We all crave genuine connections, so feeling lonely can be a real struggle.
Too often, we walk through life oblivious to the loneliness that surrounds us. It’s not always easy to spot, especially when people make a concerted effort to hide it.
Feeling lonely isn’t just about being alone, it’s about feeling disconnected and unheard. And guess what? People could be experiencing this right next to you without you even realizing.
Today, let’s shine a light on this often overlooked issue.
I’m here to share with you six subtle signs that someone may be feeling lonely in life.
These signs might not be glaringly obvious, but they’re important.
So, as you read this, remember – my aim isn’t to make you paranoid about every interaction you have. Rather, it’s to help you become more aware, more empathetic.
Maybe some of these signs will ring a bell for you.
…let’s dig in.
1) They’re always “busy”
I remember a friend of mine who was always claiming to be busy. It seemed like she had a million things going on.
But when I dug a little deeper, it turned out that she didn’t have as much on her plate as she led us to believe. She just didn’t want to admit that she was spending a lot of her time alone, feeling disconnected.
People who are feeling lonely sometimes put up a facade of busyness. It’s their way of making it seem like they have a lot going on, when in reality, they’re just trying to fill the void.
This “business” might be something else in disguise…
2) They’re overly active on social media
Another sign is when someone is overly active on social media.
I once knew a guy who would spend hours scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, commenting and liking everything he came across. It was like he was trying to be a part of something, anything.
When people are feeling disconnected in real life, they often turn to social media as a way to feel more connected. But this virtual connection often doesn’t fulfill our need for genuine human interaction.
The next sign might not be that easy to spot…
3) They have trouble sleeping
People experiencing loneliness often have trouble sleeping.
Research shows that the feeling of loneliness can lead to restless nights and even insomnia.
The lack of social connections can make it harder for people to relax and fall asleep at night. This can lead to a vicious cycle, as lack of sleep can also intensify feelings of loneliness.
It’s an important sign to look out for, and in order to do so, we might need to encourage the other person to talk more about themselves. That can be contrary to their typical behaviour, which, in itself, is another sign…
4) They always seem to be the listener
We all know that one person who’s always there for everyone else. They’re the shoulder to cry on, the ear to listen. They’re the ones who always seem to be there for others, but when it comes to their own problems, they keep them to themselves.
It’s a tough position to be in – always being the listener and never the one who’s listened to. It can create a deep sense of loneliness.
They might feel like they’re surrounded by people, but at the same time, they feel incredibly alone because no one really knows what they’re going through.
And that tendency can result from another behaviour…
5) They’re overly self-deprecating
I remember a time when I was going through a particularly lonely period in my life. I found myself constantly making self-deprecating jokes and putting myself down a lot more than usual. It was like I was trying to beat everyone else to the punch, trying to make light of my loneliness before anyone else could point it out.
It’s a common defense mechanism for those feeling isolated. It can be their way of dealing with their loneliness, by making themselves the butt of their own joke.
While it might seem like they’re just having a laugh, it could be a sign that they’re feeling lonely and trying to cope with it in their own way.
Now, there’s another sign which can be spotted when talking with people…
6) They seem distant in conversations
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who just seems a little off? They’re physically there, but it’s like their mind is somewhere else. I’ve been that person before and it wasn’t because I wasn’t interested in the conversation, it was because I was feeling lonely.
When people feel lonely, they often find it hard to engage in conversations. They might appear distracted or disinterested, but it’s not because they don’t care about what’s being said. It’s because they’re dealing with their own inner turmoil.
They’re feeling disconnected from others, and this can make them seem distant during conversations.
Unfortunately, the feeling of disconnection can lead them to withdraw from social interactions altogether…
7) They isolate themselves
This one might seem counterintuitive. If someone is feeling lonely, why would they isolate themselves? But think about it – when you’re feeling down, do you always want to be around others?
From my own experience, I can tell you that the answer is often no. When I’ve felt lonely, I’ve sometimes chosen to isolate myself even further. It wasn’t because I didn’t want company, but because I didn’t want to burden others with my feelings.
Isolation is a common response to loneliness. It’s a harmful cycle – the more isolated someone becomes, the lonelier they tend to feel.
And as they isolate themselves from the world, they also cease to think of the future events…
8) They rarely make plans
I once had a friend who would rarely make plans or initiate hangouts. It wasn’t that she didn’t like us or didn’t want to hang out; she just felt like she would be imposing on us.
People who are feeling lonely often struggle with this. They might not make plans or initiate contact because they don’t want to be a burden or imposition. They may feel like they’re not wanted or valued, and this can lead them to withdraw from social activities.
It’s important to remember that loneliness is a complex issue. It manifests in different ways in different people.
The signs mentioned here are just a few of the many that can indicate someone is feeling lonely.
It’s crucial to approach such individuals with empathy and understanding.
Remember, the smallest act of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s life.