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Real Talk: How to Deal with Loneliness When Surrounded by People

Loneliness is a difficult thing to work through. It’s emotionally rippling and can lead to serious issues like depression. The most frustrating part of loneliness is that, even though we may be physically surrounded by friends and family we can still feel emotionally disconnected and isolated. In times like these, you’re probably thinking: Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m the problem. Maybe I’m just meant to do things alone, but the truth about loneliness is that, 99 percent of the time, we feel this way because we’re having trouble finding people we really connect with. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do things alone, but the type of loneliness I’m talking about comes from having trouble finding people we really connect with. If you’re like me, you don’t waste your time with people you don’t connect with, no matter how hard you try.

 

In times like these, it’s incredibly easy to give into your loneliness. It’s easy to give into your negative thoughts and isolate yourself from the world around you. However, this only makes your loneliness worse and so much more real. This doesn’t make your problems go away and will only make you feel all the more alienated. So, that being said, here are three tricks to keep in mind the next time you’re stuck in the rut that is loneliness: 

1. Understand Your Comfort Zone

We all have them, and they are different for everyone. Some people are comfortable in huge groups or constantly being around others. On the contrary, some people have a few choice friends and prefer to be in smaller crowds. Some people love going out and enjoy the bar scene, while others prefer something a little less crowded. There’s nothing wrong with any of these. Your comfort zone will depend on you and your preferences, and no one else can define that for you. Only you can determine where your comfort zone lies and you can determine whether or not you want to expand your limits.

2. Put Yourself Out There

When you experience constant loneliness, you get so accustomed to feeling that way you keep yourself in a bubble and don’t interact with people while in large groups. Being around people gets harder and harder. When this happens, sometimes you need to force yourself to do something about your loneliness. In this case, you might want to push your comfort zone a little bit. To understand your comfort zones, sometimes it’s best to start small. Go online and look up groups or events that spark your interest. These can be through your school or local community. There are plenty of resources if you just take the time to look for them. It’s also easier to try something new if you have someone you know to go with you. In this case, you could talk to someone in your close circle of friends or family to see what they’re involved with and ask if you could tag along. You don’t have to do anything crazy, drastic or life changing to put yourself out there. Sometimes, the best way to combat your loneliness is to experiment with different social settings to see what and where you’re most comfortable. Again, this all depends on you and your preferences because no friend or family member can tell you what’s right for you.

3. Quality Over Quantity

A lot of the time, being surrounded by negative people can cause someone to feel incredibly lonely. In this case, it’s the quality of the friend that matters, not the quantity of people in your life. People who are rude, negative, condescending and unsupportive are not good company to keep and do nothing but contribute to your loneliness. It’s much better for you to surround yourself with a small number of positive people than to be surrounded by a big group of people who do nothing but spread negativity, thus contributing to your loneliness. It’s better to be in less company than to be in bad company. It’s amazing what cutting off all that negative energy can do for you.

Although it’s better to be around fewer people than in bad company, that doesn’t have to stop you from putting yourself out there. Seek out people who will have a positive impact on your life and find ways to expand your comfort zone. Loneliness can feel like barrier keeping you from moving forward, but remember that barriers were meant to be broken.

There’s no shame in feeling like you need the help of a professional. So, if your loneliness goes beyond what you feel is reversible reach out to your school’s psychological services

Lauren Milligan is a senior English major at Kent State University. In addition to writing for Her Campus, she is also a content creator for the Odyssey. When she's not scribbling in her journal, sipping coffee and writing at Tree City Coffee, she is probably feeding her horror movie obsession or hitting up local bookstores to contribute to the small library in her bedroom.
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