“All the lonely people, where do they all come from?” – Eleanor Rigby, The Beatles
Did you know that loneliness isn’t necessarily about being alone?
It’s not always easy to spot a lonely person because quite often, they’re surrounded by people.
They might have a lot of “so-called” friendships and could even be social butterflies.
The thing though is that these friendships are superficial and what they long for is an actual deep and meaningful connection to another human being.
Does this sound like you? Do you think you may be lonely in life?
In this article, we’re going to dig a little deeper into the human psyche to uncover the secret signs that reveal true loneliness.
Here we go:
1) You feel alone even when you’re surrounded by people
Do you ever find yourself meeting up with your friends for drinks or going to a party and feeling totally isolated from everyone else?
It’s like you’re watching events around you unfold in slow motion.
It’s like you’re there, but you’re not really there.
Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves and being in the moment and you’re asking yourself “Why did I come? I should have stayed at home.”
I’ve had periods in my life when I felt exactly like that.
I actually felt most alone at celebrations like birthdays and weddings, where everyone was next level happy.
It turns out that this sort of behavior is the first sign of someone being lonely.
You see, even though you’re not alone and you’re surrounded by friends and acquaintances, you’re unable to form a real connection with anyone – it’s like there’s a glass wall between you.
2) You feel misunderstood
Part of the reason you’re unable to connect with others is the fact that you feel misunderstood in life.
It’s like everything you say or do is constantly being taken out of context, twisted, and turned to suit someone else’s narrative.
Nobody is really listening to you, nobody sees you – the real you.
You don’t think you should bother trying to explain yourself anymore or to make a connection with someone because you’ll only end up rejected and hurt – again.
So even though you long to be close to someone more than anything else in the world, you end up keeping your distance.
It’s better to be by yourself than to be misunderstood again – or so you think…
3) You spend way too much time on social media
So, you have trouble connecting to other people and you feel misunderstood – yet you can’t help searching for some kind of connection.
And because you can’t seem to find what you’re looking for in “real life” you end up spending hours on end on social media: posting pictures and hoping to get many likes; sharing memes and interesting posts with friends; and commenting on other people’s posts and getting into a “conversation” of sorts.
The problem is that at the end of the day, excessive use of social media may actually leave you feeling more detached and lonelier than ever before.
Especially because of the false representation of people’s lives on social media – everyone seems happy and their lives seem perfect.
Just remember, that’s what they want you to think, and a lot of the time it’s just a facade.
4) You have trouble sleeping
Loneliness can run deep and cause unhappiness, as well as certain psychosomatic ailments such as back pain and headaches.
It can also cause insomnia and nightmares which will give you a hell of a hard time getting a good night’s rest.
Or the opposite could happen and you could end up oversleeping as a way to escape the painful reality of being awake.
5) You don’t feel motivated to do anything
So, you’ll oversleep and when you wake up you’ll stare at the ceiling for a while then grab your phone and start scrolling your social media pages.
When you get out of bed eventually, if you don’t have to be at work (because it’s the weekend) you’ll just hang around the house like a ghost in pajamas all day.
You’ll feel like you have no energy and no will to go out and do anything because life seems kinda empty and meaningless.
Loneliness can be a very serious issue with very serious behavioral changes.
Now, because you have trouble connecting to other people and because you long for a real connection more than anything, you turn to the next best thing – a cat or a dog or both.
You decide that pets are actually better than people because they love you unconditionally, they don’t judge, and they’d never hurt you as a person would.
I can totally relate to that – I have two dogs and a cat and when the world turns its back on me, well, I have my furbabies who I love more than anything!
But here’s the thing – no matter how much you love your pets and how close you feel to them, they can’t completely replace human interactions.
This means that deep down, the feeling of loneliness will still be present.
7) You suffer from low self-esteem
You look at other people who seem happy and thrive in their relationships.
They’ve found their soulmates and have families; or, they have a group of friends like Joey, Chandler, Ross, Monica, Phoebe, and Rachel that they click with.
You go on Instagram and all you see is happy people living amazing lives and doing fun stuff with other happy people.
Then you look at your own life and wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” and “Why doesn’t anyone like me? Why can’t they see me for who I really am?”
And then you start to spiral into self-criticism and low self-esteem.
I’m gonna let you into a little secret, okay?
People aren’t as happy and fulfilled as they usually seem.
There are many lonely people out there who are just playing a part, so don’t feel bad, you’re not alone.
8) Your eating habits have changed
Ever since you’ve started feeling sad and lonely you’re not eating the same.
Maybe you’ve lost your appetite and forget to eat until you hear your stomach grumble late in the evening.
Maybe you force food down your throat just for the sake of sustenance, without taking any pleasure in it – even if it’s something incredibly tasty that used to make you go, “Mmm”.
Or maybe it’s the opposite and you’ve turned to food to try and feed your loneliness. You’ll find yourself eating a lot more and turning to comfort foods like cakes and puddings to fill a void.
Needless to say, there will be a change in your weight.
I know… I’ve been there more than once.
Whenever something isn’t quite right in my life and I feel anxious and depressed, I turn to food, I can’t help it.
9) You don’t care about your appearance
Because you feel so alone in life, and because you feel like no one really sees you or cares about you, you stop making an effort with how you dress.
You’ll leave the house in your pajama bottoms and a jacket to go buy your groceries.
You’ll forget to brush your hair and even neglect to wash it for days on end.
Who cares, right?
That’s definitely the behavior of someone lonely in life.
10) You tend to ruminate
You’ll spend hours on end thinking about everything that’s going on in the world around you – from wars and famines to climate change – you’ll mostly focus on the negative stuff.
Or you’ll get lost reminiscing about the good ol’ days, maybe you’ll go back to your childhood and think about how good things were back then.
Finally, you may end up fantasizing about living a whole other life.
You’ll just lie in your bed and think about being surrounded by your close friends and being in love with your soulmate – all in all, living your best life and being happy.
11) You have escapist behaviors
So what do I mean by “escapist behaviors?”
I mean that in order to get away from the feeling of loneliness that is weighing you down, you’ll take up behaviors that will help you forget.
From excessive TV watching (and yes bingeing Netflix series well into the night is excessive) to playing video games all weekend to substance abuse – alcohol, drugs, I’d even say overeating.
These kinds of behaviors are definitely a sign that you’re a very lonely person.
12) Compulsive shopping
Finally, I’ve got to mention compulsive shopping.
Remember the void I mentioned?
Well, one of the ways you may try to fill it is with material possessions.
And even if you don’t feel like getting out of the house, you can indulge in this unhealthy behavior from the comfort of your home. All you need is a credit card and anything you wish for will be delivered to your door.
But does any of it make you happy?
Of course not, loneliness can only be cured with a true human connection, not with things.
If you recognize signs of loneliness in yourself, it’s important to take them seriously.
You need to take care of yourself and start prioritizing your mental and emotional well-being.
- Begin by acknowledging your feelings without judgment and understanding that loneliness is a common experience.
- Take small steps to reconnect with others, whether it’s reaching out to old friends or taking part in activities that interest you where you can meet new people.
- Foster self-compassion and challenge negative self-talk. Recognize your worth and the potential to have meaningful connections.
- Seriously think about seeking professional support, such as therapy to explore the root causes of your loneliness and develop coping strategies.
Remember that building and maintaining relationships takes time, and it’s okay to start small.
What’s more, not every person you meet will be an ideal candidate for a deep and meaningful connection, and that’s totally normal.
Although it may feel like it, you are not alone and many people find themselves in the exact same position as you.
Luckily, there are many online resources available and support networks to help you on your journey toward greater social connection and well-being.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.