How to handle feeling lonely online
Many people experience feelings of loneliness online – here are ways to handle it
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
Social media and the internet are a great way to keep up with friends and family. You can see what they’ve been doing and where they’ve been going.
Social media can also make you feel lonely or left out. Sometimes you might hear people refer to this as FOMO, or the ‘fear of missing out’. If you feel like people are leaving you out on purpose, this can feel even worse, and is a form of bullying.
Feeling left out or lonely can be an upsetting and isolating experience, but there are steps you can take to feel better.
Dealing with loneliness and FOMO online
There are a few different things you can do to feel more connected to people if you feel lonely, so find whatever works best for you and what you feel most comfortable with.
Remember why people post things
Posting things on social media is not an accurate representation of someone’s life. They are usually only posting the highlights of their day or week, and it’s important to remember that you’re only seeing a snippet of their life.
People often highlight the most positive aspects of their life and their social media accounts are not necessarily a true and accurate reflection of what is really going on for them.
Their days will often have highs and lows and everything in between, just like yours.
Seek out face-to-face connection
Feeling lonely or left out after scrolling through social media might make you feel down on yourself and can have a negative effect on your self-esteem.
Try reaching out to a friend to meet up in person. You could organise a group outing to an event, or you could invite a group of people over for dinner. Being around others can help you feel less lonely.
Speak to your friends and family
If you see your friends and family repeatedly posting photos themselves together without you and if you feel comfortable saying something, you could try speaking to them about it.
They might not be doing it purpose, so let them know that you’re feeling left out. This can help them be more inclusive in the future.
Rethink the people in your feed
If you are worried about comparing your life to other people’s, try narrowing down the amount of people you follow. It can be easy to think that a stranger’s life is perfect when all you see is their highlights.
Try sticking to following close friends and family members. You can also follow feel-good accounts that share good news stories and have inspirational quotes to keep you motivated.
Spend meaningful time online
Making your time more meaningful online is a good way to stay connected with people and feel less lonely.
If you have friends that are far away, try organising a video call with them. You could also make sure to only follow accounts that have information you are actively engaged with, like a cause that’s close to your heart.
Use a journal to process how you feel
A lot of people record things in their life online, and you might be doing the same. But sometimes the amount of likes, comments and reactions might be making you feel down or anxious.
It might be a good idea to make your own collection of memories through a personal journal, either with a notebook or a photo album.
Journalling can be a way to process your own feelings, and it can also be something to look back on later in life.
Be present and try to change your mindset
Take pleasure in small moments if you can, like the first sip of a hot drink or a beautiful sunset. Try and direct your energy on what’s in front of you, rather than what others are doing on a screen.
Try to be present in your own life and notice how you are feeling, rather than judging it. Most people feel lonely or left out at some point in their life, and that’s okay. The feeling will pass.