You have tons of friends, but you still feel lonely. You feel like you don’t belong, or that they don’t really understand you. Or maybe they aren’t there for you in the way you’d like.
So how can you stop feeling lonely around friends? We have to think about why it happens in the first place, and these reasons often boil down to one missing piece: authenticity.
Practicing authenticity may feel scary, but it’s one of the biggest components in feeling seen, heard, loved, and supported. Who doesn’t want that?
Not to get cheesy, but authenticity is like your anti-loneliness muscle. And you can practice using it to stop feeling lonely around friends.
Where You Can Practice Authenticity
You have friends, but you still feel lonely. Why?
Here are some situations where you might feel lonely with your friends, and how to find relief by practicing authenticity:
Connecting vs Clicking
You may be mistaking an initial click with genuine connection. It’s easy to find one or two things in common with a lot of people, but harder to find deeper bonds. And when those deeper bonds are forced, the friendship can feel painfully lonely.
This doesn’t mean that these people aren’t your friends. But these friendships can be hard to maintain. Friendships based on only an initial ‘click’ may not give you the emotional closeness you crave, either.
Don’t feel guilty about letting these relationships fade over time. By living authentically and focusing on your interests, you will naturally branch out and connect with people you have more in common with.
You can still love and see your less compatible friends, but feeling tethered to them may keep you from finding more meaningful connections.
Quantity over Quality
As you start to feel lonely in your social circle, you may think that you just don’t have enough friends. This isn’t a crazy thought; it is important to build a support system around you that can help you when you’re down. Each friend plays a unique role in the social web that supports you.
The issue is when you seek quantity over quality. Friends who don’t understand you won’t be able to support you, and this can make you feel extra lonely.
Instead of seeking more friendships when you feel unfulfilled, try opening up more in the ones you have. Let out what’s on your mind, and you’ll see your friends may become more authentic as well.
All of a sudden, everything feels heartfelt, natural, and safe – you’ve each shared something you might not with others, and you feel accepted for your authentic self.
Social Media Illusions
Friendships look totally different on social media than in real life. You don’t see any vulnerable moments or deep talks; all that’s worth posting is the shiny, pretty stuff.
So it becomes pretty easy to believe that this is what friendship looks like. And that belief makes your current friendships feel lacking (even if they’re not).
Think about what you actually enjoy in a friendship, and you may find yourself pretty grateful that your friends aren’t like the ones on social media.
Overcoming these barriers isn’t easy. Start being more authentic with someone you trust, or online in an anonymous chat room, where there’s no judgement. The key is finding a safe space, and showing yourself that being vulnerable can help you build more satisfying connections.
Believe that there is a group for you out there, that understands your struggles.
Continue to put yourself out there, authentically, to avoid making false connections.
Keep an open mind with your current friends, and work on those relationships first.
And when you crave emotional connection on-the-spot, consider chatting with peers in a Supportiv chat. You can practice breaking down walls and being vulnerable with others, too!