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I often feel lonely, though I have friends and a social life. What do I do?

15 Aug
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User's Question

I am in college, studying B.A. in English. I have friends; I also have a social life; I am a dancer and I follow my classes regularly, every week on Sundays. I enjoy them. I have a normal life except for some issues in the house with my mother, who is very authoritative and dominating and often bothers me with loads of house chores; I do them but she still has complains, well we argue and may be settle them at a time. She shouts, I ignore, its a usual thing now. But I often feel lonely; though I am living with my family, I have friends who care, I go out for different types of work, but at times, I feel I am alone, and no one there to share if I am grieved. What can be the reason? What do I do to keep myself even more occupied?

16 Aug
Dr. Ibrahim Abunada

Doctors Answer

Aug 16, 2016 12:22 AM

Dear User, welcome to ewellness experts. Actually, I can understand your bitterness. Because Loneliness is one of the most challenging feelings to overcome. For those of us that suffer from loneliness, it is emotionally crippling and can lead us into depression. In fact, the most frustrating part of loneliness is that even though we might be surrounded by people, we still feel alone and disconnected. Luckily, though, there are many things we can do to overcome loneliness. Don’t give up, there are people who care about you. You will be able to get through your loneliness if you stick with it. Therefore, I would like to provide you with some crucial tips you can follow hoping to overcome your loneness feeling

Recognize that being lonely and being alone are two different things. Being lonely is a feeling that transcends your outward environment and current social activities. While someone can be surrounded by people in a crowd and still feel lonely, someone else might be all alone and not feel lonely at all.

Loneliness is a feeling of disconnectedness you have inside.

Being alone is when no one is around you.

You can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely.

 

Try to better understand your loneliness. Think about your likes, dislikes, and where you feel comfortable. You might feel lonely in certain crowds, but you might feel deep connections with people at small gatherings. The only way to move forward is to find out exactly what situations you are uncomfortable in. Consider the special circumstances of your unease and loneliness.

Do you like small gatherings of friends?

How do you feel in bars, clubs, or other social events where you’re out in a public establishment?

Do you feel okay in large gatherings if you know everyone?

 

Examine your past. There might be hurtful experiences in your past that contribute to why you feel so lonely. One of the first places you should start is by examining yourself to figure out if this is true. If so, you’ll have a better idea of why you feel this way and you’ll be able to move forward. Maybe you were abused or neglected by the people who were supposed to take care of you. Maybe you were bullied or left out by your classmates. Maybe you are feeling inadequate because of physical or mental disabilities, your gender, race or social background.

 

Be true to yourself. Don’t let the urge to conform to other people’s expectations make you into a different person. Focus on your inner-self rather than on outer stimuli and influences. Be proud of the person you are, and more people will want to connect with you. Tell yourself that your own opinions are important. Constantly reinforce your own uniqueness and personality. Don’t fear being different just so others approve of you

 

Interacting With Other People

Open up to close friends or relatives. Pick a really close friend or relative and talk to them about your problem. You’ll find that people who care about you will go out of their way to make you feel better, feel supported, and feel more connected. After all, having a solid support system is one of the most important things in feeling connected to the people around you. Your friend or relative will know how you feel and might be more understanding if you’re in a situation where you feel lonely.

They might offer advice or perspective on how you feel.

They’ll try to make you feel loved and supported.[8]

Find others like you. One reason you might be lonely in a crowd is that you’re surrounded by people who are extroverts, much more social than you, or even share drastically different worldviews or interests. A good way to overcome this is to find others like yourself with whom you can relate and socialize. Try to:

Talk to many different people briefly in order to find people more like yourself.

Master the art of the quick interview. Try asking people about where they grew up, where they live, where they went to school, or what they do for a living. These are easy ways of finding people you share something in common with.

Don’t trap yourself in the idea that no one is like you.
Listen to others.
 Sometimes our loneliness is compounded by the fact that we feel too stressed and too drained talking and entertaining others. Instead, try to listen to others. Many people who are extroverts and like to socialize also like to talk about themselves. View this as an opportunity. They’ll enjoy you listening to them, and you’ll create your own niche as someone who listens to others.[10]

Master the art of conversation. Practice conversing with different people and getting yourself used to socializing. This way, when you’re in a crowd, you’ll be more at ease when it comes to talking to people and forming connections.

Talk to people about things you have in common, like where you grew up, schools you went to, or friends you share in common.

Talk to people about current events like the weather, sports, or things happening in your community.

Avoid steering a conversation toward your own interests at the expense of others.


Force yourself to socialize.
 You might be lonely in a crowd because you’re not used to socializing in large groups. One way to overcome this is to make yourself socialize. Practice makes perfect. The more you socialize, the easier it’ll be, and the more comfortable you’ll be talking to other people and making friends.

Focus on deep conversations, rather than chit-chat and superficial discussion. If appropriate, ask people what they think about something you are interested in.

Socialize with people you know and care about.

Start in environments you feel comfortable in.

Avoid people who make you feel bad. Sometimes we feel lonely or alienated from a group because of the people we’re around – sometimes we view them as friends – are mean to us, make fun of us, or are not supportive of us. Don’t spend time with these people. Leave the group and find another group of people (or individuals) who do appreciate you for being you, who are positive, and who are supportive.

Surround yourself with friends. Identifying good friends and enjoying their company in a crowd or at a party is important to not being lonely in a crowd. Your friends will not only offer you support and make you feel connected to the crowd, but they can act as a bridge to meeting new people.


Seek help from a professional.
 Find a mental health professional to talk about your feelings. An online psychologist can help you examine your past and determine what might be causing your loneliness and discomfort. This might be one of the last things you want to do, but if loneliness is crippling you emotionally and detracting from your quality of life, you should consider seeking help. Through therapy, you can acquire new tools, skills, and outlets to help you feel better. Counseling can also provide you with some much needed support.  Take Care.