Introvert's World

Alone in the Crowd: Why Do Introverts Feel Lonely at Parties & Gatherings?

Published by
Anna LeMind, B.A.

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.

It’s quite similar to the so-called introvert hangover in terms of emotional and mental exhaustion, but it also involves a distinct feeling of being alienated from those around you.

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.

View Comments

  • I’d like to add too much interruption in conversation, or talking over one another, as an introvert I find this exhausting & frustrating. My own family’s guilty of this & to preserve my social battery I go quiet, which causes my younger brother to try & draw me out in his awkward, irritating manner. Alternatively I start daydreaming & have been accused of being depressed! Sometimes you just can’t win!

  • For me the small group setting have always suited me fine but at time's I can go into extrovert mood as I've got older I have tried hard to control my inner child as it can get very excitable at time's and people have laughed or given me that look. I always surprised how many people are constantly thinking about what u are saying and analysing what you say when your having a conversation with them I've learned to empty my mind and make no ego based thoughts about them

  • Hahaha! Yesss! When I get fed up and bored a very itchy silliness arises if I can't leave the place and have to wait while all I yearn for is my bed. I then need to soar high being silly and if luck is on my side and I meet with someone who will share, trespassing of limits will be an issue.

  • I feel as if you were speaking my language. Glad to see others feel this way too. Never truly alone. Thank you for sharing your opinion. Blessings to you and all who read this post.

  • I can identify with this so much, as I experience it in almost every social situation I'm in. What gets me is how oblivious to the notion of being alone in a crowd extroverts are. I once used a phrase almost identical to this in a school essay, describing someone as 'alone in a group' and I got pulled up by my English teacher, who saw it as a tautology. "You can't be alone in a group" is what she wrote, "it's either one or the other" Lol! No wonder I had such a hard time at school.

Published by
Anna LeMind, B.A.