Lonely in Your 20s? It’s Not as Bad as You Might Think

Why young adults are the loneliest age group — and why that’s okay.

Stephan Joppich
8 min readApr 24, 2022


Image created on Canva

I’m telling you this as someone wading through his 20s right now: Fighting loneliness has been one of the biggest struggles in my life. There have been so many instances where I felt detached, didn’t have anyone to talk to, or was craving human connection.

And make no mistake, I’m not an exception.

Several reports have shown that 16 to 24-year-olds are the loneliest age group. In fact, the world’s largest loneliness study revealed that 41% of them feel lonely ‘often’ or ‘very often.’ In comparison, only 27% of people over 75 reported these feelings. And the second loneliest group? 25 to 34-year-olds. So despite popular belief, loneliness tends to decrease with age. Turns out, feeling lonely in your 20s is extremely normal.

This begs a crucial question: Why?

Why do we feel so lonely and isolated? Why are we so much more at risk? And why does nobody seem to care? Here are five reasons why 20-somethings feel so desperately lonely — and how we might benefit from that.

1. The Silent Pandemic

The numbers I cited above were raised before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. And not surprisingly, the situation has worsened since then. A Harvard report of February 2021 found that 43% of young adults reported increased loneliness since the pandemic.

But the most shocking finding to me was this:

“About half of lonely young adults in our survey reported that no one in the past few weeks had “taken more than just a few minutes” to ask how they are doing in a way that made them feel like the person “genuinely cared.”

Phew. I was definitely one of these people.

While the “real ”pandemic was endangering older generations, a silent pandemic of loneliness spread and crippled especially young people.

Of course, only future studies can tell how severely the pandemic impacted loneliness. But from my own reflections and talking to friends, I can tell that we’ll experience an aftershock of the (loneliness) pandemic. Here’s why:



Stephan Joppich

Engineer turned philosophy student • I write about loneliness, books & minimalism • Get fortnightly food for thought → stephanjoppich.com/newsletter/