Feeling absolutely alone even in a room full of people is something I’m pretty sure we’ve all experienced.
You feel like you’d rather have the floor swallow you up, even though you’re surrounded by the buzz and chatter of countless other people.
Now, you might laugh along with others, and chit chat with friends, family, and colleagues, but inside, you feel as if you’re drowning.
Aptly put, you just feel…lonely.
If you’re nodding along with me now, know this: you’re not the only one.
Loneliness is something many of us grapple with, but seldom talk about.
It still comes with a certain social stigma, and a feeling of why can’t I do better, feel better, why don’t people love me.
And sometimes, we’re not even sure if what we’re feeling is loneliness.
We’re so wound up by feelings of self-loathing or exhaustion or anxiety, it can be difficult to pinpoint whether what you’re experiencing is even loneliness in the first place.
If you’re wrestling with such a predicament, this article should cover you and help you better identify 7 feelings which indicate you are truly feeling lonely.
Some of these might well hit close to home.
But remember, this isn’t about making you feel worse.
It’s about understanding what’s going on inside so you can start to make things better.
1) Feeling alone in a crowded room
Ever been in a bustling room, full of people laughing and chatting, and yet felt utterly alone?
I’ve definitely been there.
On multiple occasions.
Even now, when I go through periods of feeling lonely, I can be surrounded by friends who love and celebrate me, yet still want the earth to swallow me up so I can disappear.
You might be the type who is great at hiding it, and is sometimes even the life of the party.
You do such a good job at containing your feelings, no one would ever know…
Or, loneliness captures your voice and consumes it.
Your friends try to probe gently and ask what’s wrong (you haven’t spoken in 4 hours), but you can’t seem to get your mouth to work or your lips to say anything reasonable.
This is a classic sign of loneliness – this feeling of being alone even when you’re not physically alone, and even if you know deep down that those you’re with love and care about you.
2) A sense of being disconnected from everyone else
On top of feeling physically alone in the presence of others is a general sense of being unable to laugh along or follow conversations.
Maybe you’re not in a crowded room but just hanging 1 on 1 with your absolute bestest friend.
Yet that little niggle of doubt gets in the way of your ability to laugh at any jokes or truly tell them how you’re feeling.
Every minute of life has you feeling like an alien, planted feet first on earth with absolutely no idea what to do or how to connect with others.
3) Living online instead of in the real world
Are you thumbs tap-tap-tapping away every 5 minutes, refreshing your socials or uploading perfectly edited selfies of you fresh-faced and smiling ear to ear?
Do your current socials really portray how you’re feeling?
Even though in theory, social media can help us stay in contact with busy or far afield friends, many studies show that the more time you spend on social media, the more lonely you are.
And this is a dangerous double-edged sword, as you likely decline invitations (you want to edit your pics in bed), thus grow more lonely as you dwell under your covers, your face lit up by your screen.
4) You give give give but never receive anything in return
When it comes to people you sort-of see as friends, you’re the one sending the texts, making the calls, planning the get-togethers…
But when you stop reaching out and making an effort, so do they.
Your friendship curls up and dies like a wilted, unwatered plant.
And if you’re the only one putting in effort to maintain the relationship, this can leave you feeling unwanted and alone.
Many of us begin to internalize this rejection and struggle to see where we went wrong.
We spend hours obsessing on how we could do better.
This then leads to a cycle of chasing people who show little interest in us in a fanatic attempt to try and make them love us more, value us more.
It’s a tough pill to swallow, realizing that your connections might not be as strong as you thought.
But equally, knowing the good eggs from the bad in the friendship world can mean you stop chasing people who don’t value you, which can in turn help you feel less lonely.
5) You feel like an invisible person
In group settings, the cat has your tongue and you feel unable to speak or participate as you might once have done.
Sometimes, you’ll try and pipe up but by then, the group has already moved on to another topic.
People seem to gloss over your presence and forget you even exist.
“Oh, I didn’t know you were coming!”
“My bad, I thought I’d invited you!”
“I’m sorry, I totally forgot to text you!”
All these excuses travel your way and end up pooling at your feet, making you feel miserably unnoticed and unremarkable.
6) You could compete professionally if overthinking was a sport
Usually in the early hours of the morning, your brain kicks into 6th gear.
Every minor interaction, every text message exchange…
Your head has you studying it in HD, replaying it over and over again until you’re exhausted.
Overthinking can be a sign of loneliness as it often stems from a place of insecurity and fear of disconnection.
When we’re lonely, we’re more likely to question our worth and our relationships.
This can lead to an unfortunate cycle of overthinking and further isolation as we push away those who our head tells us mean us no good or dislike us.
7) You feel forever exhausted, no matter how much you sleep
And lastly, do you sometimes feel constantly exhausted, even after a full night’s sleep?
Loneliness can do that to a person.
It’s not just an emotional state; it can also have physical implications.
Feeling lonely can increase stress levels, disrupt sleep patterns and lead to fatigue.
It’s like carrying an emotional weight that physically drags you down by the ankles.
This can mean insomnia or even increased sleeping patterns.
Whichever way you swing, you’ll likely be bleary eyed and yawning no matter the hour or the day.
There you have it – seven feelings that can indicate loneliness.
But remember, it’s okay to feel this way.
And more importantly, it’s okay to ask for help.
Reaching out to a friend or seeking professional advice can be the first step towards overcoming loneliness.
Sometimes that means shedding our skin and forging new connections, but sometimes that involves trusting our old ones and pushing yourself outside of the comfort zone to have faith in the love we already have.