We are social animals and need to feel that we "belong" to others and feel connected to one another.
Social pain is as real a sensation for us as physical pain; researchers have shown that loneliness and rejection activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain.
Loneliness is an increasing problem in modern life.
The Church Urban Fund and the Church of England found a rise of 10 per cent in the last three years in clergy members who felt that social isolation was a major problem in their local area.
So it seems that for some lonely people, reducing social isolation and helping them link up with others reduces loneliness.