8 things you don’t realize you’re doing because you’re lonely

Nato Lagidze by Nato Lagidze | February 16, 2024, 12:07 pm

Loneliness can make us do things we don’t even realize.

Often, we’re so caught up in our own world that we fail to see the patterns and habits that stem from our isolation.

Whether it’s constantly checking your phone or spending too much time on social media, there are subtle signs that you might be battling loneliness.

In this article, I’m going to unveil 8 things you might be doing because you’re lonely. Trust me, some of these may surprise you.

1) Overindulging in social media

Social media can be a blessing and a curse.

We often think of it as a way to connect with others, but it can also amplify feelings of isolation and loneliness.

When you’re lonely, you might find yourself scrolling through Facebook or Instagram more than usual.

You might be looking for a connection, for someone who understands, or simply trying to fill the silence.

But be careful – studies have shown that excessive social media use can actually make us feel more lonely and isolated.

For example, according to a 2023 study, the more time people spend on social media, the higher the levels of perceived social isolation.

This is likely because, while social media presents an idealized version of others’ lives, it lacks the depth and authenticity of real-life interactions.

In fact, it often serves to remind us of the social connections we feel we’re missing out on.

But here’s the truth:

Social media should be a tool for connection, not a replacement for it.

2) Talking to yourself more often

This one may sound a bit odd, but this is something I’ve noticed in myself.

When I’m feeling lonely, I tend to talk to myself more.

I’m not saying that I’m having full-blown conversations with myself, of course.

But I do make comments to myself about what I’m doing or how I’m feeling.

I remember one day when I was having a particularly tough bout of loneliness, I found myself narrating my actions as I cooked dinner.

“Okay, now we’re going to chop these onions…” and “I think a pinch of salt should do…”

Weird? Maybe.

But it was my coping mechanism, a way to fill the silence.

For some reason, I do think I’m not the only person who does this.

And if you also find yourself talking aloud more than usual when you’re alone, it could be your brain’s way of trying to combat feelings of loneliness.

3) Binge-watching TV shows

Have you ever found yourself watching episode after episode of a TV show, only to wonder where the hours went?

The thing is that when we’re lonely, immersing ourselves in the fictional worlds of TV shows can feel like an escape.

It’s a way to experience a sense of connection or adventure vicariously through the characters.

For example, getting lost in the dramatic lives of characters in a show like “Stranger Things” or laughing along with the cast of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” can temporarily fill the void of social interaction.

But ask yourself:

Are you watching because you’re genuinely enjoying the show, or are you trying to distract yourself from feelings of loneliness?

Binge-watching can become a habit where we substitute real connections with virtual ones, often without realizing it.

While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite series, it’s important to balance screen time with activities that foster real-life connections.

4) Overworking yourself

When we’re lonely, we often try to distract ourselves from our emotions.

And one common way of doing this is by throwing ourselves into our work.

You might find yourself working longer hours, taking on extra projects, or constantly checking your work email, even during your time off.

It’s as if being busy can somehow make us forget that we’re feeling lonely.

Sounds familiar?

If so, you should remember one thing:

Overworking can lead to burnout, which is detrimental to our physical and mental health.

It’s important to find a balance and not use work as a means to escape from your feelings.

5) Neglecting self-care

How many times have you skipped a meal, forgotten to exercise, or neglected your hobbies because you just didn’t feel like it?

Admit it. Because these might be signs that loneliness is impacting your motivation to take care of yourself.

Let’s face it: when we’re lonely, it’s easy to fall into a cycle where self-care seems less important or too much effort.

Neglecting self-care often starts subtly.

Maybe it’s going to bed late regularly, eating more convenience food than usual, or letting your exercise routine slip.

Sometimes it can feel like we’re taking care of ourselves — letting ourselves do what we feel like doing, right?

Unfortunately, these changes can slowly compound and lead to a decline in both physical and mental well-being as a result.

That’s why we need to admit that our lack of self-care is a signal of deeper issues, like loneliness.

Trust me, even simple acts of self-care, like preparing a healthy meal, taking a walk, or indulging in a hobby, can improve your mood and overall well-being.

6) Feeling invisible

Loneliness can sometimes make you feel like you’re invisible like you could disappear and no one would notice.

It’s a heartbreaking feeling, walking around with the sense that you’re not seen or heard.

It’s like you’re a ghost in your own life, drifting through the days without making an impact.

What’s worse, this feeling of invisibility can lead to a sense of hopelessness.

And guess what?

It will make it even harder to reach out and form connections.

That’s why I want you to realize that even if it feels like it sometimes, you’re not invisible.

You matter and your presence makes a difference.

7) Avoiding social situations

Here’s something you might not expect.

When I’m feeling lonely, I find myself avoiding social situations.

It seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

You’d think that someone who’s lonely would jump at the chance to be around people.

But the truth is, when you’re feeling isolated and disconnected, social situations can feel overwhelming.

You feel like you don’t belong, like you’re on the outside looking in.

I remember skipping a friend’s party once because I was feeling particularly lonely.

The thought of being surrounded by happy, connected people felt unbearable.

At first, it made me feel confused but over time, I realized one thing:

It’s not about disliking people or being antisocial — it’s about feeling disconnected and out of place.

8) Shopping more than usual

I bet this one resonates with everyone who has ever felt a pang of loneliness.

It’s not uncommon to find solace in the aisles of a store or the endless scroll of online shopping sites when we feel isolated, right?

Shopping can indeed become a way to fill the void, offering a temporary escape from the feelings of solitude.

Here’s how this habit often plays out:

  • Impulse buys: Snatching up items you don’t really need.
  • Online browsing: Spending hours adding items to digital shopping carts.
  • Seeking deals: Constantly hunting for sales, even if you don’t need anything.

But you know what?

You’re just using “retail therapy” sessions as a coping mechanism for loneliness.

Of course, the thrill of a new purchase might briefly distract from feelings of isolation. But believe me, it’s not a long-term solution.

The satisfaction from shopping is fleeting, and the habit can spiral into a cycle of seeking temporary fixes for a lasting emotional concern.

A final thought: Embracing loneliness

All in all, loneliness can be uncomfortable, but it can also be a catalyst for self-growth and self-discovery.

Instead of seeing loneliness as a negative state to be avoided at all costs, perhaps we can learn to sit with it, to understand it, and ultimately, to grow from it.

The real journey begins with finding healthier ways to cope and connect.

This could mean reaching out to friends and family, starting new hobbies that involve social interactions, or seeking support from mental health professionals.

It’s okay to feel lonely. It’s okay to seek help. And most importantly, it’s okay to reach out and connect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *