Feeling Alone in Groups

Group of people around dog

Sometimes I feel loneliest in groups.

One of the loneliest feelings in the world is being surrounded by people but not feeling part of the group. I have struggled with this for years. Even places with friendly and kind people can make you feel miserable if you do not belong. The theater, youth group, retreats, parties, my own home – I can feel miserable just about anywhere.

There are many reasons for this loneliness. Some might say that it is a normal part of the human experience. We all get caught up inside our heads and become nervous that everyone is judging us. Since we cannot read minds and know what people think about us, we have to guess continually how they are perceiving us. This can lead to us assuming others are trying to exclude us when they are simply focusing on something else.

Aspergers and mental illness complicate situations further. People on the autistic spectrum usually struggle with social interactions. One of the key reasons is that they cannot easily pick up on what people are thinking. Thus, a person who looks solemn might be perceived as angry while another person might take sarcastic comments literally. With the need to constantly analyze people, I feel more like an observer than part of the group. Plus, others usually treat me like a naive but sweet child. This treatment puts in a different category than their friends. Once again, this pushes me (and others in similar situations) into isolation.

Depression and many other mental disorders distort the way someone views themselves. You judge yourself and think others do so as well. When I get into this place, I begin to hate myself and believe others feel the same. The more that this feeling grows, the more lonely I feel. This cycle continues until I finally leave the social situation, believing that everyone wants me to leave or at least would not notice if I disappeared.

Sometimes people are cruel and want to exclude you. Other times, they simply do not realize that they are ignoring you. Another reason you might feel alone in a group is because of your own worries, disorders, and distorted perceptions. That does not make it any easier, but if you know why you feel so miserable, you can try to fix the problem. I certainly still deal with these feelings. However, they are becoming a bit less agonizing as I find confidence and hang out with caring groups of people.


24 thoughts on “Feeling Alone in Groups

  1. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said I am most alone with family in the house. My daughter stays in her room and my husband who has Asperger’s only comes around me when he needs to talk at someone – he never talks *with* me. My poodle died on March 26th, 2014 and even now seems like yesterday. I am really alone.

    • That sounds very difficult. I am so very sorry! Hopefully you will able to find some friendship and love still from your family and other places too.

      • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

        It is difficult so I pour myself into volunteering and WordPress. I have a few friends on the various blogs but I live about four states away from any family. I am working on getting out of the house and on my own. I tell my husband I need other human beings – even speaking to clerks or waiters is a huge help.

  2. words4jp says:

    I have always felt this way. And I still do. It seems even a group with people I know and who know me and we have common interests, I feel isolated.

  3. Initiator ;-) says:

    Some time we lonely in crowed… 😦

  4. ywwp says:

    Alone can be a happy state but lonely is unhappy state – though both have the same environment around. I wish you to be happy. regards

  5. I can relate to this. I have suffered with depression since I was fifteen. Emma.

  6. Nick S says:

    Interesting post. I guess I can relate, because I experienced that feeling a lot myself when I was younger. But it can be overcome! It took me (is still taking me?) a lot of hard and uncomfortable work learning how to socialise more effectively with people. I’m introverted and socialising can be exhausting, so I am quite careful who I choose to spend that energy on. I find I have to keep my ‘performance hat’ on constantly, because when I stop I go quiet and drift away.

    (As an aside, you’d think that someone blessed with intellectual gifts would be able to teach themselves this stuff easily. There’s intelligence and there’s intelligence, it seems)

    Having never experienced ‘love’ I can only go by the experiences of philosophers who have come before us – they reckon that this loneliness is part of the ‘human condition’ that affects everybody, and that the only cure is to find the somebody that makes you ‘whole’, so to speak. Bugger.

  7. Siobhan says:

    I was lucky to have friends who used to seek me out when I withdrew in a crowd, but still there are some groups I do feel alone in. I’ve come to realise that half of it may be that they’re uninterested in me, but half is that I’m not interested enough in them to make an effort. Introverts have to choose who we want to spend our energy on.

  8. mary says:

    I heard somewhere that loneliness is a call to love. Not that lonely people are selfish or anything, just in that moment (when we feel alone) our whole being is pushed to put the effort in to solve the problem (meet people in the eye and smile, talk to the other people “on the fringes,” pray, whatever it takes to cover that lonely hole in us).

  9. […] this week, I wrote about how I feel alone in a group of people. Some of the reasons for this include mental illness, Aspergers, normal fears, and people being […]

  10. The Real Cie says:

    Reblogged this on The Netherworld and commented:
    This is how I feel in the real world, and also how I feel in the blogging world. People have their little groups, and they may be polite to me if I comment, but I remain an outsider. I have always felt that H.P. Lovecraft’s story, The Outsider, could have been written about me. When I try to join the party, people act as if I am some sort of an abomination and run screaming away. Also, when people find out I’m mentally ill, they tend to tread me as if I’m stupid. A lot of the time I act like I don’t give a fuck, but sometimes it hurts realizing that I am the abomination in the mirror.

  11. mihrank says:

    this is great and very much appreciative when you gather with your family.

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