One of my favorite blogs, Pasasge des Perles, today had a most excellent post (God bless the lonely people) on loneliness and our perception of the term, and of lonely people. Here is the quote she closes with, along with her suggestion we read a related NY Times article (The Joy of Quiet).
Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you'll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.” - Janet Fitch, White Oleander