The main cause of loneliness isn’t physical distance from other people. It’s the fact that nobody thinks exactly like you do. Having people around helps, but it’s only part of the equation.

Sometimes being around other people can make you more lonely, instead of less. You can feel isolated in a city full of people. You can feel misunderstand or not valued even by the people you love.

Loneliness is primarily a matter of perception—it’s possible to be alone and not feel lonely. Being around the right people can help you feel less lonely, but you can still be mostly happy regardless.