26 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because You're Feeling Lonely

Loneliness. An often undesirable, but all-too-common part of being human.

Maybe you feel lonely when you see acquaintances posting on social media and compare your life to theirs. Maybe you have trouble trusting others and forming deep connections, so you’re left feeling isolated and alone. Or maybe you grew up experiencing abuse, and live with a void of emptiness that seems to never go away. 

Whatever the reason may be, experiencing loneliness is tough and it can impact daily functioning. We wanted to know what experiencing loneliness actually “looks” like, so we asked members of our Mighty community to share one thing people don’t realize they are doing because they are lonely.

If you are struggling with loneliness, we want you to know you’re not the only one. It’s important to remember it doesn’t matter how powerful or successful someone is — everyone experiences loneliness at some point in their lives.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. I get this weird courage to post to social media, probably a cry for help. When no one replies I delete it.” — Abby D.
  2. I know this is counterproductive, but if I’m really lonely, I push everyone away. I have no idea why.” — Alicia E.
  3. “Talking my co-workers’ ears off at work. I appear to be a social butterfly, however on the inside I just wish I had someone to have a meaningful conversation with. I go weeks sometimes without stimulating talks. It makes you feel pathetic to feel alone in crowds full of people.” — Katy S.
  4. “I talk to myself. To an extent, I do it because I’m auditory processing. However, I notice I tend to do it more if I’m alone for a longer period of time or didn’t do much that day. I tend to say my thoughts out loud and process what I’m upset about and talk about what’s on my mind as I’m explaining it to someone.” — Kellyann N.
  5. “Posting more than the usual on social media. Sharing more memes, posting selfies, trying to be a bit more sociable than the usual.” — Ternicka M.
  6. “I have trouble saying goodbye to family or friends when I’m leaving. I ‘hold on’ to them and keep trying to keep the conversation going because in that moment, I know I’m not alone, but as soon as I leave I’ll be lonely again.” — Megan D.
  7. “I obsessively do crosswords and Sudoku — one after the other after the other. I also stay up all night watching mindless YouTube and reading every single comment — not commenting myself.” — Rachael A.
  8. “Interacting on Facebook. The interactions can help me feel a little less lonely sometimes, especially in an online group where I’m able to relate to the other people there.” — Christa O.
  9. Day-dreaming too much. I will also binge watch a television series or movies and ignore everything else… then when the series is over, I end up extremely depressed. I distract myself from my feelings that way… But I end up making myself lonelier in the process.” — Kortney D.
  10. “I text all my group chats and ask if anyone has plans and try to get my friends to hang out with me. I also offer to pay for drinks or food or whatever would make them want to be around me, and comment on everyone’s social media posts so they remember me and think I’m worthy of something.” — Kat M.
  11. “I get on this online dating site and chat or meet up with people. I don’t want to bother my loved ones, so I meet strangers and chat or hook up. Not proud of it but sometimes I get tired of my mind holding me hostage. As a person, I need some sort of actual human contact. Loneliness is killer.” — Nicole S.
  12. “Watching movies and having soul-splitting cries because the movies touch on what’s missing from your life. What you want more than anything. Or they are relatable in that the people are suffering or sick.” — Jade S.
  13. “I make up little stories to sound interesting. But I don’t lead a ‘normal’ life, nowhere near as bad as it could be or has been, but all I’m left with is regrets, guilt, depression and the worse anxiety I’ve ever felt. I need some friends or a real hug from someone who just wants to make me feel better and safe.” — Connor P.
  14. “I try to find things to do even if nothing needs to be done, like finding clothes to wash, things to clean, etc. Or going out to the city or shops when I don’t actually have a reason for it, I just want to be in public around other people so I don’t feel isolated. I also get more clingy with friends and get very anxious if they don’t reply quickly. At the same time though, I get more withdrawn the longer I am by myself. Sometimes I forget how to socialize properly when I finally do. I’ll freeze up around people and my self-esteem just disappears.” — Johanna M.
  15. I hum to myself…I realized I do that to self-soothe. I developed heat exhaustion last week and I had to go to the doctor in the middle of the night, and when I was waiting to be seen, I started humming…” — Catherine E.
  16. “I get really angry. No one seems to realize I just want a hug or literally a hand to hold, and it gets under my skin. It usually results in my family and friends getting upset with me, and in turn, I’ll retreat to my room.” — Rachel T.
  17. I tend to play on my phone in public. Even if there’s nothing to do on it so it looks like I’m busy and someone cares. I even do it at home too but at least at home, I can also lose myself in a book.” — Samantha V.
  18. “I stay in bed longer because I can’t bear to get up knowing I have no one to talk to. Sometimes I don’t talk to anyone/am more quiet than usual, but I constantly check my phone for messages.” — Emma N.
  19. “I have imaginative scenarios where I’m talking to the people I love, but I can never muster up the courage to talk to them because I feel like I’m not worth their time.” — Caelynn C.
  20. “I watch a lot of food/travel shows on YouTube to help me escape the reality of my loneliness. Also watching funny videos helps for a moment.” — MJ R.
  21. “I work really really hard — almost too hard. I spend too much time at work, and always have to be planning something or doing something. I can’t let my mind relax.” — Kimmi S.
  22. “Unintentionally start fights. I come across as pushy and cranky, plus I’m emotional to begin with because I’m lonely.” — Bobbie S.
  23. “I post a lot of selfies. Usually on Snapchat. The more snapchat stories I have, the more lonely I’m feeling… I’m hoping someone will comment and strike up a conversation. Unfortunately it’s usually not a conversation I want to have… then I feel used and lied to and it makes it worse. It’s a horrible cycle.” — Scarlett R.
  24. I read a lot when I’m lonely. Reading transports me the a different place, usually more hopeful.” — Rebecca G.
  25. “Putting on my headphones and just listen to music. Focusing on the music makes me feel less lonely.” — Mackenzie B.
  26. “Staying at church so long, but I also do it because I love being there, and I love the people there.” — Tammy C.

Unsplash photo via Ronaldo Santos

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Mental Health

couple sitting on bridge in wildness with fire beside them

6 Tips for Telling Your Significant Other About Your Mental Illness

“Hey, by the way, there’s something you should probably know about me,” I casually interject into a night of intimate conversations. “I’m bipolar.” In an atypical response, I recall my boyfriend shrugging and saying something along the lines of “I figured,” and “So?” Relationships can be a minefield when it comes to mental illnesses. I [...]
life basket

What I Put in My 'Life Basket' — the Tool That Saves Me When I’m Suicidal

Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes my struggle with my mental illness has been so hard that I wanted to die. In fact, in the past I have come to that place of trying to kill myself. But, by the grace of God I have somehow made it through all those times, and I am still [...]
woman looking mad on her phone

When Your Therapist Makes You Angry

Therapy is a place where you come to grow, but sometimes growth can be painful. When your therapist points out behavior that isn’t serving you well, you might become angry, and that anger can also be painful since anger is generally unpleasant, and many people would rather avoid it than confront discomfort. However, coming to [...]
Hand Painted Illustration of a Young Girl

How Childhood Neglect Affects Romantic Relationships in Adulthood

Experiences of childhood neglect result in many difficulties for an adult — most profoundly when it comes to relationships. The main struggle is the inability to be vulnerable and trust that another person will meet one’s emotional needs. This plays out in intimate relationships when someone wants to get close to a person who has [...]