Thursday, April 9, 2015

How to feel alone in a room full of people...

It happens to all of us. Or, well, I think it does. I'm just extrapolating based on my own experience and what other people have said to me, but my guess is it happens to most of us at some point or another, and some of us more often than most...

You're standing in a room full of people, doesn't matter how many really, maybe twelve, maybe fifty, maybe five hundred. Lots of people. It should be impossible to feel alone with so many people around you, and yet...

These people are all there for the same reason that you are, maybe it's a party and you were all invited, maybe it's an event and you're all supporting the same cause, maybe it's a concert and you all like the same band. There's a reason to talk with, and connect with, every person in this room. You could probably find one thing in common with everyone in here, even if it's only the color of socks you're wearing but...

Humans can connect so easily, all it takes is a shared moment -- eye contact, a smile, a few words exchanged, a hug, a kiss, a pat on the shoulder. It doesn't take much. And yet, in a room full of people, all capable of that kind of contact, all seeking it...

We often don't take the time to make the connection. Or, we find it unimportant. Or, we are too focused on the people we already feel connected to, to include the person who just walked in. Conversely, we can walk into a room and feel so overwhelmed by the connections already established that we feel there's no way to break in and form our own.

These people are already talking and having a good time, I don't want to interrupt them.

No one here even sees me.

How can any of these people relate to me?

Oddly enough, it can happen even when people we know are in the room, people we normally feel comfortable engaging with. Until they look up and make a connection we feel impossibly isolated.

Then, like magic, someone we know -- or sometimes someone we don't know -- looks up and catches our eye, and the spell is broken. A smile forms on someone else's lips and we are drawn in. Now we are part of the connection and we can share in the human contact. A hug, or a greeting, change everything, and suddenly we are part of the group.

What changed? We are the same people we were moments before. How did I go from being all alone to being surrounded by people?

A look, a smile, a greeting, a hug... contact. Humans crave it. Even the most solitary of us, long for it occasionally. Small things. Such small things. And suddenly a room full of strangers becomes a room full of people. And despite how dreadful strangers can be, people are welcoming and kind.

See someone standing alone? Say hi, smile, shake hands, make contact. We've all been that person. Offer them a connection and see where it goes.


  1. Every introvert reading this just experienced an involuntary shudder... haha. ;)

  2. Loved this post and the tree shadow picture. Glad about the good press but not surprised. It's a terrific book.

    1. Thanks, Clarinda! I very much appreciate both of those comments. :-)