People who are lonely in life but hide it well often display these 8 subtle behaviors

Loneliness is a bit of a modern pandemic.

Although the internet allows us to stay connected with each other 24/7, we feel more detached and lonelier than ever.

But some of us hide it better than others. Care to know how?

Let’s find out.

People who are lonely in life but hide it well often display these 8 subtle behaviors.

1) They’re always “busy”

It is one thing to have your days fully occupied with meaningful work, and it is another to busy yourself just so that you don’t have to sit with your feelings for even one second.

Lonely people fall into the latter category.

Sure, they’re always busy doing something. Sure, they stay at work long after everyone’s gone home. Sure, they always seem to have a lot on their plate.

But being busy isn’t what ultimately defines them. Lonely people aren’t busy because they enjoy it. They’re busy because their work serves as a good enough distraction.

When they always have something to do, they don’t have to face the harsh truth: they feel hollowed out and incredibly thirsty for a deep and genuine connection with another human being.

Busyness is what keeps them going. Because if they stop for a minute and sit in their loneliness… they might have to face it.

And that’s scary as hell.

2) They praise independence above all

It sounds like a bit of an oxymoron to feel lonely and praise independence, but it actually makes a lot of sense when you consider the fact that plenty of lonely people don’t actually want to admit how they feel.

Not even to themselves.

As a result, they might display signs of hyper-independence – refusing to accept anyone’s help and only ever relying on themselves – and often talk about independence in a positive light because they want to convince themselves their loneliness isn’t eating them from the inside.

In society’s eyes, independence is good and loneliness is bad.

If you’re lonely, would you rather admit it or dress it up as independence?


3) They portray themselves as the “clown” of the group

Yet another oxymoron is the fact that it is often the loneliest of people who crack the most jokes.

They don’t only shield themselves behind independence – they also try to mask their unhappiness with a shiny display of playfulness and joy.

They love to make others laugh, pretend to always be in a good mood, and even steal the spotlight for themselves to get a bit of a confidence boost.

When I was younger, one of my friends was a bit like that. People referred to her as the “sad clown” of the group because she loved to make fun of herself, yet she often retreated into herself and became quite melancholic when she thought no one was watching.

Everywhere she went, laughter followed.

But as soon as there was no audience to impress… my friend let her guard down for a bit and showed how she truly felt deep inside: lonely and blue.

4) They rarely open up

When we tried to ask my friend if there was anything she was struggling with or if we could help her feel a bit better, she would always dismiss our comments and quickly brush the issue under the carpet.

She wouldn’t open up. Unfortunately, this only triggered a vicious cycle of emotional disconnection, loneliness, and anxiety.

I know from my own experience that talking about my feelings with someone I trust offers a great deal of relief. It makes me feel like someone understands me.

More than anything, it helps me feel like I’m not alone.

If you struggle to open up, try taking it step by step. You don’t need to vent to your friend for three hours straight from the get-go.

Sharing bits and pieces here and there is more than enough.

It’s a start. And that’s all that matters.

5) Their phones are their best friends

Humans have an inherent need for connection.

And if we feel that we can’t get it in real life for whatever reason, be it anxiety, depression, or anything else, we might turn to the one thing that’s easily accessible and always available for help: the online world.

Personally, every time I felt lonely in the past, my internet usage increased a great deal. I connected with others on Reddit forums, joined different Discord chats, played more games, and scrolled on social media all so that I’d feel like part of a community.

This habit eventually affected my real life – no matter where I was, I checked my phone every five minutes. I got addicted to the feeling of seeing a notification pop up on my screen.

In other words, my phone became my best friend.

If you can relate to this, I want you to know that you’re not alone and that online friendships can be just as amazing as IRL ones.

However, the online world can only get you so far. It can’t substitute for the richness of real experiences. It can’t help you battle your loneliness – not in the long run.

6) Their work takes centerstage

We live in a society where our jobs define us – especially if you work a 9-5 five days a week.

When you think about it, forty-hour workweeks really don’t give us much time to focus on ourselves, pick up new skills, and make friends.

Chances are, you just want to watch a TV show and go to sleep the moment your body hits the sofa in the evening.

People who are lonely but hide it well rarely make it to the sofa, though. They’d much prefer to stay at work after everyone has left. Their work keeps them busy; it’s what gives them purpose.

It’s what makes them feel like perhaps they aren’t so alone after all. If they have something to do, the loneliness can’t get to them.


Wrong. Loneliness eventually catches up with everybody. It washes over you when you’re standing in the shower; it weighs heavily on you once you go to bed; it follows you around the house as you’re making yourself dinner.

What’s more, working yourself into exhaustion isn’t exactly going to help you in the long term. It’s just going to make you feel even worse.

7) They sleep too much or too little

You might think that loneliness is a feeling like any other, but given the fact that humans need to be around other people for survival reasons, loneliness actually has some drastic effects on our health.

In fact, research even shows that social isolation is equivalent to smoking fifteen cigarettes a day.

Yeah, I know. Fifteen. That’s kind of insane when you think about it.

It’s therefore no wonder that loneliness also affects your sleeping patterns. While some people may suffer from insomnia, sleeping very little, others might sleep too much.

8) They surround themselves with pets

Not everyone who owns a pet is necessarily lonely, but some surveys show that there are plenty of pet owners who have bought a pet in order to combat feelings of loneliness.

And no wonder!

Pets don’t only provide us with companionship but they also give us a sense of purpose and meaning. If you have a dog to keep you company, you might find that your loneliness is much more manageable.

Again, though, getting a pet is only half the battle. It doesn’t solve the crux of the problem – it doesn’t provide us with a deep and meaningful human connection.

Some people who are lonely in life might hide it well, but that doesn’t make them any less lonely. It just means they’ve found coping mechanisms, most of which aren’t effective in the long term.

We all deserve companionship. If you feel lonely, know that there are plenty of people out there who would love to connect with you.

Make the first step. Reach out.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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