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Solitude vs. isolation

Hey guys!


I have a lot of time to myself (particularly now during uni holidays), and most of the time it’s quite good. But sometimes I have found myself getting into the trap of keeping myself isolated from others, when it’s unhealthy to do so. The balance between solitude and isolation is really fine, and sometimes it’s difficult to know when I’ve crossed that line. It was one of my previous psychologists who suggested this concept to me, and I think it could really help others.


Just wondering your thoughts on this? Also if I’ve posted this in the right section?

Re: Solitude vs. isolation

Hey @mrmusic, it seems like a good section for it as it's something a lot of people need help with Smiley Happy Thank you so much for starting this discussion. I have wondered this myself. I have the opposite problem of not being able to enjoy solitude and overbooking my week then of course burning out! I think solitude is really darn important. The most important relationship are the ones we have with ourselves.


But you are onto something. How can we tell whether we are spending a detrimental amount of time alone? Potentially creating a barrier between ourselves and others?


I will tag some community members for input Smiley Happy


@roseisnotaplant @letitgo @May_ @Bee @j95 @redhead

Re: Solitude vs. isolation

I can really relate to this @mrmusic i dont know that line either. i need my time alone but i also need time around people.
Trying to make my misery
just a piece of my history
A little less victim a little more victory
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Re: Solitude vs. isolation

Its so true, what if sometimes isolation isnt as much a choice rather than its something you cant get out of. Like sometimes when you try get out of your house and get some company, the person/people are out doing other things which leaves you remaning stuck at home feeling isolated.
Maybe its hard to tell the difference between solitude and isolation or maybe they can be both at the same? solitude can turn into isolation when you start feeling lonely and stuck.. and well isolated

But locking yourself away from others for the wrong reasons isnt healthy to do for long. Even if you beleive its whats best.
Generally if i feel this way (this includes everyone) think about doing the opposite of what your brain wants. Brain says lock yourself away, so do the opostite, go out for a walk, get yourself breakfast. Have a nice time doinging something by yourself but dont isolate yourself from the world. You belong in it too..

Re: Solitude vs. isolation

Hey @Wobbly, that is such an awesome way of describing exactly what I was thinking! Thank you so much! Smiley Happy

Yeah, I find it hard sometimes to know the difference - especially in the moment.


Edit: last line

Re: Solitude vs. isolation

Hey @mrmusic Smiley Happy uni hols can get pretty isolating sometimes. I have also struggled to know where the line is between spending some quality time alone and it being too much time - what are some signs for you that it might be too much alone time?

Re: Solitude vs. isolation

Hi @May_, when I’m feeling a bit flat, that’s one of the first things I look at - and often I find that I have been alone too much and not associating with people as much as I would find helpful. I have autism so I find social situations a bit anxiety-provoking, but most of the time I feel very happy as I have wonderful friends to hang out with. Smiley Happy


Still keen to hear other people’s thoughts!

Re: Solitude vs. isolation

Hey @mrmusic, great thread! I definitely struggle to maintain a balance between solitude and isolation. Too much of either alone time or people-time (not the best term, I know!) can be detrimental...

It's one of the first things I consider when I'm feeling a bit flat, too.

I try to consider my motivations and thoughts when I'm spending time alone to determine whether I'm seeking solitude and isolation. Depending on how I feel, if it's isolation, I might then try to take action, even if its something simple, like texting a friend, to break that isolation.

Solitude is the more enjoyable experience, and I'll often be more inclined to do things that make me feel happy/relaxed, like write or read a book. If I'm feeling isolated, or isolating myself, I tend to be less motivated to do those things, and might just listen to music and ruminate on things for a while.


Those are just some of my signs/distinctions between solitude and isolation, and I've enjoyed reading your thoughts and those of other forum users about this Smiley Happy   

// Spiral outward, keep going. //