If you feel socially invisible, these 6 habits might be to blame

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Suspecting that you’re overlooked by everyone in your life can wreak havoc on your mental health.

You appear like a side character in your own story.

As one Reddit user puts it, “No one bothers about me, not even the ones I call close friends. I feel quite alone and like an utter failure.”

Humans are social creatures, so it’s natural to seek interaction and crave a sense of belonging.

When you fail to fulfill this basic need, you become isolated and cranky.

But have you ever stopped to consider whether your attitude plays a role in pushing others away?

If you feel socially invisible, these 6 habits might be to blame.

With a little effort on your part, you can develop main character energy.

1) You neglect your appearance

Whether we like it or not, appearance plays a significant role in how others perceive us.

Neglecting personal grooming or dressing in a disheveled manner can give the impression that you don’t care about yourself or any company.

In turn, this deters others from approaching you and prevents them from making plans.

I’m in no way suggesting you need to look like a supermodel to connect with others. Far from it.

However, it’s ideal to pay attention to how you show up in public:

  • Maintain good personal hygiene (shower, brush your teeth, trim your nails, and so on)
  • Invest in a few versatile, well-fitting outfits that make you feel comfortable
  • Incorporate self-care practices into your routine like skincare or taking relaxing baths, as pampering yourself puts you in a positive state of mind
  • Focus on your well-being by eating a balanced diet and getting some exercise

How we present ourselves influences not only how others see us, but our confidence, too.

The better you look, the better you feel, the better your chances of socializing.

2) You avoid taking up space

If you feel socially invisible, it may be because you do everything in your power to avoid taking up space.

It’s easy to fade into the background when you consistently minimize your presence or hesitate to assert yourself.

Maybe you apologize too much, never voice an opposing opinion, or downplay your achievements.

Whatever it may be, work on becoming a more imposing presence:

  • Practice assertive communication techniques
  • Take pride in your achievements and share them openly with others (they don’t have to be professional – you can share that you cooked a new fancy meal or got a new high score on your favorite video game)
  • Communicate your needs and limitations to others (don’t let people walk all over you)
  • Challenge your negative thoughts and replace them with positive affirmations

If you have trouble with asserting yourself, a therapist or counselor can help you work wonders.

3) You let life happen to you

Being a passive presence in your own life can also make you feel socially invisible.

If you let life happen to you instead of working toward creating your own destiny, you’re probably used to being on the sidelines.

You may be merely drifting through social interactions, without actively engaging with other people.

As a result, you end up watching others take center stage, while you go unnoticed.

To fix this, adopt a more proactive approach to life:

  • Express your opinions in social settings
  • Actively seek out opportunities to engage in social activities or attend events that align with your interests
  • Recognize when you’re withdrawing from an interaction and challenge yourself to stay present
  • Set clear intentions for each interaction (expressing yourself, connecting with someone, getting out of your comfort zone, etc.) to approach social situations with more purpose

Adopting a passive stance on everything erodes your self-esteem and pushes others away.

It’s time to fix that.

4) You don’t cultivate your interests

Sorry to be this blunt, but if you want people to be interested in you, you need to appear interesting.

When you actively pursue hobbies that you genuinely enjoy, you don’t only enrich your life.

You become more appealing to others.

Think about it:

  • Having diverse interests provides you with a wide range of topics to discuss in social settings
  • Cultivating interests opens up opportunities to participate in group activities or events related to your passions (you can join classes or community groups)
  • When you’re passionate about something, your enthusiasm becomes contagious
  • A hobby gives a chance to connect with like-minded individuals, so those connections have a better shot at going the distance

You don’t have to do anything extreme like take up skateboarding or long-distance hiking.

I love reading and movies, for instance, so I naturally absorbed a lot of information about these topics of interest over the years.

This enables me to seamlessly start a conversation with someone. I ask them if they saw a recent movie I loved, or if they’ve read anything interesting lately.

It’s easier to keep the conversation going once you get your foot in the door.

5) You spend too much time online

Spending too much time online can also contribute to feelings of social invisibility.

You may think that you’re connecting with others through the screen, but these connections are generally less fulfilling than those established in real life.

(Take it from a millennial who’s been on the internet since the very beginning.)

While social media platforms and forums can create the illusion of being social through likes, comments, and followers, these interactions lack the intimacy of face-to-face hangs.

Plus, excessive time spent online fuels feelings of inadequacy and loneliness by promoting unrealistic standards.

When you see everyone through the lens of a filter and a screen, you’re more likely to feel bad about your unfiltered self.

To mitigate the negative effects, prioritize real-life social activities:

  • Be mindful of your online habits and how they affect your mood and well-being (e.g. unfollow social media accounts that make you feel bad about yourself)
  • Set screen time limits and balance your online time with outdoor activities
  • Volunteer or attend social events in your community to feel more connected to real-life people
  • Try to move your online relationship offline (as long as it’s safe)

Don’t let your online life make you miss out on opportunities for meaningful connections and shared experiences IRL.

6) You work overtime to appear as everyone else

When you suppress aspects of your true self in the hopes of fitting in, you sacrifice authenticity.

It’s very tempting. 

After all, you don’t want to look like the odd one out, especially if you feel socially invisible.  

But diminishing yourself inevitably leads to more disconnection and loneliness.

Even if others accept you as one of their own, you’ll feel like you’re wearing a mask the entire time, further exacerbating your isolation.

Lack of authenticity creates barriers to intimacy.

You can break through these barriers by being your unapologetic self:

  • Get to know yourself and identify the aspects of your personality that make you unique
  • Find ways to share your unique perspective with others (whether through art, music, or conversation)
  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share your authentic feelings when hanging out with others
  • Align your actions and decisions with your core values, and you will attract people who share them

Above all, develop self-compassion.

Not everyone you try to connect with might like you or want to deepen your relationship.

But if you keep showing up as your genuine self, day after day, you’ll eventually find your people.

Bottom line

Do you recognize yourself in any of the above?

If so, it’s never too late to take action.

Work on your social skills, speak up about your interests, and get out of the house as often as possible.

More importantly, keep reaching out to others.

Forming meaningful connections takes patience and time.

The more you do it, the more visible you’ll become. 

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