I Hate Being Alone: How To Be More Comfortable Spending Time By Yourself

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated August 17, 2022

Many people hate being by themselves for a long period of time. This could be for many reasons. You might hate being in your car by yourself, at your apartment without your roommates or friends, or eating lunch out by yourself. No matter when you find yourself uncomfortable because you are alone, it is important to realize that this feeling is very common. In fact, many people have moments of insecurity when alone. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take steps to enjoy being by yourself. It is possible to finally enjoy being comfortable spending time alone.

Therapy Can Help Manage Unwanted Thoughts

Whether it be frequent or not, being alone might bother you or play with your mind. Some people enjoy spending a great deal of time by themselves while others try to surround themselves with people the majority of the time. A lot of this has to do with your personality and previous experiences. Having an introverted personality typically means that you enjoy having alone time. Whereas extroverted people get their energy from being around others. For some, alone time can be refreshing, but for many others, it can feel uneasy, anxietyprovoking, and scary. So, why is this?

Why Do You Hate Being Alone?

If you have moments of absolutely hating being by yourself, do you know the reasons? Sometimes people do not always understand why they feel the way they do. Other times, certain feelings can be processed and understood clearly. It is important to discover the root cause of your hatred for being alone. This helps to know what makes you feel lonely and can help you avoid or work through those situations. Below are some common reasons for avoiding being by yourself.

You Beat Yourself Up When You are by Yourself

Sometimes you might fear loneliness because being alone might cause you to beat yourself up about the things you have done, the choices you have made, or the lack of progress that you think that you should have made. We, as humans, tend to be our own worst critics and can be really harsh on ourselves. Being alone can inhibit this because no one else is around to distract you or boost your spirits. You may fear or hate being by yourself because you know what you might end up doing to your mental or emotional state.

You Overthink Everything

Being alone can encourage your mind to wander to many different places. Without others around to talk to or to bounce your emotions off of, your thoughts might fall into the rabbit hole of overthinking. Overthinking can make you start to believe that things are going to turn out badly or become very complex. This is, in fact, a common symptom of generalized anxiety disorder. While this is not always the case, overthinking can cause you to go into a downward spiral of anxiety and lead to an anxiety attack. However, just because you have problems with overthinking, it does not mean you have an anxiety disorder. But, no matter what, overthinking can reap havoc on your feelings. Even if you try to avoid it, it can creep up on you without your control.

You Start To Think That Everyone Is Avoiding You

You may have feelings of hatred toward the thought of being by yourself because you feel as though people are avoiding you. Spending some time by yourself can cause you to feel like other people are avoiding you or that they dislike you. Even if you know for a fact that they don’t, you still may experience these thoughts. Being alone in your house for any period of time can have you feeling like others would rather spend time with other people. Or, you can feel like you are missing out on exciting things. This may make you feel incredibly upset and even overwhelmed. These feelings can also show signs of overthinking or an anxiety disorder, but not always. Many people feel like this when they are having a bad day or have been alone for a long time.

You May Have Become Codependent Or Have Separation Anxiety Disorder

You might be in a codependent relationship if you hate being alone or apart from someone. Or, you could have separation anxiety. If you are heavily reliant on someone else to make you feel worthy or fulfilled, you might strugglewhen you are apart. Medical News Today describes codependency as: “In its most ordinary terms, a codependent relationship is when someone needs another, who in turn, needs to be needed. This circular relationship is the foundation of what experts refer to when they define the ‘cycle’ of codependency.” Codependency can take counseling to get over the extreme feelings it causes.

Separation anxiety disorder is where one feels extreme anxiety when they are not around a specific person or people. According to Healthline, it is unfounded fear when apart from someone or having anxiety attacks when separated from them. Separation anxiety disorder is very serious and should be treated by a licensed counselor, such as one from BetterHelp. It is important to find freedom in your life and feel comfortable being apart from someone.

How To Be More Comfortable Spending Time By Yourself

If you can pin down ways to ease your discomfort of being by yourself, you may eventually come to enjoy your alone time. It might take some time, but it could improve your state of mind and your productivity. However, when you can enjoy a movie night by yourself eating your favorite meal, you will see that it is all worth it.

Plan How You Want To Keep Yourself Occupied While Being Alone

Planning the ways in which you envision spending your time can make you feel better because it makes you feel like you are more in control. For a lot of people, creating a plan, writing it out, and executing it can be extremely satisfying and fulfilling. Working through your plan keeps your mind on the right track and distracts you from negative thoughts that could bog you down. Plans can become habits, and habits can provide stability and comfort. There is a sense of safety in having a routine, which encourages you to get used to having time alone for yourself.

When spending time by yourself, try making a to-do list. Try cooking yourself dinner while watching a movie. Then, after you eat, have an at-home spa day. You could also paint or write. Thinking about what you truly enjoy doing and writing down those things on your to-do list can be very helpful. This way, you are holding yourself to your plans and keeping your mind focused on doing them.

Try Something New

Therapy Can Help Manage Unwanted Thoughts

Trying something new can help you keep your mind busy without encouraging the lonely thoughts to creep in. A new hobby or activity can be your version of an escape that is specifically just meant for your alone time. Additionally, when you are learning and enjoying the new activity, your mind will associate being alone with happy feelings. So, consider what you have always wanted to do and try it out!

Practice Makes Perfect

You have probably heard the phrase “practice makes perfect” at some point in your life. It could have been when you were learning a sport as a kid or when you were learning how to drive. The thought of repetitively doing something seems redundant, but it can actually be very rewarding in the case of spending time alone. If you start by spending a small amount of time alone and steadily increase the amount of time, you could ease yourself into enjoying being by yourself. You may not like it too much at first, but if you get used to it and feel out what it is like for you, you might actually benefit a lot from it.

To start, attempt getting through just one movie by yourself. Movies are usually around one-and-a-half to two hours, which is a great amount of time to start off alone. It can also help keep you distracted. You should put your phone away while watching the movie if you tend to feel comfortable when texting people if you are alone. Next, try doing arts and crafts, working out, or something else while alone. Gradually build up how much time you spend by yourself without pushing yourself into an anxiety attack. Hopefully, in the future, you will be able to do things such as grocery shopping, going to the gym, and spending an afternoon alone.

Spend The Alone Time Relaxing And Refreshing

Use the time you have without other people to replenish your mind and clean your slate. Take some time to finish that one project that you never got around to finishing. Take an extra-long bath with no distractions. Organize your makeup drawer to feel more put together and clean. Whatever cleanses your mind, do that during your alone time!

Try to stay in a positive headspace when you are by yourself and relaxing. Think about what makes you feel your best. Spending time with yourself can help you to put yourself first and realize your needs. Knowing what you need is important, especially when the going gets tough.

Be Intentional With Your Time

It is important to use the alone time you have wisely. If you are more intentional with your time alone, you could increase your level of productivity and your level of efficiency when you get things done. Additionally, try to use your alone time completing your household tasks during the day. This can open up the time you have with others to do fun things. Budgeting your time can be difficult but knowing when to rest and when to work can help you feel more comfortable. This is because you can look forward to spending time with someone you care about and having fun with them.

Eliminate The Things That Drag You Down

Getting rid of the things that make you feel uncomfortable when you are alone can help you to utilize your alone time better. Maybe certain places make you feel more alone than others. It could be good to test this out by avoiding it for a while to see if the situation improves. While you are becoming comfortable being alone, be in places that enable you to feel joy and happiness. This could be your favorite café or even just your bedroom.

Get To Know Yourself

When you are spending time by yourself, get to know the real you. If you take the time to get to know yourself, you could be able to pinpoint exactly what makes you feel lonely and exactly what energizes you when no one else is around. See what activities you love doing or discover your favorite T.V. show. It can be helpful to know what things or habits make you feel down and out or happy and at peace.

Consider Attending Counseling

If at any time you feel incapable of getting to the point of being alone, consider attending counseling. You deserve to feel happy and even excited to spend time by yourself. As mentioned above, BetterHelp has an excellent network of counselors that can help you from the comfort of your own home. Even if you don’t suspect you have an anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, or codependency, and just feel uncomfortable being alone, counseling can still help you. This step can potentially be exactly what you need to feel comfortable being by yourself.

Online therapy has been found to be very effective too. A recent publication looked at 373 studies on how well cognitive behavioral therapy works online. (That’s a common type of talk therapy where you learn to look at your unhealthy thoughts and behaviors and adapt them into helpful, healthy ones.) Across all those studies, it was found that online therapy is as effective as traditional therapy, improves access, and tends to be more cost effective.

That’s a great first benefit: online therapy does tend to be less expensive than traditional therapy. In addition to saving you money, it can also save you time. With online therapy, you can get started anywhere you have a secure internet connection. There’s no long commute or battle with traffic to get to an office.

Here are some reviews by recent BetterHelp users with similar issues of their counselors.

“Sondra has helped me through this very isolating time. I was starting to experience burnout, pre pandemic, but it got much worse when jobs went remote. That's when I started therapy and started talking to Sondra. I don't know what I would do if I wasn't able to sort out my thoughts with her. She helps me make sense of things and provides coping strategies, offers suggestions on steps I might want to look into taking. Things aren't always resolved or fixed, but I feel better after talking to her about them, less anxious. I have a lot to thank her for.” Read more on Sondra Kern.

“I look forward to my counseling sessions. I have felt kind of lonely and cut off from a lot of people for this past year for obvious reasons and speaking to someone who is so knowledgeable and empathetic really helps me to remember that everything is working out. I very much appreciate this service and how easily accessible it is.” Read more on Raquel Pace.

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