Now, don’t get me wrong – this post isn’t meant to be a pity party. So please don’t take it that way. This post is meant to reach out to those of you who might also feel lonely despite being around people 90% of the time. I’ve spoken to a few people about this, and there seems to be a mutual understanding that your 20’s can be incredibly lonely – but why? This is a time in our lives where we are either at uni with thousands of other people our age, at work or flatting. We probably connect with our friends 24/7 on social media and most of us never put down our phones. So why do so many 20-somethings feel so lonely?
I did a lil bit of research cause ya know, I’m a nerd like that. If you google ‘being lonely in your 20’s’ the internet is spilling over with articles all around this same topic. It seems that I’m not the first to come up with this gripping blog content. (Dammit). But in all seriousness, what the heck even is loneliness? I like to keep my friendship circle small. I prefer super close, deep friendships with a few people over pointless social interactions with loads of strangers. Working in retail, I’m around people all the time. I live with people, and always have someone to text. Shock horror, I still get lonely. I put together some of the reasons and some ideas that might help to try and make sense of this weird situation so many people I know are in.
Unfulfilling social interactions
This is one that kept coming up when I was googling. I think this is so important. I’m around people all the time and uni and work, but I’m not exactly making emotional connections with everyone am I? If you took away all the customers, and fellow students that I’ve never spoken more than a few words to, there wouldn’t really be anyone left. It’s not as if each and every person we talk to gets to know us, our secrets and fears – our dreams. Of course not, that might be a bit weird. But I totally agree that the amount of people in our lives is saturated by strangers that we don’t really know.
Quality over quantity
I always get told that I need to “get out there” and meet new people. But this isn’t always the ideal formula. Forming a mutually beneficial friendship takes hard work – and sometimes, 2 people just don’t click on a deep level and that’s okay. Instead of going out there and joining every club under the sun to try and widen your friendship circle, focus on the friends you do have and take the time to get to know those people more.
You might not be letting people get close
I am super guilty of this. I never let anyone know the real me. Even the people that have known me for years, don’t really know me. I don’t think anyone on this planet knows me 100%. It’s weird, even when I’m around people I love to bits, I always keep a part of myself reserved. I think it’s because my entire life I’ve been told I’m too loud, or weird, or bossy. So I’m terrified that if I relax and let someone in, they won’t like me and I’ll end up feeling burned again. I don’t know how to give advice on this, because I am the worst at doing it. I think it’s important to have confidence in yourself, and always remember that if people don’t like the real you there is nothing you can do to convince them to like the fake you. Just be real, and live your life.
You’re running a different race
It can be really easy to get caught up in what others are doing, and forget that your journey is one that only you can walk. When everyone around you seems to be graduating, moving out, getting engaged – and you aren’t quite there yet, it can feel that you’ve got no one around you thats in the same life stage. This can make me feel super lonely at times. Most of my friends are at different points in their lives to me, which leaves me feeling like I’m tackling things all alone. The trick here is to not forget that what you’re doing is amazing as well, and you’ll reach those milestones too some day.
Talk to someone, ya know – a professional
If your loneliness is really getting you down, you might benefit from talking to a councillor. I know that when I was seeing a councillor a couple of years ago, she really helped me. She was the most amazing woman, who made me feel so valued and gave me such confidence to go out there and take control of my life. I learnt a lot from her. I encourage you to seek out support in a professional setting, you never know how it may change your life. It’s not for everyone, but think about it.
Forcing yourself to socialise
If you’re an introvert, or have social anxiety, forcing yourself to socialise might make you feel worse. There is a difference between going out when ya not really feeling it and seeing how the night goes and putting yourself in a situation that gives you feelings of anxiety and stress. Don’t put yourself in situation that you know aren’t your scene. I’m never gonna be someone you’ll find in town at 3am on a weekend. I don’t enjoy it, so I don’t go. Remember to take part in things that make you feel good and comfortable.
Think outside of yourself
Sometimes, we have to look beyond our own feelings in order to understand them. Being generous is one way to help the way we think of ourselves. Reach out to other people who might be feeling lonely, spread positivity and be compassionate. You might be surprised at the way people react when you put aside your own feelings for a little while and do something that might make someone else’s day. It might not make you feel like the least lonely person in the world, but being the source of someone else’s joy is always an amazing feeling.
Let me know your thoughts on loneliness in your 20’s in the comments below, I love reading your comments!
Thanks for reading! Love, Lyd x