11 Things to Do When You Feel Like You Don't Have Anybody
It’s easy to say, “Reach out for help.”
It’s easy to say, “Confide in your support system.”
It’s easy to say, “You’re never alone.”
But what if, despite what everyone says, you still feel alone?
Unfortunately that’s the reality for many people who feel like they don’t have a support system to turn to or friends they can trust. That’s why we wanted to list some tangible things you can do when it feels like you have no one. We asked our mental health community for some suggestions to get us started. This list is in no way exhaustive, but we hope it’s a start.
Most of all, we want you to know that if you get frustrated by people telling you to reach out, we feel you. The feeling that no one understands you is an awful one, and we promise there’s someone out there who cares, and who wants to connect with you.
On the flip side, if you know someone who’s struggling in isolation, don’t wait for them to reach out to you. Here’s a list of texts people wished they received when they were isolating if you want to reach out, but don’t know what to say.
Even when we feel alone, there’s someone out there who gets it. Here are some things you can do when it feels like you have no one:
1. Find a Facebook group for people who share a common interest.
In 2010, it was reported that there are 620 million Facebook groups, so I can only imagine how many there are today. This also means there’s a Facebook group for almost any possible topic you can think of, from mental health support to “dog-spotting.” There’s even one for people who really, really like “Back to the Future” — and it averages 10 posts a day.
The downside of Facebook groups: because there are so many, most aren’t “quality controlled,” so definitely proceed with caution. If you feel comfortable, reach out to the admin of the group and see if they’re responsive and dedicated to making the group a safe environment.
Although this process might be tricky, it can be worth it when you find the right one. Mighty community member Katlyn S. shared:
When I cut off contact with my family, I felt like none of my friends could relate. They all had “normal” relationships, so although they could listen, it wasn’t the same. I searched Facebook until I found a couple groups that seemed to match what I was going through. It can be overwhelming at times because of triggers from others’ experiences, but you find a lot of support.
Community member Allison M. shared that when she didn’t feel like people in her own life understood her, she found people online were more understanding:
When you don’t have any support systems in your life… there are so many online, especially on Facebook. I find people in these online support groups are far less judgmental than people in our lives who can’t understand what we’re going through, they’re more caring, compassionate, supportive and are really there for one another.
Whether you’re looking to connect with people over a common passion, or just want somewhere to turn when you’re having a bad day, there might be a Facebook group for you. Go to that Facebook search bar, sort by “Groups” and see what you can find.
2. Turn to a pet or spend time with animals.
Owning a pet in general can be a great form of support, and there is tons of research that shows pets are good for your mental health.
Pets are also great ice-breakers, and bringing your furry pal along when you leave the house might make socializing a little easier. If you’re feeling isolated and want go somewhere with your pet, sites like BringFido can help you find dog-friendly restaurants, coffee shops, and even activities in your area. There also might be a Cat Cafe near you, where you can connect with people and cats (but, hey, probably mostly cats — nothing wrong with that!).
Whether you hang out with your own pet, take horseback riding lessons or find other ways to bring animals into your life, animals can sometimes give us comfort when no one else can — and hopefully they’ll make you feel a little less alone. As Mighty member Melissa A. advised, “Turn to a pet. They can give the unconditional love and support that humans are unable to provide.”
3. Join a book club.
If reading can get us out of our heads for a little while… a book club is the irl (in real life) equivalent. While meeting new people can be hard, it can be a little easier to navigate when you’re joined by a common purpose (i.e. gushing about/analyzing a book you’re reading).
If you don’t know where to start, you can find book clubs in your area by going to bookclubs.com. If talking about books in person if not your thing, you can also find virtual book clubs. For example, BuzzFeed just launched a book club. You can also find a list of book clubs on GoodReads here.
Although joining a book club isn’t necessarily a way to get immediate mental health support, reading and chatting about books might give you something to look forward to, connecting you with people in a unique way.
4. Find a support group.
If you do need a space safe to talk about your mental health, fear not. Support groups are an amazing way to both seek mental health support and connect with people. Typically run by a trained facilitator or mental health professional, a support group can give you a space to talk about what you’re going through. As community member Rebekah W. said:
You’ll either learn that you have more support than you thought, your loved ones have potential to become good support if they are eager to grow, or you can make relationships within the group that can become your outside-of-group support.
If you’re looking for a support group in your area, you can search by zip code here and by state here. To Write Love on Her Arms also has a great resource where you can search for both therapists and support groups.
5. Meet up with people through Meetup.
If you’re looking for a way to meet people in-person, Meetup is a site that can connect you with people in your area through events. You can explore categories that range from outdoor adventures to film. If you have an interest you’ve been dying to explore, or just want a reason to get out of the house, this might be a good option for you.
Obviously, meeting up with strangers can be hard. If you don’t like the “social” part of socializing, it might be helpful to chose a category that’s based on doing something, like writing or crafting. That way, perhaps you can still meet people, but at least your hands will be busy.
6. Start volunteering.
This option might not be for everyone — and that’s OK. Oftentimes we have to take care of ourselves before helping others. But, even when you’re feeling worthless and alone, you’d be surprised how much you have to give. Find a cause in your community you feel passionate about, and join a team of people who are passionate about giving back. Here are some ways to find volunteer opportunities:
- Go to Volunteer Match and search by location and interest.
- Apply to be a crisis counselor at the Crisis Text Line.
- Apply to be a volunteer for The Trevor Project.
7. Find a buddy through The Buddy Project.
The Buddy Project — founded by Gabby Frost, one of The Mighty’s Mental Heroes of 2017 — is a non-profit movement that pairs people with online buddies, with the goal of preventing suicide and self-harm. According to Buddy Project‘s site, Gabby was motivated when she noticed many of her friends who were struggling with their mental health reached out for help online.
As of December of this year, over 195,000 people have signed up to be paired with a buddy. Their site matches people based on age and interest, and in 2018 they’ll be launching an app to make the process even easier. While having a “buddy” can’t replace therapy or treatment, through matching people with similar interests, the Buddy Project aims to grow peer support networks online.
Sign up to get a buddy here.
8. Connect with someone on 7 Cups.
7 Cups is an online “safe” space for people who want to connect about mental health. Chat one-on-one with one of their “listeners” for free, or connect with other members on their chat boards.
Mighty community Catherine S. shared the following feedback:
When I first started actively working on building a support system, I tried out several online support sites. My favorite is 7 Cups. It’s a great site, with multiple ways (chat available, gratitude exercises, group threads, to name a few options) to find support that fits you and your needs.
Head here and explore the different ways you can connect with people.
9. If you’re on Twitter, check out supportive mental health hashtags.
If you’re on Twitter as much as I am, you know it can be an overwhelming and sometimes angry place to be. But hidden amongst the trolls and divisive hashtags are people in the mental health community having amazing conversations — you just need to know where to find them. If you want to meet new people or make your Twitter timeline a little more supportive, the following hashtags are good places to start:
10. Use The Mighty’s #CheckInWithMe hashtag.
On The Mighty’s very own platform, members of our community use the hashtag #checkinwithme to let people know how they’re doing. That page has over 140,000 followers, and people are posting their #checkinwithme thoughts almost daily. Members of our community can comment on your post to let you know how they are, or can offer support if you’re not having a good day. Use other hashtags like #anxiety, #depression and #bipolardisorder to connect to people with specific conditions, and while you’re there, check out the stories and listicles created by the people in our community.
Not to toot our own horn, but community member Ashley T. shared the following:
That’s what The Mighty is for. There’s people like you here, and even if you never interact with them, reading the articles and lists will help you realize you’re not alone.
(We love you all.)
11. Be your own best advocate.
Everyone needs people. Everyone deserves to be supported and loved. But at the same time, we have the power to build our own foundations. We can work to connect with others as we work on connecting with ourselves — we just need to right tools and support.
Here are some final words from our community about finding a support system when you feel like you have no one. If there’s something we missed that has helped you connect with people, let us know in the comments below.
“Be your own support system. The one person you know you can count on in this life is yourself and that has to be enough. The moment I realized I didn’t have a support system, I loved myself first and then I surrounded myself with people I knew would love me the way I deserve to be loved.” — Breanne B.
“Be specific when you ask for what you need. Your friends may not know what you mean, and may not feel comfortable asking what you mean when you say you need support or help. I’m much more able to be a good supporter if someone asks me to listen to them vent, drive them to therapy or come over with comfort food then if they just say, ‘Support me.’” — Jennifer K.
“It’s easy to fall into the trap of ‘no one could ever understand,’ but I have found there is always someone who understands, you just have to find them. Those who don’t understand aren’t meant to understand, and that’s OK. Keep using that courage to reach out. Never measure your worth on what people are willing/able to understand.” — Alyssa K.
Photo by Mitch Lensink on Unsplash