Social Isolation: 37 Quotes
Social Isolation is complex. For some, it is self imposed, a choice: a way to find motivation, creativity, and clear the mind. These people can rejoin their social connections whenever they choose, and are likely socially stimulated to the point that they need solitude, not isolation. The 18th century French poet Joseph Roux said “Solitude vivifies; isolation kills.”
But for most, it is not voluntary. Isolation can be the result of disability, trauma, disillusionment, or having struggles with mental health. Once isolated, it can be difficult for an individual to reconnect. Social isolation can cause detrimental impacts on health, and according to the CDC, “significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.”
Here are 37 quotes that explore the varying experiences of social isolation.
1.) “Solitude vivifies; isolation kills.” – Joseph Roux
2.) “If isolation tempers the strong, it is the stumbling-block of the uncertain.” – Paul Cezanne
3.) “We don’t function well as human beings when we’re in isolation.” – Robert Zemeckis
4.) “Isolation is a self-defeating dream.” – Carlos Salinas de Gortari
5.) “No one can live entirely on their own, nor can any country or society exist in isolation.” – Daisaku Ikeda
6.) “The mere suggestion that not speaking for a day can give you an appreciation of the social isolation that comes with the experience of disability, particularly those whose impairments prohibit them from communicating verbally, is insensitive at best.” – Stella Young
7.) “Anyone in recovery knows that isolation is the biggest enemy.” – Ivan Moody
8.) “Overnight successes are generally years in the making. And most progress is made in isolation, far from the public eye.” – Andrew Yang
9.) “With technology, there is so much isolation with people now, that there are very few places where you can connect.” – Mireille Giuliano
10.) “I rent houses in LA when I’m filming. I find the isolation there terrifying. There’s nowhere to go, there’s nowhere to be with people.” – Kathleen Turner
11.) “It’s clear to me that anyone, anywhere, can experience loneliness, isolation, solitude, and estrangement; and most people probably do encounter these things at some point in their lives.” – Brendan Myers
12.) “Being alone never felt right. Sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right.”- Charles Bukowski
13.) “I need some isolation, it’s necessary to me, that’s just who I am. I need to be left alone.” – Laura Marling
14.) “None of us can be truly human in isolation.” – Harold S. Kushner
15.) “There’s a great deal of scientific evidence that social connectedness is a very strong protector of emotional well-being, and I think there’s no question that social isolation has greatly increased in our culture in, say, the past 50 years, past 100 years.” – Andrew Weil
16.) “Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.” – Jodi Picoult
17.) “Each of us is now electronically connected to the globe, and yet we feel utterly alone.” – Dan Brown
18.) “Isolation and loneliness create the conditions for rapid aging. The key is to stay connected and open to new relationships throughout your life.” – Deepak Chopra
19.) “Isolation is aloneness that feels forced upon you, like a punishment. Solitude is aloneness you choose and embrace. I think great things can come out of solitude, out of going to a place where all is quiet except the beating of your heart.” – Jeanne Marie Laskas
20.) “Veterans report that service dogs help break their isolation. People will often avert their eyes when they see a wounded veteran. But when the veteran has a dog, the same people will come up and say, ‘Hi’ to pet the dog and then strike up a conversation.” – Al Franken
21.) “Nobody enjoys the company of others as intensely as someone who usually avoids the company of others.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana
22.) “We don’t heal in isolation, but in community.” – S. Kelley Harrell
23.) “Finally, the last point that can kill your spark is Isolation. As you grow older you will realize you are unique. When you are little, all kids want ice cream and Spiderman. As you grow older to college, you still are a lot like your friends. But ten years later and you realize you are unique. What you want, what you believe in, what makes you feel, may be different from even the people closest to you. This can create conflict as your goals may not match with others. And you may drop some of them.” – Chetan Bhagat
24.) “Is intelligence always good? I wonder. What if intelligence is wasted? What if intelligence leads to more loneliness rather than to fulfillment? What if instead of productivity and clarity, it generates pain, isolation, and regret?” – Iain Reid
25.) “The trick is not to be isolated―if you’re isolated, like Winston Smith in 1984, then sooner or later you’re going to break, as he finally broke. That was the point of Orwell’s story. In fact, the whole tradition of popular control has been exactly that: to keep people isolated, because if you can keep them isolated enough, you can get them to believe anything. But when people get together, all sorts of things are possible.” – Noam Chomsky
26.) “I grew up on a farm in Oregon, an adopted child, with one sibling, and parents the age of all my peers’ grandparents. We lived in isolation from the people around us, and it was always a struggle to cope with as a child. The heart can really expire under those conditions. I always felt like I was looking at the world from the outside.” – Larry Harvey
27.) “They say isolation drives you crazy. Sure it does – when you can’t get enough of it.” – Anneli Rufus
28.) “People who smile while they are alone used to be called insane, until we invented smartphones and social media.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana
29.) “[The modern age] knows nothing about isolation and nothing about silence. In our quietest and loneliest hour the automatic ice-maker in the refrigerator will cluck and drop an ice cube, the automatic dishwasher will sigh through its changes, a plane will drone over, the nearest freeway will vibrate the air. Red and white lights will pass in the sky, lights will shine along highways and glance off windows. There is always a radio that can be turned to some all-night station, or a television set to turn artificial moonlight into the flickering images of the late show. We can put on a turntable whatever consolation we most respond to, Mozart or Copland or the Grateful Dead.” – Wallace Stegner
30.) “Loneliness doesn’t come from being alone, but from being surrounded by people who can’t understand you. A deep feeling of isolation comes when you realize that even the person standing right next to you is unreachable.” – Anonymous
31.) “We are not meant to live in isolation. Not in nuclear families or bubbled existence. The richness of life is found in community, in cooperation, in becoming a part of a greater whole. Expand your bubble, drop your shield. Invite love in. Do not attempt to do it alone.” – Jeanette LeBlanc
32.) “All over the world, there are people dying for just one person to listen to their stories. Loneliness kills.” – Wayne Gerard Trotman
33.) “There are so many intricacies to our brain that won’t be understood unless we start to look at the system as a whole. All these different details don’t operate in isolation.” – Paul Allen
34.) “Isolation is huge when you go through something traumatizing. You tend to want to isolate and kind of hide in your hole and kind of just go away.” – Jeff Bauman
35.) “And that as the Internet grows, and as our ability to be linked up, like–I mean, you and I coulda done this through e-mail, and I never woulda had to meet you, and that woulda been easier for me. Right? Like, at a certain point, we’re gonna have to build some machinery, inside our guts, to help us deal with this. Because the technology is just gonna get better and better and better and better. And it’s gonna get easier and easier, and more and more convenient, and more and more pleasurable, to be alone with images on a screen, given to us by people who do not love us but want our money. Which is all right. In low doses, right? But if that’s the basic main staple of your diet, you’re gonna die. In a meaningful way, you’re going to die.” – David Foster Wallace
36.) “I was put off from the world – so I was forced to become original.” – Joseph Haydn
37.) “She didn’t understand how other people did it, how they just strolled right up to strangers and started conversations — how they made themselves into people strangers would ever want to meet. She wasn’t shy, not exactly. She was afraid.” – Katie Cotugno
Visible Network Labs’ PARTNERme tool works to combat social isolation. PARTNERme identifies areas of need, provides resource referrals, and helps improve social connectedness and health outcomes in communities around the country.
If you are struggling with social isolation, mental health, or have thoughts of self-harm, please know you are not alone. There are resources in Colorado, and every state in the US. Please view the resources below:
Suicide Prevention Hotline, Toll Free – 800-273-8255 – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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About the Author: Will Jacobson
Will Jacobson is the Business Development Representative on VNL’s Marketing and Communications Team. Originally from New York City, Will loves living in Colorado and all the outdoor life it has to offer. He’s also a pretty big foodie!