Did you ever feel alone when surrounded by people?
Feeling alone and being in solitude is not the same. Some may feel lonely even when surrounded by people. Feelings of loneliness reflect an inner state. For some, feeling that way shatters their capacity to reach out and be with others. Currently, 47% of generation Z complained of feeling lonely and not having a meaningful conversation for days. The millennials follow them quite closely in the statistics (Cigna, 2018).
Some individuals chose to isolate themselves, cutting off relations with the world in a defensive way. Then, solitude may be a symptom.
Others suffer of loneliness in association with avoidant behavior. These individuals steer clear of social events to avoid experiencing criticism and rejection. They withdraw from social activities unless they have a chaperone. Eventually, they crave having friends but find themselves being solo. In other words, they wish to have more friends but often believe they don’t know how to do that. Besides, they don’t seem to overcome their worries associated with socializing. I often say that socializing is like a muscle: use it or lose it. Avoidant behavior increases social anxiety.
Solitude, on the contrary, is the capacity to be alone in the presence of other people. These individuals enjoy brief moments by themselves but socialize without troubles. Enjoying being alone is a positive experience. It could even be a sign of good health. This type of person can be truly good at connecting with people. They have achieved a healthy self-boundary and respect for others that allow them to be the best listeners out there. That is, they can listen to you, instead of listening in a narcissistic way.