Introverts are perfectly fine spending time on their own. Moreover, alone time is a vital need for our mental wellbeing. But did you know that introverts can feel lonely too?
You may be already aware of that. Of course, I could say that we introverts are so self-sufficient that we never feel lonely. But it would be a lie.
After all, introverts are humans, aren’t we? And all humans can feel alone and isolated from time to time. It’s the loneliness-causing triggers that can differ among introverts and extroverts.
In general, psychologists agree that loneliness in both extroverts and introverts is not restricted to being physically alone. While this feeling is subjective, it usually stems from a lack of understanding and a perceived lack of quality or quantity of social connections.
However, we all know that when it comes to social life, quality plays a much more significant role for introverts than quantity. It means that our level of loneliness depends on the depth of communication and not on the number of connections.
So what makes an introvert feel lonely?
1. Shallow talk
There is nothing more tiresome, boring, and discouraging for an introvert than the necessity to have shallow chitchat. Having to discuss pointless things or desperately looking for something nice to say can instantly make your social battery run dry.
And here you are, feeling lonely in the midst of a conversation! An extrovert would struggle to understand how something like this could be even possible because they have a natural ease in finding common ground with other people. This makes them enjoy different types of conversations, including chitchat.
2. The feeling of being excluded
I’m sure you’ve been in a situation where everyone but you had something in common, for example, a shared interest or hobby. So you found yourself playing the role of a silent observer in a lively discussion – without having any clue about the topic or opportunity to participate in it.
A situation like this feels as if you are surrounded by people who speak a foreign language you don’t understand. Only that the language is the connection between those people, and you are left out of it.
This uncomfortable feeling of being excluded is among the most frequent reasons for introverts’ loneliness.
Moreover, it seems that the quiet ones are prone to the so-called FOMO – the fear of missing out – just like everyone else. You see, many of us like to be invited to social events even when we have to intention to attend them! Now, this is a really controversial trait of this personality type, isn’t it?
3. Having no people to confide in
As we have said numerous times, introverts appreciate the depth of communication in the first place. This also means that it is particularly important for us to feel free to share our personal experiences and problems with our friends.
When we have no people around us we could confide in, we may end up feeling lonely. For extroverts, it is different – they don’t need to discuss personal topics with someone to consider them a friend. Having common interests and shared experiences is enough for them.
4. Being surrounded by people who don’t share your views on life
Another source of loneliness for introverts is when those around us have a different set of values and perspectives on life.
We may seem quiet and uninterested in talking at large social gatherings, but we love speaking our mind when we are in the company of our friends or family members. When they don’t share our values and views, this can be difficult.
After all, most introverts tend to avoid conflict, so the last thing we want is to start a heated argument. Being surrounded by people with totally different perceptions can make you feel alone and misunderstood.
Loneliness is a truly universal feeling
Loneliness is a curious thing – it’s subjective and yet, so universal. It is common in people of all nations, ages, and personality types.
And introverts are no exception. The fact that we enjoy staying on our own doesn’t mean that we are not prone to loneliness. We just experience it under different circumstances.
Whereas most people tend to feel lonely when they are bored and alone, introverts experience this painful feeling while being in the wrong company.
What makes you feel lonely as an introvert? Share your experiences with us.
P.S. If you are an introvert who feels lonely and alien to modern society, check out my new book The Power of Misfits: How to Find Your Place in a World You Don’t Fit In, which is available on Amazon.
Copyright © 2012-2024 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.