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How solitude and isolation can affect your social skills

Losing Your Identity

Losing Your Identity

Humans are social creatures, interdependent on one another. Socializing is at its core, a mental workout, and an essential part of brain development.

Being alone, one can start to lose the sense of who one is, as our identity requires a reflection from others to become real. Self-isolation, with zero interaction with other people, makes a person disappear gradually.

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Types of Social Withdrawal

Social withdrawal is categorized into three types:

  1. Shyness caused by fear or anxiety
  2. Avoidance, caused by a dislike of socializing
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Loneliness before quarantine

We crave intimacy. And yet, long before the present pandemic, with its forced isolation and social distancing, humans had begun building their own separate cells. 

Before modern times...

Loneliness is a form of grief

It is an umbrella term we use to cover for all sorts of things most people would rather not name and have no idea how to fix.
Plenty of people like to be alone. But solitude and seclusion are different from loneliness. Loneliness is a state of profound distress.

The evolutionary theory of loneliness

Primates need to belong to an intimate social group in order to survive; this is especially true for humans.
Separation from your group (either finding yourself alone or finding yourself among a group of people who do not know and understand you) triggers a fight-or-flight response.

An introvert

... is someone who enjoys solitude and focuses more on internal thoughts and feelings. 

Unlike extroverts, who gain energy from social interaction, introverts often expend energy ...

Be who you are

We really do well when we connect with others, even for brief periods. You don't need to change your nature in order to socialize more.

Instead of fighting your personality, work with it, and focus on the type and level of interactions you can do and enjoy.

Find social opportunities that work for you
  • Know your boundaries. Introverts are often not comfortable with uncertainty about when something will end. 
  • Control the setting. If going out is not easy, have people come to you.
  • Focus on activities, as a class at a local college or community center. Sometimes just being around people is enough.
  • Join a club based on your personal interests or hobbies.
  • Socialize from afar. Social media is another way for introverts to stay connected.