As of a few days ago, I’m officially a high school graduate, which now makes me qualified to give advice on how to survive the crowded hallways and everything else that comes with what’s supposed to be the best years of our life. One of the more difficult parts of high school can be the sheer loneliness in the crowd. Everyone else seems to fit in just fine, and there you are. There are periods of loneliness at many points in our lives, so it is vital to learn to manage loneliness and thrive in solitude. In this article, I’ll offer 5 tips to manage loneliness in high school.
This sounds cliche, but hobbies can work wonders for your self-esteem. Even if you’re sitting alone at lunch every day, you can at least read away the ache. In the process, maybe you’ll find your own joy and surprising silver linings. It’s a distraction, but it’s no less valid of a coping mechanism. Of course, confronting your feelings matters, but everyone’s got to start somewhere. There’s always a place for self-discovery, and validating your own worth through exploration is a great way to broaden your horizons.
2. Ask Questions
It’s safest to assume that people generally have good intentions, so when you’re lonely, don’t isolate yourself. Personally, during my period of loneliness, I did, and let me tell you from experience, isolating yourself just hurts how you perceive yourself and hinders forming new connections. Depending on your degree of comfort with social situations, go and talk to your acquaintances or complete strangers. You never know who could be at least a good companion. I’m not saying you need to step right into finding a new best friend, but reaching out never hurts. On the flip side, there’s nothing with being alone either. I love my daydreaming time as much as anyone, but connection is a part of human. Don’t feel bad about the isolation, but when you’re ready, try and work your way out of it.
3. Talk to People You Trust
Even in periods of loneliness, we have people we trust unconditionally. Talk to them about how you present yourself to the world. Ask for thoughtful feedback, and see if you can implement in your daily life. I’m not saying that you aren’t good enough the way you are, just that you can implement small changes, like smiling more. If it doesn’t feel authentic, stop. The most important part of this piece of advice is to be open to change. Sometimes you just have to get yourself out of loneliness. This can be done by being comfortable with being alone. Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely. Getting advice help you remedy the situation sometimes. After coming back to school junior year, I ended up reaching out to former acquaintances, and forming pretty good friendships in the process. Believe in yourself, and no matter how you get through it, your loneliness will end.
4. Sometimes, Loneliness Happens
This is a simple fact of life. Whether it’s in high school or college or your workplace, loneliness happens. Even when it seems like it doesn’t end, you’ll eventually find people who you click with. It’s a journey that everyone experiences and learns from. You can learn to not compromise your identity, or you can learn how to fit in when needed. Either way you’ll learn something about your values, and what you’re willing to give up to be one of them. From my experience, I realized that I can stretch myself to fit in when absolutely needed, while embracing my niche interests. Moreover, we really don’t need that many friends. Just a few good ones will do. Loneliness is hard, but like all eras, it ends.
5. Find Another Perspective
Maybe you’re lonely because you’re unique. With the internet age, geography isn’t a limitation to friendship. Find online communities that share your passions. Friends are everywhere nowadays. But even while you look for other friends, reframing can be transformative. You’re not lonely, you’re alone. Find joy in that aloneness and use it as an opportunity for discovery. Challenges, generally speaking, teach you something about yourself. Don’t let your shame hold you back from learn what makes you indelibly yourself. High school can seem like the worst place to be lonely, but the truth is that more people are struggling than it appears on the surface. Be kind, be empathetic, give people a chance, and never ever let go of your self-worth.
Loneliness in high school is especially tough. We just want to look like we have it all together when we don't, when no one does. But being lonely is a stepping stone to understanding your identity outside of how you present yourself to others. I'm not saying it's fun, but know that you'll get through it, whether it's by graduating high school or finding new friends. Allow yourself fresh starts and the possibility of reinvention, find ways to make the loneliness bearable, and maybe one day you'll look back on that time and remember it as a rite of passage.
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