneliness may be common in narcissists who don’t feel understood and miss meaningful relationships with evenly matched others.

Social Inactivity

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A lack of social activity, whether due to personality traits or external circumstances, can lead to a decrease in social connections and increased loneliness. To stop feeling lonely in this instance, one must go out and interact with the world, whether that is with a small group of friends or exploring a hobby to meet new people.

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