128 Stoic Quotes on Loneliness and Being Alone

Updated October 4, 2022

Being alone doesn't necessarily mean that you're lonely, and being lonely doesn't mean you're alone. These Stoic quotes on loneliness and being alone can help you remember that you are in control of how you feel and how you view your circumstances.

If you're looking for strength to harness the power of solitude and overcome loneliness, stick with us while we explore what some of history's greatest minds have to say about being alone, feeling lonely, dealing with other people, and more.

Stoic Quotes on Loneliness

The Stoics believed that you have everything you need within yourself at any given time. If you're feeling lonely, you are most certainly experiencing something that is universal to the human condition. That being said, there is tremendous opportunity in loneliness to get to know yourself better and reconnect with what really matters to you.

marcus aurelius image and stoic quote about the self

"It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you desire. Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own."

– Marcus Aurelius

"When you're alone you should call this condition tranquility and freedom, and think of yourself like the gods; and when you are with many, you shouldn't call it a crowd, or trouble, or uneasiness, but festival and company, and contentedly accept it.”

– Epictetus

“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.”

– Aristotle

“It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.”

– Albert Einstein

"The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.”

– Mark Twain

If you are lonely when you're alone, you are in bad company.”

– Jean-Paul Sarte

"Loneliness is one thing, solitude another.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

"Loneliness can be conquered only by those who can bear solitude.”

– Paul Tillich

“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.”

– Wayne Dyer

"Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.”

– May Sarton

"Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.”

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Loneliness is not cured by human company. Loneliness is cured by contact with reality.”

– Anthony de Mello

"For a crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love.”

– Francis Bacon

"I know the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started.”

– Ernest Hemingway

“The surest cure for vanity is loneliness.”

– Tom Wolfe

“Ordinary men hate solitude. But the Master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.”

– Laozi

"If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.”

– Henry David Thoreau

"As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

– Henry David Thoreau

"We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Stoic Quotes on Being Alone

There are tremendous benefits to spending time alone. If you're not used to being on your own without the influence of others, it can feel strange and even scary at first. However, solitude can offer you many priceless gifts if you are able to take control of your mind and overcome the instinct to feel lonely.

marcus aurelius image and stoic quote about retreating into yourself

Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.”

– Marcus Aurelius

"A good conscience fears no witness, but a guilty conscience is solicitous even in solitude. If we do nothing but what is honest, let all the world know it. But if otherwise, what does it signify to have nobody else know it, so long as I know it myself? Miserable is he who slights that witness.”

– Seneca

"It is sweet to mingle tears with tears; Griefs, where they wound in solitude, wound more deeply.”

– Seneca

"Solitude and company may be allowed to take their turns: the one creates in us the love of mankind, the other that of ourselves; solitude relieves us when we are sick of company, and conversation when we are weary of being alone, so that the one cures the other. There is no man so miserable as he that is at a loss how to use his time.”

– Seneca

"Solitude and company may be allowed to take their turns: the one creates in us the love of mankind, the other that of ourselves; solitude relieves us when we are sick of company, and conversation when we are weary of being alone, so that the one cures the other. There is no man so miserable as he that is at a loss how to use his time.”

– Seneca

"Solitude is a certain condition of a helpless man. For because a man is alone, he is not for that reason also solitary; just as though a man is among numbers, he is not therefore not solitary. When then we have lost either a brother, or a son, or a friend on whom we were accustomed to repose, we say that we are left solitary, though we are often in Rome, though such a crowd meet us, though so many live in the same place, and sometimes we have a great number of slaves. For the man who is solitary, as it is conceived, is considered to be a helpless person and exposed to those who wish to harm him.”

– Epictetus

"The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.”

– Orson Welles

"I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

– Henry David Thoreau

"It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company.”

– George Washington

“To live alone is the fate of all great souls.”

– Arthur Schopenhauer

“Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.”

– Martin Luther

“Solitude is independence.”

– Herman Hesse

“You only grow when you are alone.”

– Paul Newman

"Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone.”

– Octavio Paz

“The longer one is alone, the easier it is to hear the song of the earth.”

– Robert Anton Wilson

“As a body everyone is single, as a soul never.”

– Herman Hesse

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

– Henry David Thoreau

"By my intimacy with nature I find myself withdrawn from man. My interest in the sun and the moon, in the morning and the evening, compels me to solitude.”

– Henry David Thoreau

"A bore is someone who takes away my solitude and doesn't give me companionship in return.”

– Henry David Thoreau

“It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Delight in meditation and solitude. Compose yourself, be happy. You are a seeker.”

– Gautama Buddha

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is a society where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but nature more.”

– Lord Byron

“Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty, unfamiliar and perilous.”

– Thomas Mann

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

– Franz Kafka

“If you love someone, yo uare always joined with them– in joy, in absence, in solitude, in strife.”

– Rumi

“In silence there is eloquence.”

– Rumi

“A little while alone in your room/ will prove more valuable than anything else/ that could ever be given to you.”

– Rumi

Stoic Quotes About Relating to Yourself

Marcus Aurelius once wrote that "very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking." When you find yourself alone, you have the chance to dig deep and find the inner resources you possess that you didn't know existed.

marcus aurelius image and stoic quote about who you are alone and in company

"Settle on the type of person you want to be and stick to it, whether alone or in company."

– Marcus Aurelius

"It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinions than our own.”

– Marcus Aurelius

"The great blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach; but we shut our eyes, and, like people in the dark, we fall foul upon the very thing we search for, without finding it.”

– Seneca

"In a word, neither death, nor exile, nor pain, nor anything of this kind is the real cause of our doing or not doing any action, but our inward opinions and principles.”

– Epictetus

"Here is the beginning of philosophy: a recognition of the conflicts between men, a search for their cause, a condemnation of mere opinion .. . and the discovery of a standard of judgment.”

– Epictetus

"There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.”

– Aldous Huxley

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”

– Ernest Hemingway

"There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self.”

– Benjamin Franklin

"To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

– William Shakespeare

"If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.”

– Napoleon Hill

"Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave.”

– George Gurdjieff

"So then, the relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself.”

– Alan Watts

Stoic Quotes on Society

In our disjointed society, it's easy to feel remarkably alone even in a major city or in a bustling crowd. Building a self-conscious relationship with the rest of society can help you understand the type of person you want to be and how you can maintain your true self within a larger sphere of interaction.

epictetus quote about other people

"The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best."

– Epictetus

"He that lives alone lives in danger; society avoids many dangers.”

– Marcus Aurelius

"Do not waste what remains of your life in speculating about your neighbors, unless with a view to some mutual benefit. To wonder what so-and-so is doing and why, or what he is saying, or thinking, or scheming -- in a word, anything that distracts you from fidelity to the ruler within you -- means a loss of opportunity for some other task.”

– Marcus Aurelius

"No time is too short for the wicked to injure their neighbors.”

– Seneca

"Four things does a reckless man gain who covets his neighbor's wife - demerit, an uncomfortable bed, thirdly, punishment, and lastly, hell.”

– Seneca

"Live for thy neighbor if thou wouldst live for thyself.”

– Seneca

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”

– Marcus Aurelius

"A physician is not angry at the intemperance of a mad patient, nor does he take it ill to be railed at by a man in fever. Just so should a wise man treat all mankind, as a physician does his patient, and look upon them only as sick and extravagant.”

– Seneca

"A large part of mankind is angry not with the sins, but with the sinners.”

– Seneca

"It is to the interest of the commonwealth of mankind that there should be someone who is unconquered, someone against whom fortune has no power.”

– Seneca

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

– Mark Twain

"The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that man may become robots.”

– Erich Fromm

"Society is always taken by surprise at any new example of common sense.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Society has always seemed to demand a little more from human beings than it will get in practice.”

– George Orwell

"Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor.”

– Robert Frost

"All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.”

– Albert Einstein

"I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Stoic Quotes on Other People

Ah, other people. We can spend our whole lives trying to please others, trying to make others like us, or feeling at odds with the people around us. Particularly in our culture dominated by social media, it's easy to fixate on the opinions of others while never really getting to know ourselves.

Loneliness and being alone are topics that are inherently connected to the notion of 'other people." Solitude is defined by the lack of other people, but loneliness can crop up even when we're surrounded by people we've known for years.

marcus aurelius image and quote about being alone

"One whose chief regard is for his own mind, and for the divinity within him and the service of its goodness, will strike no poses, utter no complaints, and crave neither for solitude nor yet for a crowd."

– Marcus Aurelius

"How much time he saves who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks.”

– Marcus Aurelius

"When men hate or blame you, or say hurtful things about you, look deeply into their hearts and see what kind of men they are. You'll see how unnecessary it is to strain after their good opinion. Yet you must still think kindly of them. they are your neighbors. The gods help them as they do you, by dreams and oracles, to win their hearts' desires.”

– Marcus Aurelius

"Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.” – Marcus Aurelius
I will govern my life and thoughts as if the whole world were to see the one and read the other, for what does it signify to make anything a secret to my neighbor, when to God, who is the searcher of our hearts, all our privacies are open?”

– Seneca

"Be careful whom you associate with. It is human to imitate the habits of those with whom we interact. We inadvertently adopt their interests, their opinions, their values, and their habit of interpreting events.”

– Epictetus

"It is not he who reviles or strikes you who insults you, but your opinion that these things are insulting.”

– Epictetus

"When you have decided that a thing ought to be done and are doing it, never avoid bein seen doing it, though many shall form an unfavorable opinion about it. For if it is not right to do it, avoid doing the thing; but if it is right, why are you afraid of those who shall find fault wrongly?”

– Epictetus

"It is better by assenting to truth to conquer opinion, than by assenting to opinion to be conquered by truth.”

– Epictetus

"If anyone is unhappy, remember that his unhappiness is his own fault... Nothing else is the cause of anxiety or loss of tranquility except our own opinion.”

– Epictetus

"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.”

– Robin Williams

"Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.”

– Confucius

"People are like music, some speak the truth and others are just noise.”

– Bill Murray

"People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If small things have the power to disturb you, then who you think you are is exactly that: small.”

– Eckhart Tolle

“Don’t be trapped by dogma– which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”

– Steve Jobs

"Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”

– Oprah Winfrey

"Pay less attention to what men say. Just watch what they do.”

– Dale Carnegie

"Remember this: No one is looking at your imperfections; they're all too busy worrying about their own.”

– Isaac Mizrahi

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambition.”

– Mark Twain

“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

– Mark Twain

"People are like stained - glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"If you are willing to look at another person's behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person. then you will, over a period of time, cease to react at all.”

– Harbhajan Singh Yogi

"Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false.”

– Bertrand Russell

"Choose to be in close proximity to people who are empowering, who appeal to your sense of connection to intention, who see the greatness in you, who feel connected to God, who live a life that gives evidence that Spirit has found celebration through them.”

– Wayne Dyer

Stoic Quotes on Friendship

According to a recent study, Americans have fewer friends than ever before. About 12% of people interviewed for the study said they didn't have one friend in the world, while almost half of respondents claimed to have fewer than three close friends.

True friendship is hard to come by, and friendship is certainly something that is measured in quality, not quantity. These Stoic quotes on friendship can help you identify what you value in friendship with others and remember that there is tremendous power in being a friend to your own self.

"The comfort of having a friend may be taken away, but not that of having had one.”

– Seneca

"Consult your friend on all things, especially on those which respect yourself. His counsel may then be useful where your own self-love might impair your judgment.”

– Seneca

"Those that are a friend to themselves are sure to be a friend to all.”

– Seneca

"One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.”

– Seneca

"One who's our friend is fond of us; one who's fond of us isn't necessarily our friend.”

– Seneca

"When one has lost a friend one's eyes should be neither dry nor streaming. Tears, yes, there should be, but not lamentation.”

– Seneca

"True friends are the whole world to one another; and he that is a friend to himself is also a friend to mankind. Even in my studies the greatest delight I take is of imparting it to others; for there is no relish to me in the possessing of anything without a partner.”

– Seneca

"The spirit in which a thing is given determines that in which the debt is acknowledged; it's the intention, not the face-value of the gift, that's weighed.”

– Seneca

"But when you are looking on anyone as a friend when you do not trust him as you trust yourself, you are making a grave mistake, and have failed to grasp sufficiently the full force of true friendship.”

– Seneca

"No one would choose a friendless existence on condition of having all the other things in the world.”

– Aristotle

"With the exception of wisdom, I’m inclined to believe that the immortal gods have given nothing better to humanity than friendship.”

– Cicero

"Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

"There is no possession more valuable than a good and faithful friend.”

– Socrates

"The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones.”

– John Lennon

"Cultivate solitude and quiet and a few sincere friends, rather than mob merriment, noise and thousands of nodding acquaintances.”

– William Powell

"One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives.”

– Euripedes

“Life is nothing without friendship.”

– Marcus Tullius Cicero

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

– Marcel Proust

"Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

– Rumi

Stoic Quotes on Life’s Phases

If you're feeling lonely now, it's important to remember that there are different phases and stages of life. Just because you don't have any friends currently doesn't mean you are doomed to that fate your whole life. In fact, in several years you might find that you are so constantly surrounded by others that you actually long for the solitude that so pains you now.

"Observe constantly that all things take place by change, and accustom thyself to consider that the nature of the Universe loves nothing so much as to change the things which are, and to make new things like them.”

– Marcus Aurelius

"Love only what befalls you and is spun for you by fate.”

– Marcus Aurelius

"Everything that occurs teaches and prepares you for the next stage of life. Nothing is lost.”

– Zig Ziglar

"Every stage of life has its own form of power, and we're always sort of terrified as to whether we can make the jump to the next form of power.”

– Chuck Palahniuk

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

– T.S. Eliot

"The reason I still work at this stage of life is because I enjoy learning something new each day.”

– Clint Eastwood

"Bring into play the almighty power within you, so that on the stage of life you can fulfill your high destined role.”

– Paramahansa Yogananda

The ancient Stoics may have lived thousands of years before our time, but the topics they discussed are still as pertinent today as they were in the centuries surrounding the year zero. If you're looking for more inspiring quotes from the greatest minds in history, check out some of our other Stoic quotes on topics like gratitude, depression, adversity, and wisdom.

Written by: Sophia Merton
Sophia received her BA from Vassar College and has always maintained a deep interest in the question of how best to live one’s life. She hopes to help others understand how they can apply Stoicism in their day-to-day lives in order to become the person they want to be, embrace the present moment, pursue their purposes, and rid themselves of unnecessary anxiety.

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