I feel so lonely

For some people, being alone is no big deal and they actually like it. For others it can be overwhelming, especially as we live in a world where everyone seems to be in touch 24/7.

Humans are social creatures; our survival depends on having strong connections, so that’s why feeling lonely or alienated can be so scary. If you can just talk to someone, you will discover that what you’re feeling isn’t stupid or silly, and that there is a lot you can do right now to feel more connected.

Runaway thoughts

If you don’t hear from your friends it might seem that you’ve been left out deliberately. But this is just your mind playing tricks on you. If somebody doesn’t contact you, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you or that you are not important. Those are just thoughts that make you feel even worse. There could be any number of reasons that you don’t hear from people – they might even be waiting for you to contact them!

If you’ve just moved to a new school or started a new job, remember that it takes time to make new connections and that to have good friends you need to be a good friend.

What can you do?

• Speak to a counsellor

Just talking to someone who understands how you’re feeling will help build up your confidence again. Call or chat online with one of the qualified youth counsellors at eheadspace (1800 650 890) or Kids Helpline (1800 551 800)

• Broaden your connections

Join a gym, a sporting club, or take classes in something. Or look online for social groups that interest you.

• Don’t be hard on yourself

When you do go out, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If it’s crowded and you feel uncomfortable, just talk to one or two people, and go home when you are ready.

• Be a good listener

Ask people where they live, what they do, etc. Most people love talking about themselves, so it takes the pressure off you. And when you relax and really listen to their answers, it’s amazing how connected you feel.