During the pandemic, many people struggled with the lack of genuine human interaction.
Suddenly being at home 24/7 without seeing other people for months on end was an incredibly tough thing to go through.
But for some, this wasn’t confined just to the pandemic. Some people rarely experience human connection, and that can take its toll.
After all, we’re social beings. We need the company of others.
If you’re reading this and relating to the feeling of feeling lonely or cut off from people, you’re in the right place.
Here are 9 signs you’re struggling with a lack of genuine human interaction (and what to do about it):
1) Feeling lonely or isolated
It’s strange to think that even when you’re surrounded by people, you might still feel lonely.
But it makes sense – if you’re not experiencing genuine, deep interactions, it doesn’t matter how many people you see daily, you’re still lacking that human connection.
So ask yourself – do you feel empty inside?
Do you wish there were people around you who understood you? Who you vibe with and feel comfortable around?
If the answer is yes, there’s a good chance you’re lonely and this stems from a lack of human interaction.
2) Increased reliance on social media or virtual interactions
Not too long ago, it dawned on me that since I work from home and live very rurally, I don’t encounter people on a daily basis. I can easily go a week only seeing my husband.
And as a result, I was spending a lot of time on social media. Too much time, actually.
Part of it was a distraction from how I was feeling, but mainly, I just wanted to feel connected to others – even strangers.
I’d find myself reading through comments after watching a reel, just to see if other people thought along the same lines as I did.
Watch out for this sign.
While it’s great to find a community online, nothing replaces face-to-face, genuine human interaction.
3) Changes in mood
Another sign you’re struggling with a lack of human interaction is if you experience mood swings.
You might find yourself feeling low and with little motivation. You might feel negative about life, or like there’s not much point in trying or doing anything.
Sadness is another emotion that might become more frequent.
I went from being a very bubbly, happy-go-lucky woman to an emotional rollercoaster. I was even resentful at times of people around me who had great friendship circles, which isn’t like me at all.
So if you’re noticing changes in your mood, it’s a sign that you need to find people to share meaningful connections with, and soon.
4) Decline in social skills
I know what I just said in the previous point is easier said than done. It’s not like you can just go out and magic up deep connections from thin air.
But this cycle of isolation leads to a decline in social skills. Essentially, the less you’re around people, the more you “forget” how to act around people.
I don’t mean that you go out and act like an animal in public.
But you might find that you miss certain social cues, feel awkward, or struggle to keep a conversation going.
I, for example, used to be pretty sassy. I had good banter and could easily make a group of people laugh.
But I’ve noticed that in the last couple of years, the lack of genuine human interaction means I’m often struggling to find the right words or just be myself.
And a lot of that comes down to the following:
5) Decreased self-esteem
People, good people, build each other up.
So if you’re lacking that in your life, it’s natural you might feel like your self-esteem is at an all-time low.
Especially if you blame yourself.
You might think that it’s your fault you don’t have close interactions with others, or that there’s something off-putting about you and that’s why you’re in this situation.
Look, this is a dangerous spiral. The more you blame yourself, the lower your self-esteem falls.
We all go through periods like this in life, and hey, after the pandemic, loneliness and a lack of human interaction were heightened.
So go easy on yourself.
6) Physical symptoms
Did you know that loneliness can increase your stress levels?
I think many people underestimate how important human connection really is. Until they go through a lack of it for themselves.
Because as well as mentally feeling down, it can also have physical consequences, such as:
- Feeling ill
- Aches and pains
- Trouble sleeping
The way I see it is that genuine interaction and deep connections are comparable to how plants need sunshine – without it, they wither and so do we.
7) Loss of interest in activities
Another sign you may be struggling with a lack of human interaction is if you don’t have motivation for anything in life anymore.
Perhaps you once enjoyed being active, but now just the thought of going for a run makes you want to go back to bed.
Or you were a movie buff, but now struggle to make it through the first half hour of any film you come across.
This loss of interest goes hand in hand with the physical symptoms and mood swings I mentioned earlier.
I remember not having the energy to do anything.
Until I reconnected with a good friend, and we went for a walk in the local forest. I remember how much we chatted, and how I went home feeling 1000 times lighter.
Funnily enough, that one interaction sparked me to start walking again, alone or with company.
Just goes to show how powerful human interaction can be!
8) Difficulty in expressing emotions
Interestingly, another thing that might take a hit if you’re struggling with a lack of genuine human interaction is expressing your emotions.
And it makes sense.
If you don’t have anyone to discuss your feelings with, you start bottling them up.
But when you’ve got close friends or family around, people that you trust, you’d often share how you’re feeling.
You’d vent when you have a bad day. You’d recount how a colleague annoyed you at work. You’d express your happiness when something good happens to you.
If you don’t have that close, intimate interaction with anyone, it’s no wonder that when you do try to speak about your feelings, you struggle to find the words.
Perhaps you even struggle to identify what you’re feeling in the first place.
9) Overthinking social interactions
This is one I can certainly relate to.
Back in the day, I’d make plans, head out, and see where the wind took me.
Now, if someone wants to hang out, I overthink everything.
From my clothing to the topics we can talk about. After the meetup, I’ll recap everything I said and whether I came across as “normal” or a complete weirdo.
This goes back to the lack of self-esteem.
People with self-confidence just get up and go. They live in the moment and have fun socializing.
But when your self-esteem has taken a blow, that’s when overthinking creeps in.
So by now, you should have a good idea of whether or not you’re struggling with a lack of genuine human interaction.
I’ve been where you are, so let me share a few things that helped me:
Getting back out there
I reached a point where I realized:
If I don’t do something about this, it’s not going to solve itself.
And loneliness is a really tough thing to live with, as you probably already know.
So, try out the following and keep an open mind:
- Reconnect with good friends from the past. Making new friends might seem daunting to start with, so why not reach out to people you’ve lost touch with over the years? You may be surprised as to who is happy to hear from you, and these friendships are usually easy to reconnect over as you have shared history.
- Join local clubs or classes. Pottery, swimming, yoga, a book club, whatever takes your fancy. By joining a club or class of your interest, you’ll meet like-minded people who you’ve already got something in common with.
- Get involved in the community. This is a great way to meet lots of local people, and do things that’ll bring you a sense of purpose and meaning.
- Seek professional help. If you really feel you’re struggling and your mental health is declining, don’t wait for it to get worse. Speak to a therapist and they’ll help you work through this tough patch.
Ultimately, you have to get proactive. Make the effort to turn shallow interactions into deeper, more meaningful connections, and be selective about who you surround yourself with (good vibes only).
And remember, this is just one phase in your life – you won’t always feel this way (although I know it’s hard to see that when you’re going through it), so try to stay positive, allow yourself to be vulnerable, and be open to healthy connections with others.
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.