Covid-19 pandemic has set a new social experience for most people. Feeling alone, isolated, or invisible are all normal for this time in our lives. Remember, there was no dress rehearsal for Covid-19. It’s an abnormal situation in our current lives.
Many people on their own are feeling alone but are uncomfortable reaching out to others, or they choose instead to isolate even more and just “go inside” themselves.
And some people choose to override possible contamination from Covid-19 and seek company anyway. Some create “safe” contact, and others may choose to override the recommendations for social distancing with friends.
Still, others may live with a mate, family, or roommate which can have its own challenges, to say the least. Maybe they wish they did live on their own right now.
Why Feeling Alone Right Now With Covid-19 is Normal
Even if you have a mate or roommate right now, it’s still possible to feel isolated and alone. If you are living by yourself, it adds a whole other layer of deciding what to do about your isolation.
Do you see your family and/or friends? Have you created “rules” you go by that make you feel safer and more comfortable in avoiding Covid-19? Do you trust your friends and family to keep you safe by social distancing?
You probably know by now that people all over have their own beliefs and feelings about the possible effects of Covid-19. You might be the one who feels most comfortable in your own space and not taking chances right now being around others.
Or perhaps you’re the one who wants to be with others to avoid isolation but wants to practice “safe” social distancing. Maybe you believe it’s not necessary to isolate, and that the media has “exaggerated” the danger of Covid-19. But your friends don’t want to take the chance of getting sick, so they won’t get together right now.
There is no black or white way to decide this scenario. It’s a personal choice. At least at this point in Covid-19. It’s also possible that cities or states will begin to enforce rules about social distancing, etc. that may affect some of your options.
Why it’s Important to Not Isolate
Isolation can cause depression in certain people. Most people need some kind of ongoing contact in their world. When we feel isolated, we can easily feel that something is wrong with us, or that we’re “broken”.
It gets easier to become accustomed to isolation as time goes by. This is not healthy. People in general need to be around others. Social contact is normal, even when it may be occasional for some people.
If you notice you are avoiding contact of any kind with others, think about the reason for this, and if it is a sudden change. Is feeling alone your “norm”? Or is this different from your usual way of dealing with people? If this is the case for you, is there anyone you feel emotionally safer with that you can call to reach out to?
If you get rejected, it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. It could be that the friend is going through their own struggles and doesn’t have the emotional energy to be with others. Check it out before you assume the worst.
If your “friend circle” is small or incapacitate or just doesn’t exist, you can volunteer for some service where you can be around some others. Just do it in a safe manner if it is for right now.
Are You One Who Normally Waits for Friends and/or Family to Reach Out to You?
This is a more challenging situation for those who have not often had to be the one to reach out to family or friends because someone else did that for them. It’s normal for some people to worry that they may be rejected. Remember, this is an unusual time for everyone, and their ways of dealing with this may differ from yours.
With unusual situations such as Covid-19, some people shut down emotionally and don’t connect with others. This doesn’t mean they don’t care about you. It may mean that they’ve gone inside themselves to deal with their own feelings right now. If they are truly your friend, maybe they need you to reach out to them.
Or perhaps they will simply decline your invite. Either way, this doesn’t mean they don’t value you. People find their own ways of coping, and this may look different to you than what you are doing for yourself.
What Stops You From Reaching Out to Others?
Sometimes people don’t reach out to others because they are afraid they will be rejected. For some people, especially those who are more introverted, fear of being rejected is common. Remember, this most likely doesn’t define your relationship, and it might just be them going inside themselves.
In addition, others may not reach out to friends or family because they feel they can’t take on someone else’s “stuff” right now. Also normal. But if they are good friends, it’s a good thing to reach out, regardless of the outcome.
And still, other people may feel they would be bothering someone if they reached out to them. Everyone is going to deal with this unusual situation in their own way.
Pick Solutions for Breaking Your Isolation That Feel Better for You
- Make peace with yourself that if your friends or family member declines your invite, it may be for reasons that you don’t know, and they are not expressing. Some people go inside when they are struggling with challenging situations, and it likely may have nothing to do with you.
- Invite some friends or family to play a game online with you. There are more game options coming out in the market right now.
- You may want to reach out to others to see how they’re doing, as a “check-in”. An invite to get together might come from you or your friend in that call or texting.
- Arrange a call with your “gang” where you gather your friends for a joint call. That way, there is a mix of energy that comes out, and no one is feeling the burden to “keep the energy going” on their own.
When You Are Feeling Alone Without Unusual Events Going On
For some people, this health crisis doesn’t change their “normal” behaviors. Therefore, some people may choose to be on their own in general. They are used to it and this time of Covid-19 may make no difference to them in terms of feeling alone or isolated.
Sometimes we “choose” to isolate for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few of them:
- We are uncomfortable in risking someone declining our invite so we don’t take the risk to reach out.
- We want to be alone, and this is what feels more natural for us.
- We’ve been deeply hurt in the past and don’t ever want to risk this hurt again.
- We don’t feel comfortable in making plans so we avoid feeling responsible for this by not reaching out. We wait for others to reach out to us.
- Talk to a psychotherapist for ideas of coping in healthy ways during unusual events like now.
Regardless of why, isolation is most often unhealthy for people. And their isolation usually comes from fear or past hurts. It’s important to have someone around you that you trust and feel good around. In general, we are not meant as people to be isolated for the long term.
If you are feeling alone, isolated, or invisible, do something about it. Take some kind of action. Remember, just because someone is not reaching out to you, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t want to hear from you. It may have more to do with them feeling low. This is not a “normal” time for anyone right now. Be good to yourself and reach out to someone.
What’s the worst that could happen? If you get rejected then try someone else. Remember, everyone manages difficult situations in their own way. It may have nothing to do with you if they say “decline”.