If you’re thinking, “I feel like I don’t connect with anyone anymore,” you’re not the only one. According to statistics, people around the world are increasingly becoming lonelier. This is especially the case, apparently, in richer countries. There are many reasons for this trend. For one, people who are privileged don’t need to depend on others that much for their survival. Secondly, the increasingly big role that social media plays in many people’s lives often negatively influences personal relationships.
To learn about more possible causes of why you may be struggling to connect with others, read on. I also mention ways in which you can remedy the problem so that you no longer have to think, “I feel like I don’t connect with anyone anymore.”
Why Do You Feel You Don’t Connect With Anyone Anymore?
There are various reasons why you may have the thought, “I feel like I don’t connect with anyone anymore.” While some causes are voluntary decisions that you may have made, others may be subconscious and the result of some type of trauma that you’ve experienced in your past. The latter, as you may guess, is more difficult to pinpoint and deal with. However, it’s far from impossible to do so. Here are some more detailed reasons why you may be isolating yourself:
1. You Have Experienced Trauma
As I mentioned above, your disconnection from others may be caused by traumatic events in the past. What exactly constitutes trauma differs from person to person. Whatever the cause, trauma can lead to feelings of mistrust, fear of rejection, and low self-esteem. If you have been hurt by someone in the past, your social isolation can function as a form of self-protection. Subconsciously, or consciously, you may feel that if you don’t get too close to another person, you won’t be hurt again.
Those who have experienced trauma, especially childhood trauma such as neglect, may also not know how to respond to other people’s emotions, since they don’t know what it feels like to be in a close relationship. Their failure to be there for their friends or partners in times of stress or trouble can lead to failed relationships. In addition, people who have experienced trauma often feel as if they’re different and can’t relate to others. They may also carry negative feelings around with them, such as shame or guilt, which can prevent them from forming meaningful relationships.
2. You’re Too Self-Centered
Although this may be a hard pill to swallow, your inability to form close relationships may also be the result of a lack of care for those around you. While there is nothing wrong with having a healthy ego and looking out for yourself, being too preoccupied with yourself can hamper your ability to tune into the feelings of others. Also, people who are overly self-centered often don’t have the capacity to show a healthy interest in the affairs of others.
It is interesting to note that people who are self-centered often suffer from low self-esteem. Although it may look like they have egos that are the size of elephants, self-centered people often have a lack of self-worth and wholeness. The causes of this mental affliction are diverse. But at the root of the problem is an underlying insecurity that is born from an inability to love and be loved.
3. You’re Sad or Anxious
Apart from more serious causes such as trauma, your inability to connect with others can also be the result of being overly stressed or anxious. If you’re constantly working long hours and experiencing lots of pressure and stress, chances are that you’re in survival mode and just trying to keep everything afloat. It is often difficult enough to try and get enough sleep and do a gym session or two a week, never mind consider your mental and emotional health.
For humans, social interaction and meaningful relationships form a big part of our mental health and happiness. Unfortunately, these are also the aspects of people’s lives that tend to suffer when they’re very busy and stressed. What’s more, a lack of connection with others can cause your stress levels to rise even more. Connecting with loved ones and good friends provides security and a sense of belonging, which decreases stress and improves one’s well-being.
4. Social Media
The term “social media” is misleading. While these platforms allow people from all over the world to connect, such connections tend to be superficial. Multiple studies have shown that social media is actually increasingly leading to social isolation. There are various reasons for this.
For many people, interaction on social media has, to a big extent, replaced interaction in the real world. Apart from the fact that they’re not actually physically hugging their friends and family members and making eye contact, people don’t really have heart-to-heart talks on social media platforms.
In fact, many social media users cultivate exaggerated positive narratives about their lives on their profiles. They post photos of their meals in expensive restaurants and filtered selfies while on summer vacation. The result is a lack of true connections with others that are based on honesty and authenticity.
In addition, when they actually do get to get out with friends, many people are so preoccupied with posting their outings on social media that they’re not really focusing on spending quality time with each other.
How Can You Overcome This?
While some people are natural loners who are just wired that way, social connection is for most people an essential need. It is very important for your mental and emotional health to connect with others. Having a connection with somebody else doesn’t just mean making small talk to a colleague while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil. It means having a strong relationship with another person, in which you get to be your authentic self and accept the other person for who they are.
If you’re constantly thinking “I feel like I don’t connect with anyone anymore,” you have either voluntarily or involuntarily placed invisible barriers around yourself, which are preventing you from forming meaningful relationships. To help you overcome these obstacles, I have listed a few steps you can take:
1. Be in the Moment
“Being in the moment” is a catch-phrase that’s indiscriminately lauded by all and sundry these days as a miracle cure for many of our modern-day ailments. However, if you’re actually able to cultivate the habit, the benefits are multiple. One of these is that it will allow you to connect with people more effectively. Being in the moment means focusing your mind on the here and now by filtering out all thoughts about the past and worries about the future.
Many refer to this state of being as living consciously. Focusing your mind on the moment you are in allows you to really listen to others and respond in a meaningful way. Instead of thinking about how you can take the best selfie to impress your followers or worrying about the job interview you’re having tomorrow, you can breathe and immerse yourself in the conversation and enjoy the time you get to share with others.
2. Be Genuinely Interested in Others
One of the best ways to truly connect with others is to genuinely be interested in their lives. If you’re an introvert or tend to experience social anxiety, taking the focus off yourself by becoming curious about the people you interact with will help a lot. Even if you have to fake it in the beginning, the positive results you’ll see when you ask people about themselves and offer genuine, well-thought-out responses may motivate you to really become interested in those around you.
If you want to foster deeper relationships with others, you also need to be dependable and trustworthy. When friends and family members realize that you’re there for them when they need you and that they can open up to you without fear of being betrayed, you’ll experience thoughts such as “I feel like I don’t connect with anyone anymore” less and less.
3. Like and Trust Yourself Enough to Show the Real You
It’s not really possible to forge strong relationships with other people if you’re not able to show your true, authentic self. Having the courage to open yourself to another person can be extremely scary, especially if you’ve been hurt or rejected before. Showing who you really are can also be challenging if you have a bad self-image, or are scared that your true feelings or thoughts may somehow be offensive.
If you find it difficult to open up to others, you may need to work on your relationship with yourself. For some, this may mean having to change aspects of their lives or themselves that are making them unhappy, guilty, or insecure. For others, it may mean practicing self-love through positive affirmations, therapy, or meditation. Negative feelings such as “I feel like I don’t connect with anyone anymore” can’t survive in a mind that is filled with self-love and love for others.
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