In an ongoing series of articles in Slate Magazine ("The Happiness Project") Gretchen has this to say about the effects of loneliness:
Some Counter-Intuitive Facts about Loneliness.
Posted Monday, November 16, 2009 6:18 AM | By Gretchen Rubin
Sometimes people ask, “If you had to pick just one thing, what would be the one secret to a happy life?” The answer is clear: strong bonds with other people. If I had to pick one thing, that’s it. The wisdom of the ages and the current scientific studies agree on this point.
On that subject, I just finished a fascinating book by John Cacioppo and William Patrick, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection. The book underscores the conclusion that few things will challenge your happiness more than loneliness.
Without thinking it through, I’d assumed that being lonely would make people warmer, more eager for connection, and more accepting of differences in others. If you’re lonely, you’re going to be open to making friends and therefore more easy-going, right?
To the contrary! It turns out that being lonely has just the opposite effect....
Read the article for the rest of the story.