Feeling lonely in a crowd may feel like a strange feeling to have, but it’s actually very common. Even though we may be surrounded by loved ones, friends, and others, it’s possible to feel completely alone.
There are several reasons for this—maybe we feel disconnected from those around us, or maybe we feel scared that they don’t or won’t understand what we are going through. No matter the reason we feel alone around others, it’s important to know that this is a feeling that we can overcome.
Why do I feel this way?
Humans have a need to feel connected to other people. Not one of us can meet all of our needs on our own. Loneliness is our brain’s way of motivating us to reach out and build up our support system. When we feel lonely, we naturally want to surround ourselves with other people.
But sometimes, just being around other people isn’t enough. That’s because being in the same room isn’t the same as feeling connected. In fact, sometimes being surrounded by strangers or people you’re just not very close to can just make you feel more alone.
All those people remind you of the connections you wish you had. If you tend to beat yourself up, you might think, “I’m such a loser. There’s 50 people at this party, and I can’t connect with a single one! “You’re not a loser. You’re just in a situation where you expected to feel connected, and you didn’t.
Feeling alone even when people are around is also a common symptom of depression or social anxiety. It might be worthwhile to take an online mental health test to know whether you’re experiencing a mental health condition.
Strategize: What do I need, and where can I find it?
There are lots of different ways to spend time with other people. They all serve different purposes. And some strategies may work better than others for your situation.
Try reflecting on why you want socialize:
- Think about what you’re trying to get out of socializing.
- Are you lonely and just trying to get some companionship? Are you depressed and looking for emotional support?
- Are you trying to make new friends or connect more with the friends you have?
As you think about what you’re feeling and what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to learn how to meet your needs and build better connections with others. For example, going to a party can be a great way to meet new people and have lighthearted fun. Or if you’re looking for deeper emotional support, you might want to hang out with just one or two people who you know really well.
Here are some tips you can use to strengthen current connections and make new ones:
- Commit to spending time with friends and loved ones. Make plans, put time on your calendar, give them a call. Checking in on each other, spending time together, and giving and receiving support can boost our current connections.
- Try to find a group of people with common interests. If possible, try to find something in person: for example, a book club, or a group of people who get together and play board games Meetup.com has lots of these groups on it.
- Look for opportunities to connect online. If you can’t find anything in person, you can look for online communities like Facebook groups, Reddit forums, or online support groups.
- Try Succeed Socially. If you’re not sure how to act in social situations, or if you experience a lot of social anxiety, check out Succeed Socially. It’s a website with lots of great advice about how to fulfill your goals of connecting more with other people.