Geeks Vs Loneliness: feeling like the smallest person in the room

A few words for those of us who somehow feel we don't belong...

Welcome to Geeks Vs Loneliness, our spot on the site where we try and talk about things that may be affecting you, or people you know. Our base rule here is that not everything we write is right for everybody, but hopefully over the course of this series, we come up with something that may be useful to you. Please know, at the very least, that there are people on an anonymous-looking internet who do actually care, and want you to be happy.

This week, we’re revisiting insecurities. Everyone has them, but they present themselves in very different ways.In particular, some people have a game face. They can walk into a room, smile, talk to anybody, and carry on as if they haven’t got a problem in the world. They have, of course, and you don’t need us to tell you that behind many smiles there’s also a sadness somewhere. But still: confidence can be a rare elixir, and the ability to go into a room and talk to strangers is never one we’ll knock.

This piece, though, is for those who can’t do that. It’s for those of us who, no matter where we are, who we’re talking to or what we’re doing, feel like the least important there. That we feel like imposters, who shouldn’t be there. That we don’t have value.

You do have value, you’re not an imposter. We’re all flesh and blood, all human beings. But conversely, we do appreciate that words on a webpage may not dramatically turn your feelings around.

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Instead, just a few practical things:

– Firstly, we get a two-dimensional snapshot of people when we’re out and about. There’s a good likelihood that the people projecting happiness and confidence are feeling just as insecure inside. Don’t assume that everyone else is utterly at home, and happy. Human beings come with baggage and problems, they just show themselves in different ways.

– If you can, put the phone away. Phones are something of a comfort blanket in uncomfortable social situations, and give a shut off. But they don’t solve the problem. Often, it takes one conversation with one human being to start changing things for the better. Clinging to a phone is less likely to make that conversation happen.

– Other people’s opinions can sting, but they’re just that: opinions. Worrying about what others think of us is something everyone does. But try and rationalise it. Just because one person doesn’t like you, or doesn’t warm to you, that doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means one person doesn’t warm to you. There are billions of other people on Planet Earth. It only takes one to change life for the better.

– You are, as twee as it sounds, unique. There’s nobody else like you on the planet. Even though you may feel the proverbial smallest person in the room, there’s something in your head that’s not in somebody else’s. You do actually matter. One nice comment that you make, or someone makes to you, might just turn around someone’s day. How about making that nice comment first?

– You aren’t alone. Even though it may feel it. Lots and lots of people feel as you do. Can you talk to someone about it? A friend, a counsellor? People like the wonderful Samaritans are just as happy – happier, even – to talk to someone when a problem is small as much as when it’s become big. Just drop them an email? Or give them a call on 116 123 (UK).

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It’s a tough one this, and we’re aware that we’ve not given a particularly clear answer. The problem, of course, is there isn’t one. It’s one of those things, folks, where unless you try something, things are unlikely to change. At the very least, though, how about just saying hello in the comments below? Even if you’ve never posted before. As inhuman as the internet may seem, every comment down there is written by a human being. They matter.

And so do you.

Thanks, as always, for reading.