As an introvert, you probably know better than anyone else what it means to be alone in the crowd, i.e. to feel like a stranger to the people around you. Why do the quiet ones experience this feeling?
The festive season is among those times of the year when we are particularly prone to this specific type of loneliness.
Family dinners and friendly get-togethers don’t always involve individuals you have a close relationship with. Sometimes you have to deal with random people, nosy relatives, and toxic personalities.
Yes, this year, such gatherings were less crowded as big parties and events were canceled because of the pandemic. But the truth is that an introvert can feel alone even in a small circle – it has everything to do with the people you are surrounded with.
As an introvert, you might be feeling anxious before the social event even starts, thinking about all these awkward interactions you are about to handle. Or maybe quite the opposite – you love the holiday time and find yourself in the most cheerful mood.
But in both scenarios, when the time comes, your social battery runs out way too soon at the Christmas dinner or a New Year’s Eve party.
And here you are, feeling bored in the midst of fun, staying quiet during group conversations, and traveling into the depths of your mind instead of being present. Sounds familiar? This is what the feeling of being alone in the crowd is like.
Here are the telltale signs of this loneliness:
- Feeling tired or sleepy
- Noticeable feelings of boredom
- Lack of interest in what’s being discussed
- Feeling like you don’t fit in with the social group
- Being overly focused on your inner world and barely noticing what’s going around you
- Experiencing difficulties with being present emotionally, for example, laughing when everyone else does
Why do introverts feel alone in the crowd?
Now you might be wondering, why do you (and most introverts) feel lonely at social events? It turns out that there can be a few reasons for that.
1. Lack of common interests
Everyone has been in a situation where the other people at a social event shared some kind of common interest or passion.
So they start an animated discussion with the spark in their eyes while you… well, you have no clue about the topic, so you just stay quiet (as always). It’s a sure way to feel excluded and alone in the crowd.
But more often than that, you just don’t seem to have anything in common with them. Group conversations and jokes just don’t ignite your interest. Yes, it happens quite often in all kinds of social situations.
Having meaningless small talk is not an option for an introvert, so once again, you spend the evening without saying a word.
2. Shallow conversations
As for small talk, it’s the worst ordeal for an introvert. You never know the right thing to say and feel painfully awkward when someone asks you typical small talk questions.
But it’s even worse if you find yourself in the company of people who love shallow talk and gossip. There is no remedy for that. All you are left with is delving into your inner world while everyone else is happy interacting with each other.
You wish you could discuss something meaningful and thought-provoking and exchange opinions with others. But when you are not given this opportunity, at the end of the evening, you feel empty and can barely remember what all those conversations were about.
3. Toxic and invasive personalities
Sometimes you have to face difficult personalities in your friend or family circle. Envious, spiteful, or nosy people are everywhere, and sometimes they show up at your Christmas table, too.
Dealing with such personalities is an introvert’s worst nightmare. Answering embarrassing personal questions or replying to ambiguous remarks and backhanded compliments can run your social battery down in a matter of minutes.
Even if you are a confident introvert who knows how to handle such people, their negative vibes can still exhaust you. And so you find yourself feeling tired, empty, and lonely for no reason.
4. Too many people
Maybe this one is less relevant this year, but it doesn’t change the fact that introverts don’t like big gatherings.
I’d say that the magic of human interaction fades away when there are more than 4-5 people present. Communication gets chaotic and less meaningful. Of course, it’s just my opinion. But many introverts would agree with me.
It’s no coincidence that the quiet ones prefer one-to-one conversations and small friendly get-togethers to larger social events. With fewer people around, it’s easier to maintain the focus and quality of communication.
To sum up, remember that handling people and conversations you don’t like is inevitable. We all wish we could talk about meaningful things or be surrounded by interesting personalities, but it’s unachievable on all social occasions.
If you are feeling lonely and exhausted at and after a social event, make sure to have a good portion of alone time and relaxation to restore your energy.
Have you experienced the feeling of being alone in the crowd? Please share your thoughts with us.
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