If loneliness inclines people to a general hostility towards others and to a disparaging style about social interaction, then the style should appear in studies of lonely people interacting with their friends, as well as observing other persons they do not know. We conducted a study with 4 features: it compared (a) lonely and non-lonely persons' evaluation of (b) their own and other people's conversations with friends, using (c) both free evaluation and videotape-prompted evaluation (d) both immediately after the interaction and 6 weeks later. Lonely persons did not consistently evaluate their or others' conversations negatively, though they tended to rate communication quality lower. They did, however, draw negative global conclusions about their own relationships, especially after reviewing a videotape of their own interaction 6 weeks later. We conjecture that lonely people are negative about interactions when they focus on their own communicative performance, and that they also have characteristic ways of evaluating and generalizing from their own interactions that feed into general patterns of dissatisfaction with their own social performance in relationships as a whole.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/steven_duck/187/