This article relates loneliness to interaction ritual theory, understanding loneliness in terms of problematic microinteractional dynamics. The advantage of interaction ritual theory is that it extends our understanding of the issue of the psychologised self and related questions such as how loneliness feels or is experienced. Loneliness is here defined as a response to interaction representing relational understanding of emotions. Interaction ritual theory is interested in the emotional consequences that individuals experience from successful or unsuccessful interaction rituals. Loneliness in this view represents a state in which the individual is denied access to rewarding aspects of interaction. This study is based on 32 lifecourse interviews with Finnish students. It finds that loneliness as a failed microinteractional dynamic originates from students’ previous negative experiences of interaction, problematic situational settings and the structured flow of students’ daily activities.