Have you ever felt lonely, even when surrounded by other people? It may seem counterintuitive, but it is a feeling that many individuals experience. Being surrounded by friends, family, or colleagues does not guarantee a sense of connection or belonging.
This sensation of loneliness among others is something that can affect anyone at any stage in life. Despite being physically present, it is not uncommon to feel emotionally detached and isolated from those around us. The reasons behind this feeling can vary greatly, from a lack of meaningful connections to internal battles with self-esteem and self-worth.
As humans, we crave connection and companionship, making the absence of these elements all the more distressing. Understanding the complexity and significance of feeling lonely despite being surrounded by others is crucial in addressing and overcoming this prevalent issue. In this article, we delve into the factors that contribute to feeling lonely around other people and explore potential strategies for combatting this emotional struggle.
Going off of the quote, one would think ‘How can I be alone if people are around me? It’s not like I’m by myself. Well, I used to think that, but the feeling of being lonely was still present.
You may have felt like this at one point; whether it was around other students, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, maybe even around family members. Well, let me to you, that there are many, many people out there who feel like this. Some tell others about this and some remain silent. I stayed silent about it numerous times.
I’m Around People: So Why am I Feeling Lonely?
You can be by yourself and feel lonely; we know that. You also can be with a small or large group of people and still have that sense of feeling lonely. So why is this a thing?
You can be sitting next to someone and talking to them, but if they aren’t listening to you and are distracted by something, that can make you feel lonely. This can be a close friend you’ve known for years, boyfriend, girlfriend, child, or even your spouse. For example, you can be in a relationship with someone and still have that sense of feeling lonely.
You may have something that is bothering you and you need to talk things out, but the other person doesn’t want to discuss it or hear it. You feel like they aren’t paying attention to you and don’t care how you are feeling. When you feel lonely and may begin to wonder if this person cares about you like they say they do.
You can be in a small or large group of people whether it’s friends, co-workers, family members, acquaintances, etc. and if you’re just sitting, standing, not saying, or not doing anything, you can feel lonely. If you’re not making an effort to interact with people is one thing, that’s on you. If you trying to make an effort and you can’t get a word in, people interrupt and ignore you, they say they’ll come back to you but they don’t, you feel bad right?
You may feel like you are not important, not welcome, and what you have to say has no value or is stupid. Your self-esteem can take a hit and negative thoughts can take over your mind. For example, you can be in a group of people (friends, family, co-workers, students, etc.) and you can start feeling lonely because no one is talking to you despite you making an effort to initiate a conversation with them.
You may be in an online group chat and people aren’t responding to your messages, yet they are responding to others. That can make you feel ignored and lonely and you can start thinking that you have no value to them. Let’s look at 5 important things in more detail:
You Crave Some Kind of Closeness
This is where the closeness element can take the spotlight. You can have a lot of relationships with friends, but if most or all of them aren’t close ones, then you can feel unfulfilled and lonely. This loneliness can bring about feelings of misunderstanding and separation.
Quality over Quantity
It’s great to have a lot of friends. If you aren’t investing time and energy into those friendships, that feeling of loneliness will still be there. You want to have at least one person who will be there for you whether it’s to lift your spirits, confide in, or be a listening ear for you if you need to vent. If you have several that’s wonderful. There should be at least someone in your life who you can open up to. Once again, it’s not healthy to bottle up your emotions especially if they’re strong ones.
Your Guard is up and Maybe you don’t know it
You may have been hurt by someone and you didn’t want to experience that pain and loss again from someone else. You may have built a wall up that is keeping people from comforting and helping you. When we are in any kind of pain, our mind can go into what I call ‘survival mode’, and it’s protecting us from getting hurt again. This can be helpful for some people for some time, but remember you can take it down. It’s not something that is up forever.
Too much Social Media May be Making you Feel Lonely
You scroll through Facebook posts and tweets and see your friends having fun, going to places, and trying new things, and you aren’t doing any of that. You may think that everyone is having fun without you. This can push you to spend more time on social media and make the cycle worse.
Maybe You’re Spending Time and Effort with the Wrong People
You may be hanging around with people that you know a little about, but you’re not making a connection with them. You spend time with them and getting to know them, but they aren’t putting in much effort to get to know you. That loneliness feeling can still be present and you can feel stuck.
What Does it Mean to Feel Lonely?
Feeling lonely is a deep and often painful emotion that can be experienced by anyone, regardless of their social situation. It is a profound sense of disconnection and isolation from others, where one may feel sad and lacking in meaningful connections. Loneliness can stem from various factors, such as social anxiety, where individuals may struggle to form and maintain relationships due to fear or discomfort in social interactions.
Despite being physically surrounded by others, an individual may still feel lonely if they do not have deep, authentic connections with those around them. It is important to remember that loneliness is not solely determined by the number of people around us, but rather the quality and depth of those relationships. It is crucial to recognize and address these emotions if we feel this way, as loneliness can have detrimental effects on our mental and physical well-being.
Seeking support and actively nurturing meaningful connections can help alleviate these feelings and cultivate a sense of belonging and connection.
Here are some Tips to Help You
Talk to someone in the group about how you feeling. Have a face-to-face talk with your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or close friend, and let them know how you’re feeling. Be honest with them because if they are really your friends and truly care about you, they will hear you out.
If people are excluding you in the group conversation, then maybe these people you spending time and energy with aren’t right for you. You can bring it up to them and work things out. If they still won’t hear you out and think you’re just overreacting, making things up, and still overall ignoring you, then maybe you should forget these people and find new friends or a new person to be in a relationship or marriage with.
It may be tough to do, but you deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.
Confide in someone you trust. Yes, you can talk to your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or friend about this matter, but you may be afraid of the outcome. There is at least one person who can confide about this matter.
It can be a parent, relative, best friend, a counselor if you need professional help.
Don’t change who you are just to fit in. You are who you are and that makes you special. If you have a nice personality, you will attract good people to interact with that sense of feeling lonely will disappear.
Your insecurities may take over the steering wheel and make you think down on yourself. Increasing your confidence and building your self-esteem will help give you the courage to speak out and stand up for yourself. It will also help you move on from those who make you feel and think less of yourself.
Feeling lonely in a large or small group of people is one thing; feeling like this in a group of people that you know is much different. Negative thoughts can send you into a downward spiral and make you think of things that aren’t true about your real friends, spouse, boyfriend, and girlfriend who truly care about you. Try catching yourself immediately when you have these negative and toxic thoughts and challenge them to see if they are true or not with the facts about the people in your life.
I hope I was able to shine some light on this subject. It’s something that I have dealt with myself, and I know people in my life who are dealing with it right now. Take care, stay safe, and remember you are not alone in this world, and you have worth.