What To Do When You Feel Lonely

Loneliness is an ever-increasing problem, especially among young people.

In October 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, 61% of people aged 18 to 25 reported high levels of loneliness, with up to 36% of the entire population feeling the same.

It’s so easy to feel lonely nowadays. We’ve been stuck inside and hooked to screens and digital entertainment. Two years of little to no in-person interactions has led to poorer relationships and worse mental health.

Many people who play video games see them as a solution for their loneliness. 

Maybe you’re just the same; you escape from feeling lonely by playing video games, but eventually, you find that’s not helping. On the contrary, it can make you feel even more lonely as a result.

Suddenly, you realize one thing: “I feel lonely, but I don’t know what to do about it.” If this is what you’re feeling at the moment, then we have some possible solutions for you to try in this article.

Feeling Lonely and Video Games – A Never-Ending Loophole?

Playing video games can become your coping mechanism if you’re feeling lonely. 

It provides you with a safe space to be yourself without being scrutinized by people around you. Plus, you might have friends online that make you feel like you’re in good company.

These positive social experiences can lead you to play video games more and more, especially if you struggle with friendships in the physical world. However, spending more time online can lead you to neglect other parts of your life in the process. Eventually, it can even lead to video game addiction, which means gaming severely impacts various areas of your life.

One such example is Anthony from Philadelphia, a Game Quitters member who isolated himself more and more from friends and family as a kid with gaming, only to feel the consequences later in his life.

Bullied as a kid, he started to isolate himself, which led to severe consequences on his well-being.

“As I became a teenager, I started to isolate myself more and more from my peers and family. Video games became the only thing I enjoyed doing. Things like reading, family vacations, and spending time with friends were boring. I could only think about the next video game I wanted to play. I would stay up for hours gaming and then be extremely tired the next day.

Eventually, this all caught up to me. I was lonely and depressed. I was exhausted from having no goals or vision for my life. I felt I wasted my life in a virtual world while the real world was out there waiting for me. So when I started to experience suicidal feelings, I knew I needed help.”

Does this sound familiar to you? Is this something you can relate to if you’re feeling lonely? For example, are you turning to video games because of loneliness? Do you want to stop feeling this way? Then we have some great solutions you can try.

Reasons Why You Might Feel Lonely

First, you’ll need to analyze why you feel like this. There can be underlying reasons that make you feel lonely, so let’s take a look at each one. Knowing why you feel lonely will help you understand why you feel this way and look for solutions.

Past Trauma

By far, the most common reason why you’re feeling lonely is past trauma.

Childhood trauma, in particular, is the most common type of trauma that can cause you to feel lonely. This type of trauma is also called severe adverse childhood experience (ACE) and might come in different shapes and sizes.

For example, you might have experienced bullying from peers, family members, or siblings in your childhood. 

Other types of past trauma we see commonly include abandonment, sexual and physical harassment, emotional harassment, witnessing abuse, being raised by a mentally ill parent, and other types of abuse. Trauma can also occur while playing video games through the toxicity, hate, and harassment you can experience from other players.

If you have this type of trauma, the best approach is to talk to a therapist.

Lack of Vulnerability

You might have difficulty accepting other people’s opinions about you because you have a hypothetical “thick shield” around you that protects you from any feedback from the environment.

This can also occur because of past trauma; as we discussed before, you become defensive and don’t do things that will help you feel less lonely as you fear the consequences.

You might have trouble forming deeper relationships because of this, leading you to feel lonely.

It’s easier said than done, but being more open and vulnerable to connection while engaging in deeper conversations will be the key to overcoming your loneliness. We have found the work and books of Brené Brown (affiliate link) to be particularly helpful to improve in this area.

False Narrative About Yourself and Others

If you were bullied or experienced adverse events in your childhood, you might start to believe you’re not good enough or develop a fear of rejection, creating a false image of yourself and the world around you.

Perfectionism

If you expect every interaction, every relationship to be perfect in your life, then you’re going to end up disappointed, eventually.

You might be so afraid of having a negative interaction that you avoid them in the first place.

You don’t show your true character to other people, and that might well be the reason why you don’t have genuine connections in your life.

Gaming or Tech Addiction

Last but not least, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – tech and gaming addiction.

Although some studies show video games have positive effects and might help people with loneliness, it is often only when playing prosocial games in moderation.

On the other hand, excessive gaming may lead to severe negative effects, including making you feel more lonely.

Your gaming addiction might prevent you from going out and speaking to other people, trying new hobbies, and experiencing the beauty of the natural world.

If that’s the case for you, then you’ll need to get gaming under control.

What To Do When Feeling Lonely

Now that you know potential reasons for feeling lonely, here are some things you can do to stop feeling so lonely.

Reach Out to People Around You

The first and most important thing you need to do is let your feelings be known to someone – whether it’s your friend, family member, or another person you trust.

If you don’t have anyone to talk to, I suggest you speak to a therapist who understands and guides you.

Just letting other people know about your feelings can help you get the weight off your shoulders. 

Call That Old Friend

If you haven’t been socially active in a while and you would like to try it out again, then you might want to connect to your old friends.

Just a quick chat might help you feel better, and who knows, you might even arrange some things to do with that old friend of yours.

Even if you send a text message or a chat – it’s better to keep in touch rather than lose all of your contacts. It can also be helpful to find community groups in your local area, such as Meetups.

Get Active

It might seem like such a stereotypical piece of advice, but it truly works. You might have read elsewhere to “get moving or join a gym,” but getting some fresh air into your head can do you a world of good.

Whether it’s a short walk, a run, or a workout at your local gym, you’ll be able to get much-needed oxygen, and who knows, you might even meet someone new.

A good thing to try is group workouts or sports. 

You will find many different activities to meet other people and potentially meet new friends.

 Try a New Social Hobby

If you play video games too much because you feel lonely and want to change this, an important step will be replacing some of your gaming time with new hobbies where you get to socialize.

There are tons of different ideas you can give a go; if you don’t know where to start, try our hobby tool. It will provide you with some excellent options for discovering new hobbies and activities.

Get Help

Last but not least, we must not neglect the importance of getting help when you need it.

You might feel a bit uncomfortable with the idea of asking someone for help, but sometimes, that’s the best and quickest way towards overcoming your loneliness.

At Game Quitters, we have developed a science-based program called Respawn that will help you, particularly if you’re addicted to video games and feel lonely. With it, you’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone.

For help with anxiety, depression, severe levels of loneliness, or other mental health challenges, we strongly suggest you consider therapy. We have a long list of verified therapists and experts worldwide to help you out. You can also read about the common fears people have for starting therapy.

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