Loneliness is a feeling that humans of all ages and races feel. It is common for people to feel lonely when they are going through changes, dealing with a breakup, feeling misunderstood, or simply just experiencing a time in their lives when they don’t feel connected to others.
Loneliness can also stem from feeling like you don’t fit in. As a nongirly girl, you may particularly feel like an outsider if you are surrounded by more traditional girls. When you are feeling this way–whether you don’t feel like you fit in with your friend group, at your school, or even with your family–it can be hard to know how to cope with loneliness. However, you can learn some skills to handle feelings of loneliness from not fitting in.
Talk to Someone
The best tool for coping with loneliness is to talk to someone else. This will help you feel more connected to people, even though you may not feel like you fit in elsewhere. For example, if you are feeling like an outsider at school, turn to a family member for support. Conversely, if you are not fitting in with your family, lean on a good friend. Regardless of the situation, it will be important to seek out quality interactions (preferably face-to-face) with another person to curb the feelings of loneliness.
Join a Club or Volunteer
So, you feel like you don’t fit in with the group of people you currently surround yourself with. Try joining a club that will have people who share similar interests! Maybe you really like to play soccer or are obsessed with Harry Potter; clubs exist for both of these! If you can’t go somewhere in person, you could try to find a virtual group that meets at a scheduled time each week. Find groups where there will be other nontraditional girls like yourself.
Similarly, you could volunteer for a company or organization that aligns with your interests. Studies show that people feel more connected when they spend time doing good for others. Knowing that you are making a positive difference in someone else’s life via volunteering can decrease feelings of loneliness and improve your mental health. Volunteering can also help you create new connections, both with those you are volunteering with and the people who you are volunteering for.
Be Cautious of Online Time
Loneliness may make you want to turn to the internet and social media to try to feel connected again. However, many studies show that time spent on social media actually increases feelings of loneliness. Social media causes people to compare their situations with others, so if you are feeling lonely, getting on Instagram or Snapchat to see how seemingly great everyone else is doing could easily make you feel worse. Pay attention to how your social media use makes you feel during times of loneliness and cut back if you notice that it is making you feel worse. Instead of regular social media apps, turn to our Nongirly News to find uplifting stories of other nontraditional women.
Take Care of Yourself
Self-care is crucial to maintaining good mental health. It becomes even more important in times when you are feeling down. If you are feeling lonely, make sure that you are still eating right, sleeping enough, and getting exercise. This last one, exercise, can be especially helpful as you release happy chemicals, called endorphins, that your body produces when you are being active.
Beyond those basics, self-care looks different for everyone, so consider what makes you feel good: is it watching your favorite movie or reading your favorite book? Is it going for a run? Is it doing a face mask and lighting a candle? Maybe it would be buying your favorite t-shirt or feminist gift for yourself from Nongirly. Be sure to do what makes you feel best! It can seem hard to cope with feelings of loneliness that stem from not fitting in, especially as a nongirly girl. However, with the right tools, you can learn how to deal with loneliness: taking care of yourself and working to feel connected to others.