People who are happy on the surface but lonely underneath often display these 7 behaviors

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Do you know someone in your life who seems to have it all worked out?

You know what I mean.

The happy, positive, and successful types.

Yet, there’s something about them that doesn’t quite fit the narrative (and you can’t quite put your finger on it).

Well, deep down they could be lonely.

It’s something we all suffer with from time to time. In fact, one study showed a whopping 52% of Americans reported feeling lonely.

Here’s the thing.

We don’t really like to admit it. And it’s actually pretty common to hide our true feelings behind a fake wall of smiles.

How can you tell?

Check out these seven behaviors that suggest someone is feeling lonely (and putting up a facade).

1) They try too hard

Lonely people tend to overcompensate in social situations and often display attention-seeking behavior.

It can be seen as a cry for help. But more likely, they’re simply trying to impress.

In their mind, they want to be interesting, attractive, and the life and soul of the party. They basically want friends.

But their awkward behavior often comes across as blatantly forced and insincere which has the opposite effect. Others tend to steer well clear of them!

We’ve all been there.

At a party, stuck next to someone who just won’t stop bragging. The conversation is all about them, and they refuse to stop for a breath.

They’re obsessed with getting external validation and praise.

Which leads to our next point perfectly.

2) They love posting on social media

People who are secretly lonely fall for the social media trap hook, line, and sinker.

Chasing those likes, checking their phone every few minutes. Addicted to the dopamine that’s released when someone, somewhere clicks that little thumbs-up icon.

Again, this is just an extension of their low self-esteem and attention-seeking habits.

But unfortunately for them, sites like Facebook, Instagram, and X are designed by clever engineers to feed their desire for attention and validation. They don’t stand a chance.

It’s becoming a real problem for many people.

A recent study showed that heavy social media usage often results in less time to have genuine face-to-face interactions.

That’s not all.

It also creates pressure to broadcast the perfect life. This can lead to depression, anxiety, and stress.

It’s an unfortunate situation, that can create a negative spiral. The more lonely someone becomes, the more desperately they turn to social media, which doesn’t really help the situation (and in many cases, makes it worse).

3) They like to escape

Don’t get me wrong.

We all like to escape from time to time.

After a busy week, there’s nothing I enjoy more than a glass of wine and a movie with my partner.

However, people who have chronic loneliness tend to develop more serious (and obsessive) vices.

I’m talking about alcoholism, drug abuse, video game addiction, or gambling.

There’s a ton of science behind escapism.

It’s a way to mask pain or avoid traumatic thoughts and doesn’t always have to be negative (meditation and exercise are also forms of escapism).

On that note, if you know someone who’s completely addicted to the gym, it could also be their coping mechanism for loneliness.

4) They’re a closed book

This one is a real giveaway.

Think about it.

Opening up and having a heart-to-heart would mean breaking their big act.

Something they’re terrified of doing.

It’s also not something they’re used to, so is usually extremely overwhelming for them.

Common signs that someone is reluctant to get deep and meaningful include constantly changing the subject, making jokes (to hide behind), and deflecting serious questions. They might even start avoiding you if you continually press them.

This stonewalling can be frustrating to deal with (especially if you want to help them).

Be patient and take things slow. Reach out to close friends or family members who they trust. They might feel more comfortable writing down their feelings or communicating via text, so try this approach too.

5) They’re overly positive

I’m all for having a healthy level of optimism.

But too much, and you start displaying something called toxic positivity.

This is when someone feels pressure to only display positive emotions and suppress all negative thoughts.

Simply put – it’s not healthy!

Life isn’t always a bed of roses. At the end of the day, we’re all human. We have our ups and downs. It’s part of life.

Research shows that crying can actually be good for us.

So, by ignoring all the bad stuff, you’re only bottling it up (which doesn’t end well).

If you notice a friend constantly being super positive (and NEVER having a bad word to say about anyone or anything), chances are they’re trying to deal with some kind of internal trauma such as loneliness.

It’s a slamdunk sign that all isn’t as it seems.

6) They avoid isolation

This one makes perfect sense.

Put yourself in their shoes.

If you’re feeling lonely, the last thing you want to do is isolate yourself from others.

I’m talking about living alone, moving away from friends and family, or not attending the Christmas party.

The truth of the matter is, they’ll do the exact opposite.

Every chance they get, they’ll be trying to spend time with others (either in real life or online).

There’s also the classic cliche of the lonely old cat lady.

That’s right! Sometimes they’ll look to animal companions if human friends don’t meet their needs (and can get quite obsessive over how many pets they own).

Which leads to our final point.

7) They’re high-maintenance

Unfortunately, lonely people can be draining.

They always want to spend time with you. Inviting you around at every opportunity.

Not only this.

They also call you up for long chats and love to natter!

If you find yourself in this situation, it’s best to be honest. Explain that you want to stay friends, but you also need your space.

Introduce them to other friends and help them build their social network.

Remember, loneliness is something that affects us all. Deep down humans are social creatures that need plenty of interaction. Hopefully, you can now spot the warning signs and help others in times of need.

Leila El-Dean

Leila is a passionate writer with a background in photography and art. She has over ten years of experience in branding, marketing, and building websites. She loves travelling and has lived in several countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, and Malta. When she’s not writing (or ogling cats), Leila loves trying new food and drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.

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