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Fear of Being Alone: How to Identify, Manage and Overcome It

Amber Murphy

The fear of being alone is the excessive and disproportionate rejection of staying alone in discomfort and intensity. This psychological phenomenon is incredibly common even among people who have many friends, harmonious family life, and permanent contact with other individuals. This fear manifests itself through negative thoughts about a hypothetical future, characterized by isolation and a lack of emotional connection with people who are important to the individual. The person who fears being alone becomes obsessed with the thought that he/she will suffer from helplessness, lack of love, lack of companionship, and lack of understanding from others.

The fear of staying alone can be managed and overcome. The key is to identify it and then work on oneself to conquer that fear.

Signs that reveal the fear of being alone

The following signs reveal a fear of being alone. The sooner you realize that you suffer from this fear, the better you will be able to combat them.

1. Need for human contact

Those who fear staying alone attend many social events to meet new people with whom to bond in the future. You don’t want to feel invisible in the world.

2. Pragmatic perspective on relationships

Those who suffer from this fear have a pragmatic view of interpersonal relationships. They want to establish an affective bond with any person. They do not care if they feel a genuine interest in the other person. Instead, they seek effective stability in the future with any individual.

3. Search for external approval

Those who suffer from fear of being alone seek acceptance and approval from others. They think that if they are alone, others will negatively think of them. This causes them not to express themselves as they are.

4. They do not value family relationships

Those afraid of being alone do not value family relationships as they should. They believe that family members are only close to them because of blood ties and not by choice. This idea is wrong because family love goes beyond blood ties and manifests itself genuinely.

5. Avoid being alone

Those who fear remaining alone avoid this situation as much as possible. If they must remain alone in a place for some extraneous circumstance, they will desperately seek the company of someone. This reveals a great fear of facing oneself and seeing aspects of one’s identity that one does not like. It also denotes a lack of self-esteem that is deepened by being alone.

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Causes that generate the fear of being alone

The fear of staying alone has several causes worth knowing to understand this problem and then overcome it.

1. Lack of self-confidence

Those who do not trust themselves believe they are not at the same level as others. Therefore, they feel inferior to others and believe that they will be left aside.

2. Shyness

Those who are shy fear staying alone forever because they believe they cannot establish new interpersonal relationships and have relationship anxiety. They feel an extreme fear of rejection by others and therefore prefer not to expose themselves to this situation. Shy individuals believe they have limitations in relating to others, so they fear being alone in the future.

3. Physical illnesses and mental illnesses

Those who have gone through physical illnesses or really serious mental illnesses are afraid of being alone because they do not want to be a burden to others. They believe that they will be abandoned in the future and thus they will be totally unprotected.

4. Idealization of interpersonal relationships

Some people fear being alone because they have over-idealized interpersonal relationships. They have a high standard of what a friendship, love relationship, or family bond should be like. Failing to reach that ideal, they fear being alone forever.

5. Social differences in their environment

Some older adults fear being alone because they feel misunderstood by the new generations who have other values. They feel that they will be displaced and thus remain alone. The same happens with people who have emigrated to other countries. They belong to another culture and think that they will be excluded from the society in which they live.

How to handle this fear

The fear of remaining alone can be managed through several valuable ideas that will make you understand this situation and change your behavior for the better.

1. Mental flexibility

Incredible as it may seem, you can manage your fear of remaining alone if you make your thoughts more flexible. Your beliefs about being alone may have been wrong. What you must do is identify them and consciously critique them. Come to new conclusions and replace those beliefs with concepts that make you feel good. Finally, generate alternative ideas that are functional to a harmonious life.

2. Identify fears

Face the fears that being alone generates in you. Observe them carefully without judging them. Then organize an action plan to reconcile yourself with these fears. Finally, you must downplay them, and you will see that you will project a reality where being alone will be a beautiful opportunity to be with yourself.

3. Let go of a past of abandonment

Perhaps you suffered family abandonment in your childhood or adolescence. First, you must know that this situation has nothing to do with you. The abandoning individual is the one who has deep deficiencies, not you. Forgive that individual. You were never to blame for that circumstance.

4. Identify images

Keep in mind the images that you relate to being alone. This will help you to rationalize your fear of staying alone. Thanks to that, you will understand your fear clearly, and you will be able to overcome it.

5. Eliminate the need

The most important thing to understand is that you do not need others to be well. Cultivate self-love, and you will feel good naturally. The quality of your interpersonal relationships will improve greatly. You will love to be alone with yourself and then with others even more. You can overcome adversity when you realize courage isn’t getting rid of fear, it’s facing it.

How to definitively overcome this fear

The fear of being alone can be overcome definitively through certain strategies to improve your quality of life. Remember that first, you must be well with yourself and then with others.

1. Gratifying activities

Start now to perform activities in solitude that are pleasurable. For example: go for a walk on a sunny morning, read a book by your favorite author, have a delicious coffee in an elegant café, go shopping, etc.

2. Prioritize yourself

First of all, you must prioritize yourself. This is achieved through self-knowledge, self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem. You will feel happy to be yourself, and this will be projected externally in your interpersonal relationships.

3. Identify your desires

Your life should be governed by your own desires and not by the fact of being accompanied or not. Keep in mind that the achievement of goals is carried out individually. That is why you must prioritize what you want in life. Keep your mind occupied with your goals, and the fear of being alone will inevitably disappear.

4. Learn new knowledge

Life presents you with daily challenges, and acquiring knowledge will help you overcome them. Focusing on learning new things will eliminate your fear of being alone. Learning requires mental energy. Invest your time in cultivating yourself personally. Rest assured that your fear of being alone will be just a bad memory once you learn how to deal with loneliness.

5. Enjoy your passions

When alone, take advantage of that valuable time to enjoy your passions. Any option is valid: cooking, knitting, dancing, reading Tarot cards. Everything serves to enjoy your time alone yourself. That well-being will be reflected in all areas of your life.

Final thoughts

The fear of staying alone is basically the fear of being alone with oneself because negative thoughts about one’s own identity arise. This fear erroneously makes one believe that one is not worth enough and needs others to feel good. This is completely false. One must first accept oneself and healthily value oneself. This positive attitude externally projects healthy interpersonal relationships, which are kept from emotional dependence on others. It is also very useful to maintain a critical attitude towards one’s own thoughts and externally imposed values. There is a widespread belief that one must be accompanied to be happy, which is not true. Happiness is born in oneself and then manifests itself externally.

The fear of being alone actually expresses a fear of abandonment, helplessness, and lack of protection in the future. The individual imagines catastrophic scenarios caused by being alone. This situation manifests an irrational fear since the individual feels tremendous anxiety about something that has not yet happened. The key is identifying that irrationality and using critical thinking to act wisely. The key is to enjoy oneself in the present tense, pushing away non-existent future fears. If you are afraid of being alone, cultivate self-love to prioritize yourself in life. You must know that you can lead a full life thanks to your own merits, without depending on the company of others. Dare to be yourself, and you will feel a wonderful inner liberation. If you feel good alone, all areas of your life will be illuminated.

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