Forming genuine, long-lasting friendships can be rare as an adult. You may feel like you can’t emotionally connect with anyone—let alone make deep, lasting friendships.
Of course, it’s not entirely your fault. We live in a society that makes it all too easy to disconnect and stay in our bubble.
If you’re an introvert, this may mean settling for the sting of loneliness or the dull pain of shallow connections.
At times you may muster up the energy to put yourself out there and meet new people.
You go to that meetup, networking even or party. You mix, you mingle…but you can’t emotionally connect on a meaningful level.
As someone who has lived in seven different cities as an adult, I know how difficult it can be to truly connect with new people—especially when there are hidden barriers getting in the way.
Speaking of which, here are five sneaky reasons you may struggle to establish genuine connections.
You’re disconnected from your authentic self
In order to emotionally connect with others, you must first connect with yourself.
Even though introverts tend to be inward-focused, it’s still possible to become detached from your true self.
You can rediscover your authentic self by noticing and making space for your feelings.
Remember, no feeling is bad or wrong. What matters is how you behave in the face of difficult emotions.
Being more accepting of your flaws and failures will also help your authentic self to shine through. Life is messy and it’s ok to embrace your humanness.
You need a judgment detox
Judgment poisons connection. Whether you’re harshly judging another or yourself, it will be hard to feel a sense of closeness when critical thoughts are at play.
“Judgment is the number one reason we feel blocked, sad, and alone…We are made to feel less than, separate, and not good enough, so we use judgment to insulate ourselves from the pain of feeling inadequate,” says Gabrielle Bernstein, author of Judgment Detox.
To create real connections, choose to accept the person in front of you 100%. Focus on making them feel seen and appreciated rather than zeroing in on their flaws.
You don’t truly listen
Introverts are notorious mind-wanderers. Although there’s nothing wrong with being a daydreamer, it can definitely be a connection blocker in social situations.
If you have a habit of formulating your response rather than really listening, this can also impede connection. Establish a heartfelt bond by lending an ear (or two) before you lend feedback.
You don’t have space in your life
Adulting can be exhausting. Between work, hobbies and family obligations you may not have much time to socialize.
Genuine connection takes time and energy. So if you really want to enjoy the benefits of meaningful relationships, ask yourself if you are prepared to make space for someone new.
Making time for people may be challenging as an adult, but it’s worth it!
You spend time with the wrong people
For introverts, being surrounded by the wrong people is beyond draining. It also prevents you from being your most authentic self.
The good news is you don’t have to settle for friendships that don’t feel good.
Take the time to form genuine connections with the right people and you’ll see how fulfilling and energizing real friendships can be.
Still can’t emotionally connect with anyone?
There can be lots of reasons why someone may find it hard to emotionally connect with others. If you think that depression or anxiety may be the cause, talking to a professional can help.
Another possibility is that you haven’t learned the right steps to connect as an introvert. Without introvert-specific social advice, your social batteries are constantly depleted.
That’s why I put together my free 50-page Introvert Connection Guide. Grab it here.