A few days back, my friends and I decided to organize a get-together party.
It was a bright night with flashy lights all around when seven of us sat together in a lounge. The music was so tempting that none of us could stop our feet from dancing even when we were seated on that extremely comfortable couch.
After having a small chit-chat and enjoying some snacks and drinks, we started dancing on the floor. The session went on for half an hour until we came back to those comfy seats.
Everything was going well until one of my friends took out her smartphone to click pictures. Gradually, all the smartphones came out of pockets (including mine), and the craned necks were now busy sharing their moments on social media.
I came back to reality a few minutes before my friends (I am less active on social media) and started observing them.
Soon, all the necks looked back up. However, this time, almost all of them were blank, and no one had any conversations anymore. They kept checking their mobile phones at regular intervals until we decided to finish off with the party.
Before going to bed the same day, I truly realized why most people have started feeling lonely these days.
Why Do People Feel Lonely?
Now you might be thinking that people feel lonely because of social media, but that isn’t the REAL truth.
We feel lonely because of us!
We share things with people on social media whom we barely know. We try to get the likes, impressions, and comments of the people who don’t even care.
Sometimes, we even start degrading our self-esteem based on how others react to our pictures and feel lonely.
Another cause of loneliness is that we don’t open up and share ourselves with anyone.
We want others to reach out to us. But don’t take steps to reach out to them.
Now you would say you are the lonely one, but how would they know if you haven’t communicated anything?
8 Signs that you are Feeling Lonely (When You Don’t Even Know)
Did You Know: 33% of Adults have Experienced a Feeling of Loneliness Worldwide.Source: Statista
I took a deep dive into myself on the next day of the get-together, did some research over the internet, and realized that I was experiencing loneliness as well (Not too much, but yes, I did).
Further, I realized there are so many people out there who are unknowingly feeling lonely.
So, here’s how you can know if you feel lonely:-
1. Unable to Socialize Anymore
If you’ve already been alone for a long time, you stop giving value to human interaction.
As days are passing, do you feel that you are unable to interact with people anymore?
Have you observed a behavioral change in yourself that involves the enjoyment of your own company rather than the company of others?
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself, but that too until it doesn’t bite.
2. Missing Past Relationship
Have you started missing your past relationships? Maybe, your best friend or your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend?
If yes, it might be because you are feeling lonely and longing for such company. Maybe, you want to enjoy those moments once again.
3. Increased Time Spent Alone (DESTRUCTIVELY)
There’s a thin line of difference between the time spent alone for recreational purposes (also known as solitude) and time spent alone because of loneliness.
When you spend time alone for recreational purposes or to relax, you don’t do it forcefully. You take some time out of your routine just to chill out and sort things in your life.
When loneliness hits hard, the time spent alone takes a wrong turn. You force yourself to be alone against your will. Your mind feels occupied by irrelevant thoughts, and you start worrying over unimportant things.
4. Ignoring New Opportunities
Human is a social being. When we start distancing ourselves from others, we try to distance ourselves from everything around us.
If you are feeling lonely, you’ll start closing yourself to new opportunities. Thus, even if you’ll come across any life-changing opportunity, you’ll ignore it feeling lethargic and unenthusiastic.
5. Self Improvement Turns into a Nightmare
Working on self-growth is excellent but creating an obsession for perfection has a deep reason.
We try to become a perfectionist only when we feel we aren’t enough the way we are. And such feeling mostly arises when we are experiencing loneliness or disconnection from others.
6. Active on Social Media, Inactive in Real Life
Do you find yourself chatting with friends all the time on social media? Do you consider yourself equally socially active in real life as you are on social media?
I don’t mean that social media is bad. Social media has its bright sides, but excessive use of it could be a negative signal.
We generally turn a lot to social media and virtual friends whenever we feel lonely. At this point, we don’t find someone worthy enough with whom we could open up in real life.
7. Reduced Family Time
It is no doubt that the moments spent with family are some of the best moments of life.
If you are lonely, you’ll witness a drop in the time spent with your family. You’ll stop enjoying their company, and nothing would feel as it felt earlier. The connection would somehow feel incomplete, and you’ll start feeling inexpressive.
8. Weird Feeling in a Group
As I’ve mentioned before, you could experience loneliness even when you have a group of friends or relatives around you.
Now, here’s how it feels.
When your friends are around, you feel self-pity that no one wants to talk to you. You start feeling as if nobody accepts you and gives attention to you.
Further, you are unable to understand your feelings. You try to avoid their company thinking that you don’t fit in and keep lowering your self-image.
The feeling at that moment is nothing but the ‘feeling of loneliness.’
A Single Sentence that Killed Half of My Loneliness
Until now, I became aware that I was experiencing nothing but loneliness.
So, It was time to go out on a hunt for its solution.
I wanted to relieve myself a little, so I started looking for someone with whom I could share what I’ve been going through.
Also, I knew that I couldn’t share this feeling with any random person due to the LONELINESS STIGMA in society.
So, I had a conversation with my friends (close ones), but as expected, none of them showed any interest in this matter. They assumed that loneliness is just a false belief of mine.
Gradually, time passed by, and everything remained the same.
I was getting more and more hopeless each day. Until, one day, I shared this problem with my elder cousin.
He exclaimed a few golden words along with a tight hug, which made half of my feeling of loneliness fade away.
Here’s what he said:-
“I’ve been where you are, and I know how it feels. I am there with you, I’ll hold onto you, and I know you can get through this.”
The words went deep into my heart, and I felt that someone is always there for me no matter what.
What Lonely People Say
The next time someone around you says they are lonely, just tell them that you are with them no matter what.
I want you to know that the person shared their feelings with you because they felt that you could understand them. They are looking for companionship and some support. So, please try to comfort them instead of making them think that their feeling of loneliness is abnormal.
Now you might be wondering, “how to know if someone is feeling lonely if they aren’t telling me directly?”
So, here are a few general words and behavior changes that you can look for:-
1. “I just wanna spend some time alone.”
The person is spending time with you but randomly says, “I think I just want to spend some time alone.” It could be a sign that they are is feeling lonely.
2. “I’m OK.”
You ask your friend, “how are you?” and they reply, “I am OK,” while the reply used to be more enthusiastic such as “I am doing extremely well.”
However, the person doesn’t necessarily need to be feeling lonely. It might be because they are feeling a bit low at the moment. But, yeah, it could still be counted as a signal.
3. “I feel so low.”
You had a conversation with someone, and they said, “I’ve been feeling low for the past few days.”
Ask for the reason, and they might slowly vent out that they actually feel lonely.
4. “Are you free tonight?”
If a person asks you, “what are you doing tonight?” it might be because they want to spend time with you. They are asking for your time because they are feeling lonely.
However, it’s not the case when your friend or the person you’re talking to is a social butterfly.
5. “I am there for everyone, but nobody’s there for me.”
When you feel that there’s no one to listen to you, you vent out the feelings wherever you can.
A friend of yours, who has been feeling lonely, might start uploading stories or status with text such as, “I don’t have anyone to care for me.” You might talk to them and get to know if they are feeling lonely.
Also, beware of the fake sympathy seekers out there.
8 Tried and Tested Ways to Stop Feeling Lonely
Half of my loneliness had vanished until now. Further, It was time to figure out a few methods on my own to conquer half of the remaining loneliness.
Thus, I jumped onto the internet again and made a few strategies to combat loneliness.
Guess what happened next?
I got magical results!
The feeling of loneliness totally went away. I started feeling much better and more confident than ever.
Want to know how I did it? (And how you can too!)
Go through these 8 methods carefully that will surely help you to stop feeling lonely (In a much lesser time):-
1. Stay Away from the Loneliness Stigma.
Most of us consider loneliness as something unusual. You need to know the reality that feeling lonely is normal.
Realizing that you aren’t in this problem alone will help you stay away from the fear that you are suffering from any serious issue. The acknowledgment will generate some confidence which will also help you to combat loneliness in a better way.
2. Share “What you Feel” with Someone “Who Can Feel.”
Yes, I agree that everybody cannot understand what you feel. So, find someone close who could understand you and vent out your feelings with them.
Share what you’ve been going through for so long. Spend some quality time with your close ones because maybe you just wanted to share yourself with somebody.
Trust me. You’ll feel relieved.
3. Maintain Distance with Negative People
“Are you surrounded by the people who make you feel positive?”
“Are you surrounded by negative and lonely people who always keep sharing the problems of their lives?”
It is a fact that the people around you influence you as well as your aura.
If you spend most of your time with loners, you’ll automatically start feeling lonely. On the other hand, if you’ll spend the same time with lively people, you’ll be full of life.
4. Dive into Something that You Love
It might not be a permanent solution to stop feeling lonely, but it could be a quick reliever when loneliness hits hard.
For example, if it felt lonely, I straight away went to the gym or had a nice 1-2 hours gaming session which made me calm down.
Thus, whenever you start feeling lonely, immerse yourself deeply in something that you love to do.
The sole purpose is to divert your mind by doing some other tasks.
5. Don’t Overburden Yourself with Feelings
Don’t attach your feeling of loneliness to some other feelings. It is a common practice that we start criticizing ourselves and lowering our self-esteem while we feel lonely. You need to realize that globalizing the feeling of loneliness will do more harm rather than good.
Stay strong because this time shall pass too. Don’t let loneliness permanently impact your image for yourself.
6. Meet Your Friends Oftenly
I clearly remember that whenever I felt lonely, I eagerly waited for my friend’s phone call to hang out during the night. If he didn’t call me, I felt frustrated and lonely.
To fix it up, I started to text him and ask him if he was free at night. Even though he was busy, he used to take some time out of his schedule to relax and have a chill hang out. When he wasn’t available, I was at least mentally prepared to do something else. Thus, I stopped feeling lonely and disappointed at that moment.
So, the key takeaway is, don’t wait for your friends to call you for a meeting or an outing. Call them for a hangout whenever you feel like meeting them.
Calling them and having a chit-chat could be another option, but person-to-person interaction is somehow special because the relation gets stronger and better.
Whenever you start taking steps to have people around you, you’ll stop feeling lonely.
7. Refine Your Social Media Usage
Whenever I felt bored, I used to pick up my phone and start scrolling onto social media.
The weird part is, I wasn’t feeling lonely at that moment, but when I looked at the images of my friends partying and having fun, I started feeling lonely again.
Further, I decided to change the way I used social media. I started watching inspirational videos, following self-improvement Instagram handles, etc. All of it really helped me to stop feeling unnecessarily lonely.
So, do you also feel that social media makes triggers your feeling of loneliness?
If yes, you need to redirect your social media usage in a positive direction, and you’ll be shocked to see the results.
8. Overcome Loneliness with ‘EASE.’
I’ve found this method over the internet, and it’s really effective.
Let’s start off with a clean and tempting intro for it.
Everything doesn’t need to be difficult and painful. So, do you want to get rid of loneliness with EASE?
Take a look at this ‘EASE‘ method by John T. Cacioppo ( leading expert on loneliness, Ph.D.) and say goodbye to loneliness once and for all.
- E stands for “Extend Yourself.” It means that you need to reach out to other people by yourself instead of waiting for others to reach out to you. Don’t just push yourself to become an extrovert. Slowly and steadily reach out to people with whom you would like to interact.
- A stands for “Action Plan.” It means that most people fail to reach out to others because they don’t have the right action plan. For example, if you aren’t good at interacting with humans but love animals, work in an animal shelter for a few days. In this way, you’ll find it comfortable to reach out to more humans when you’ll be already interacting with the people in animal welfare.
- S stands for “Selection.” Quality matters much more than quantity. Seek people who have similar interests with you and find it comfortable to be with people around you. For example, if you don’t talk too much, look for someone who feels happy with silent companionship.
- The last E stands for “Expect the Best.” When we are socially isolated, we start assuming that people will only see the negative in us. Instead, we have to expect them to see our positive sides and positively interpret our personalities.
End of the Line
So, that’s the end of my journey from “how I got to know that I actually felt lonely” to “how I stopped feeling lonely anymore.”
One of the most crucial lessons that I’ve learned (keeping all the motivational videos aside that teach us to become the so-called lone wolves) is that all of us need at least one person who could understand us and stand by our side.
If you haven’t found that one person with whom you could share yourself, I am always there to listen to you.
You aren’t alone in the battle, my friend.
We are in this together!