What Is Transient Loneliness And Why Does It Occur?
Transient loneliness is a short-term loneliness that occurs when a person experiences a temporary change in their circumstances or environment.
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Q: What Is Transient Loneliness And Why Does It Occur?

A: Transient loneliness, also known as “state” or transitional loneliness, is a short-term type of loneliness that occurs when a person experiences a temporary change in their circumstances, environment or relationships.

Even when this change is a good thing overall — such as accepting a job promotion — a person may contend with feelings of transient loneliness as they adapt to their new circumstances.

Transient loneliness can come about during any change a person considers to be a significant upheaval, including:

  • Relocation
  • New employment or a new job role at a current place of employment
  • Becoming a parent
  • Separation from family or friends
  • Recent break-up or separation
  • Divorce
  • Graduating from high school or college
  • Temporary physical limitations due to health-related issues
  • Sudden development of a disability
  • Any other change a person finds to be significant disruption to their typical routine, including interpersonal conflicts

Transient loneliness is usually temporary, manifesting when one is unable to receive their desired amount of social connection with others over a brief period of time.

As a person adapts to change, transient loneliness can motivate them to re-establish existing bonds with others or to create new social connections.

This type of loneliness may be a good thing, serving as a catalyst for personal growth and acceptance of the change.

Transient loneliness generally subsides with time as a person acclimates to the changes they’ve undergone or are experiencing.

However, when feelings of loneliness do not abate or worsen over time a person may develop chronic loneliness. This type of loneliness is marked by a long-term inability to make connections with other people and feelings of isolation.

Adults who are dealing with a major transition of some kind are more likely to struggle with social isolation, which is linked to substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.

For this reason, transient loneliness can become problematic if it develops into chronic or long-term loneliness, although both transient and chronic loneliness can have negative impacts on health.

If you are struggling with loneliness right now, there are resources to find help, in addition to being able to connect meaningfully with others in similar situations on our forums.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our ongoing series The Roots Of Loneliness Project: Unearthing Why We Feel Alone, the first-of-its-kind directory that comprehensively explores the phenomenon of loneliness and 80+ types that we might experience over the course of our lives.

Click the link to find resources and information on virtually any form of loneliness you may be personally experiencing.


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