An Acknowledgement That Loneliness, Social Anxiety, And Other Social Problems Can Be Really Hard

The other articles on this site give lots of practical advice and encouragement for dealing with social issues like loneliness, anxiety, insecurities, low self-esteem, lack of knowledge about how to make conversation, and so on. Obviously if you're struggling socially you mainly need hands-on strategies, and the odd hopeful words to keep you going.

However, at other times what you really could use is the simple acknowledgement that what you're going through can sometimes feel really painful, frustrating, and challenging. You just want to feel heard and understood, like someone else out there gets what it's like. In those moments the last thing you want is more advice or a little rah-rah speech. That may be helpful when you're in another headspace, but if you'd just like your experiences validated, being given strategies and pep talks can make you feel like your feelings are being brushed off.

You may be reading this and thinking, "I already know my social struggles are difficult. Isn't it obvious that being shy and lonely can be upsetting? If anything I'm too in touch with how tough things feel." I realize some people think this way, and don't need this article's message. But I know others can be too hard on themselves and have the mentality of, "Being shy and lonely aren't that bad as far as problems go. So I feel awkward around groups sometimes. So I have never have plans on the weekend, and get to stay in and watch movies instead. Boo hoo. Lots of people have it way worse. I just need to suck it up and get over myself." It can take a weight off their shoulders to hear, "No, things are rough. You're not as satisfied as you could be. You know it deep down. You don't need to deny it to yourself."

This article is me doing my best to acknowledge how tough it can feel when your social life or confidence isn't where you want it. Reading the words may not be as effective as hearing them from someone in person, but I think it's still worthwhile to post this.

Here are some more specific acknowledgements of how it can be difficult to grapple with various social issues. I won't cover every way someone can suffer socially, but I think I've included a good sample. Some of them may not seem that terrible on their own, but with repetition over years or decades they can really wear you down.

Challenges in your social life

It can be really hard when...

Shyness and anxiety

It can be really hard when...

Insecurities / lack of confidence

It can be really hard when...

Conversation skills

It can be really hard when...

Not fitting in

It can be really hard when...

Being on the autism spectrum

It can be really hard when...


Like I said, the lists above are just a sampling of how tough it can be to struggle socially. I could go on and on. I wanted this article to acknowledge these issues are difficult to go through, you're not alone in facing them, and if they make you feel sad or frustrated you shouldn't dismiss your emotions or tell yourself you don't have it so bad. At the same time, I don't want to imply they're insurmountable obstacles, and if you're dealing with them you should sink into discouragement and hopelessness. Things can get better. There are lots of practical strategies to work on these problems on the rest of this site.