Why Am I Lonely? Possible Answers And Solutions
Updated September 27, 2018
Reviewer Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
Loneliness is a painful affliction. Rectifying it can take time and effort, but it is possible. If you're continually asking yourself, "Why am I lonely?" read on for some tips to figure out what might be causing your loneliness and how to address it.
What is Loneliness?
Generally, loneliness is a feeling that nobody cares about you, the frustration that you have nobody special to spend time with, or the realization that the people you know don't truly know you. Some people who are lonely spend a lot of time by themselves, but it's also common for busy, extroverted people to feel lonely, even when they're spending time with other people.
Why Am I Lonely?
You may be an introvert. Because of their personality type, introverts need time alone to recharge, but doing so regularly can interfere with social relationships and be misinterpreted as disinterest. It can be difficult for introverts to reach out and develop friendships, leading to a lack of close friendships and feelings of loneliness.
You may suffer from social anxiety. Social anxiety is a type of anxiety that can be triggered by even the most mundane of social situations. Because of this, you may avoid social interaction which can lead to isolation and loneliness.
You may be shy. You might not have full-blown social anxiety, but meeting people and developing connections is hard for you. The result is that you have trouble making friends and inviting existing friends or acquaintances to hang out with you.
You may be trying to meet others' expectations of you. Other people expect you to be the life of the party, or to act (or think) a certain way. As a result, you never show the "real" you, and you feel lonely because your friends are drawn to the caricature that you've created, but you're not sure whether they sincerely like you.
You may be suffering from depression. Depression is a medical affliction that often results in withdrawal from social activity. A person who is depressed either lacks the energy to maintain social interaction, or becomes disinterested in previous hobbies and activities, and thus withdraws.
How Can I Stop Being Lonely?
There are a few things you can do to combat loneliness and try to develop new friendships. First, you'll need to be brave and take steps to get to know people. While it may feel uncomfortable at first, if you push through it, you will be rewarded. Try a new hobby, go to an event, or pick up the phone and invite someone to go out to dinner with you.
However, know that things may be bumpy at first. You may not connect perfectly with everyone you meet, and others may decline your invitation to hang out. Don't take this as a deeply personal rejection. Developing relationships takes work and time.
Finally, don't try to be someone you're not. Putting up a front is exhausting and will only exacerbate your loneliness. Be authentic and be you. There are people out there who you'll connect with, you just have to find them. Keep trying.
If you're struggling with loneliness and you think it may stem from a condition such as depression or social anxiety, seek help. Medications can be prescribed by your doctor to help correct brain chemistry, and counseling can help you overcome your obstacles and develop new skills to begin building healthy relationships. Betterhelp.com even offers online therapy, so the convenience can fit your lifestyle.