People who were deeply lonely as a child usually have these 9 personality traits

When you reflect on your childhood, is it full of warm memories of being surrounded by friends and family?

Or do you remember eating lunch at school alone and spending the entire summer holiday by yourself?

As children, we crave love and attention. But various things can result in our childhood feeling lonely.

It could be down to neglect from parents, lack of friends, being an only child, or not being allowed to join in social activities, to name a few.

My parents had no friendships of their own and were very reclusive. 

So, they would make me feel bad for wanting to spend time with my friends and prevent me from forming relationships with my cousins. 

I remember wanting to spend more time outside the home, attend family events, and join the kid’s clubs on vacation. But my parents didn’t see the benefits of me having a social life.

The loneliness I felt as a child has left an imprint on who I am today, impacting my personality and shaping my behaviors and perspectives. 

If you recall feeling lonely as a child, you’ll likely have the following personality traits too…

1) Introversion

I am very introverted, and I’ve always been sure it was due to my upbringing.

Here’s why…

Growing up with limited social interaction leads you to find comfort and solace in your own company

Essentially, you don’t have a choice – you have to get used to it and be ok with being alone.

But after years of seeking comfort in solitary moments, being alone becomes your safe and comforting space.

As a result, you might now prefer the tranquility of solitary activities, such as reading, writing, or engaging in creative pursuits. 


This is not true for all children who grew up lonely. 

I explored this topic further on Reddit and found that about half of people who felt lonely growing up agreed with this notion, while the other half disagreed. 

2) Lack of social awareness

Having limited exposure to social interactions while young can mean you lack the social skills needed to navigate interactions as an adult.

This is very common in homeschooled kids or those not allowed to join extracurricular activities or spend time with friends. 

If your childhood felt isolated, you may now struggle to understand social cues, norms, and expectations, leading to challenges in social settings. 

This lack of social awareness might manifest as difficulty in:

  • Interpreting facial expressions
  • Understanding sarcasm
  • Discerning appropriate social behaviors

Naturally, the following personality trait goes hand in hand with this one…

3) Difficulty making friends

If you lacked friends, were bullied, or faced barriers to forming friendships in childhood, you will likely find it hard to make friends in adulthood, too.

Experiencing loneliness as a child can leave a lingering sense of apprehension or distrust toward others, making it challenging to initiate and maintain friendships. 

What’s more, when children are lonely, they start to think that they must be different from everyone else or that something is wrong with them.

Perhaps you often watched other kids playing in groups and felt sad that you were not included.

These childhood experiences create a fear of rejection or abandonment, preventing us from reaching out and forming meaningful connections with others. 

As a result, you might choose the safety of solitude over the uncertainties of social interaction.

Research supports this. 

One study published in the PLOS ONE journal found that lonely adults were 1.24 times more likely to have no or minimal friendships during childhood.

4) Insecure self worth 

As mentioned, growing up without peer validation or affirmation can leave you questioning your value and worthiness of love and acceptance. 

These deep-seated feelings of inadequacy or unworthiness may persist into adulthood, manifesting as:

  • Frequently doubting yourself
  • Criticizing yourself for minor mistakes
  • Struggling to believe in your abilities
  • Constantly seeking validation from others

Even if you’ve had many external successes or accomplishments, childhood loneliness can still undermine your self-worth. 

This feeling can cast shadows of doubt on all your achievements and make you feel like whatever you do is not good enough.

5) Self-reliance

If you experienced neglect as a child, you would have learned to navigate life’s challenges independently. 

Without the support network of friends or family, you may have developed a strong resilience and resourcefulness in coping with adversity. 

This self-reliance becomes ingrained in your personality, shaping your approach to problem-solving and decision-making in adulthood. 

Self-reliance can be a very admirable trait, as it means you can do things without waiting for the approval or assistance of others. 

It can also give you impressive inner strength to overcome life’s obstacles. As a result, you likely have a high ability to persevere and thrive amidst adversity.


A lonely childhood can make you too reliant on yourself, leading to the following not-so-positive trait…

6) Hyper independence

zodiac signs known for their fierce independence and strong will People who were deeply lonely as a child usually have these 9 personality traits

Beyond self-reliance and resilience, isolation and loneliness during childhood can lead you to develop a deep-seated aversion to relying on others.

This is because relying on others or asking for help makes you incredibly vulnerable.

What’s more, if you have low self-worth, you may also believe that no one would be willing to help you anyway, so the only way to get something done is to do it yourself.

This belief can cause you to:

  • Never ask for help, even when you need it
  • Reject offers of assistance from other
  • Take on too much yourself, leading to burnout and exhaustion

I recently read Brene Brown’s book ‘Daring Greatly,’ which discusses vulnerability. 

Brene explains how vulnerability is essential for forming connections with others. And the more we avoid being vulnerable, the harder it is for us to form meaningful relationships.

So, although independence can be empowering, excessive self-reliance like this only isolates you further.

7) Introspection

A more positive trait that being alone as a child can give you is introspection.

Having so much time alone in your bedroom leads you to dive deep into your thoughts, emotions, and experiences. 

As a result, you likely habitually reflected on things and still do so today.

Being highly reflective is a beautiful trait, as it means you have spent much time exploring your identity, values, and aspirations.

So, while introspection may arise from a place of loneliness, it becomes a powerful tool for self-awareness and self-discovery, guiding you to authenticity and fulfillment.

8) Rich inner life

Along with introspection, feeling lonely as a child likely led you to cultivate a rich inner life.

I had a very imaginative world of thoughts, dreams, and fantasies as a teenager. 

Because I was lonely and unhappy, I often imagined a fantasy present or future. 

Interestingly, I was surrounded by a supportive and loving group of friends in all my fantasies.

When I started researching whether there is a connection between loneliness and imagination, I was pleased to find out there is – there wasn’t something wrong with me!

According to a study published in Nature Communications, loneliness can help grow parts of the brain tied to imagination.

The researchers hypothesize that when a person is deprived of external stimuli and companionship, they turn inward. 

Seeking refuge in their minds results in a highly active brain, strengthening the brain regions tied to:

  • Reminiscing
  • Thinking about others
  • Creativity
  • Future planning.

During my childhood, my rich inner life became a sanctuary, offering solace and companionship in the absence of genuine external relationships. 

And it’s likely that having such a vivid imagination back then is connected to my highly creative nature as an adult, which brings me to the final personality trait…

9) High creativity

It is well known that imagination sparks in the depths of solitude. It’s why authors go to secluded places to write their next book and artists seek inspiration in the mountains.

If you were familiar with solitude as a child, you likely turned to your imagination as a source of inspiration and expression. 

So, while loneliness has many negative impacts, it cultivates a fertile ground for creativity, allowing ideas to bloom and flourish. 

You’ve likely learned to channel your emotions and experiences into works of beauty and meaning through art, writing, music, or other creative endeavors. 

In this way, creativity becomes a lifeline, bridging the gap between isolation and connection to the world. 

Final thoughts

From my self-awareness work, I’ve determined how my feeling of loneliness growing up continues to impact me today.

I’m definitely introverted because of it, and I do not have the same social skills as my peers. This can cause me to retreat into myself, avoid asking for help, and hold myself back from fostering meaningful connections.

But the good news is knowing this trait of mine and where it comes from empowers me to overcome it. 

While it requires effort, I push myself to be more social and meet new people so I no longer have to experience that feeling of loneliness.

If you were also a lonely child, I hope this article has helped you better understand yourself and what you need to change to create a future of love, connection, and companionship.

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Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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