It’s Okay To Feel Lonely In Your Twenties

Feeling lonely in your twenties is not something we tend to associate with young people. We assume that those in their twenties will be living the time of their lives, going travelling, being out with friends and building relationships and families. But your twenties can easily become a lonely time as we all try to find our place in the world.

girl overlooking ocean from clifftop with text saying loneliness in your twenties

I wanted to talk about loneliness as I think it is something that is so easily to fall into at any stage in your life, yet is still quite stigmatised. It is hard to admit that you are lonely to those around you, as it is something that can be quite misunderstood. Loneliness is more than being physically alone, it’s more than just the lack of opportunity to go out anywhere. It can be a combination of factors that make you feel like it is harder to approach those around you.

How do you make new friends in your twenties?

Making new friends as an adult can be really tricky, as you don’t tend to have that immediate group around you like with school and university. When you start a new job, it’s likely that friendship groups will already be formed, and it can be challenging to feel part of something that already exists. If you don’t have a traditional 9-5 job, that can be even harder as you may find yourself working with different people day to day.

As an adult, you are limited as to where you meet people. Sure, you make friends with the girls in the toilets of the bar on Saturday night, but that is usually a fleeting 5 minutes of contact that is quickly forgotten on Sunday morning. In your twenties, I actually think you lack opportunity to meet new people in the right scenarios. Where we tend to meet people, at work or the gym or a bar, people are not necessarily looking for long term friendship and that first interaction can be seriously intimidating.

Of course, we do have something that our parents didn’t. The online world is a great place to seek like-minded individuals and even those that feel the same way. Online friendships can take a lot of hard work, as you are essentially trying to befriend a stranger behind a screen, but if you can make it work, they can be invaluable.

The transition into adulting is bloody difficult

As we get older, it is natural that people move around the country and we all take on more responsibilities which can make maintaining existing relationships really hard. Sometimes something as simple as sending a quick text can be really comforting, as you are letting that person know that you are still thinking of them.

Social media can be great for bringing us together and keeping in touch with those further away, but it can also add fuel to the fire of loneliness as we witness our peers leading a life we are somewhat jealous of. Dealing with the quarter life crisis that is your twenties is a lot more to do with what we see on Instagram that anything else. When you see your peers buying houses, having children or even just with a solid friendship group out clubbing every weekend, it can be easy to start comparing their life to yours, forgetting that their life and their choices are completely different to your own.

Instagram jealousy loneliness flatlay

Learning to love yourself for who you are

I may not have completely nailed this one yet, but I’m getting there. Learning to love spending time by yourself and appreciating your own company can work wonders for feelings of loneliness. I think it’s really important to be comfortable and secure in who you are, as this then prevents you from relying on the approval and validation of others.

If we get a little personal, I find that I really value what others think of me. If I hear something negative about myself, or I don’t get invited to an event for example, it really affects me when actually I should be confident and comfortable in who I am.

Let’s break the stigma

Admitting that you are feeling lonely in your twenties can be a very exposing and vulnerable experience. I think people see loneliness as someone sat in their home on their own, so when someone who doesn’t fit this stereotype expresses that emotion, it can take people by surprise. Feelings of loneliness often sit alongside issues such as paranoia, anxiety and depression. In times where more and more young people are struggling with their mental health, it shouldn’t be coming as a shock that more of us are feeling lonely too.

The more we talk openly about loneliness at all ages, the easier it will be for those experiencing it to reach out.

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  1. Vinny @ Artsy Draft says

    Finding new friends in your twenties is the hardest thing to do (at least for me). There’s too much pressure at this age and I keep over think everything that I’ll say to them! 😣

  2. aisasami says

    My sister is almost turning 20 and she is in her first year of college. She wants to quit because she is feeling lonely. I can relate to feeling lonely, but as an older adult, as I live in a different country than my high school and college friends. And, most of my friends here either move to another city or move back to their home country. It can get lonely, but I’m ok. I replace this loneliness with creating and writing.

  3. Aditi says

    Real and practical post..We are often judged for being lonely and this is really bad. This post is an eye opener for all its readers. I appreciate your move and yes I agree, we all should talk about it.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  4. Tracey Faye says

    I’m in my late twenties and went through the whirlwind of finding out who my true friends are and still making friends to this date. Your post is amazing and you’re right, we need to learn to love and accept ourselves! Thank you for this!

  5. Chloe chats says

    This is a great post! I’ve finished school and University and I’ve started going through having different jobs and it’s so hard to make friends at a workplace than it was when I was back at uni or school! I’ve recently moved away from home as well, away from all my friends and family and for the first few months I felt so lonely but it’s getting better 🙂

    Chloe x

  6. The diary of Ellie says

    I literally kept in touch with 1 of my friends from my education years from like 2010-2018 and it sucks really bad! I wish i had a group of friends round me to go out with but i have a boyfriend and 1 friend who i do stuff with and i do feel lonely but this is such a good post because i now know it’s not just me who feels lonely now im nearly 20!

    • whatabigailsays says

      It’s so hard when you lose touch with school friends. I found the adjustment from university to work the hardest as I was so used to being in such a close knit girl group, and that was something I had never had before!

  7. Natalie Hanson says

    I couldn’t relate to this post anymore even if I tried! and I couldn’t agree more with your advice. This is a great post! Thank you

    Nat x

  8. kattieh says

    I really enjoyed reading this, and I can completely relate to those loneliness feelings. I do have plenty of friends, but we are all so busy with our own lives now. I’m moving overseas again soon, and I’m looking forward to making new friends, although last time I moved I found that aspect really hard. I’m going to try to join more clubs this time.

  9. amelia says

    It’s really hard. my late-twenties in particular have been really lonely at times. I had my first child at 26 and that changed everything – most of my friends didn’t have kids or understand what it was like. I’, about to turn 30 and I have had to build a new friendship group (or two) from scratch and it was incredibly difficult because the older we get, the more we forget how its done. But it CAN be done. And I promise it starts to get easier, but you have to be honest and open about things. I’m really looking forward to my thirties because I feel like my twenties was full of angst and anxiety and full on upheaval. Hopefully the next decade will be smoother and calmer because I’m older, wiser and more confident.
    Thank you for putting this post up, it was a beautiful read.

    • whatabigailsays says

      Thank you so much, I’m glad you enjoyed it and glad to hear you have made it out of the other side. I definitely agree with the anxiety of your twenties as I spend so much time worrying! Hopefully it’ll all get better in time x

  10. Abby Roberts-Gould says

    This is such an amazing, inspiring post that is so important to talk about. I completely agree with you, loneliness isn’t just about sitting in your own in an evening. You can feel lonely about friends and finding people similar to yourself. I moved to a different country when I was almost 17 and found it really hard to make friends as I didn’t go to school. Thankfully I found my amazing partner who is my 100% best friend aswell. I’m 6 weeks time I am moving back to England and I can’t wait to feel my lonely void with all my favourite people back home!
    Everyone has those moments and it’s important to enjoy your own company like you said! I hope you’re okay, internet friends are amazing! Xxx

  11. My Blurred World says

    Such an important post and beautifully written as well. I’m 20 and I’m an open uni student so I study from home and since my friends have all moved away to uni or have full time jobs, I don’t see them very often so it’s really easy to feel lonely and I feel that way quite often. I think it’s a much more common feeling than we realise and more people need to know that it’s nothing to be ashamed of! Great post as always, loved reading xx

  12. everythingevening says

    The thing I’ve struggled with most in my 20’s is living away from everyone, I moved for uni and had a really solid group of friends at home that all worked a variety of jobs and you could guarantee someone would be game to go to the pub any night of the week. It’s really not easy trying to meet new people aged 20! This is a great post!

  13. ecbcmanchester says

    This is a fantastic blog post. So helpful and so true. We expect to have everything sorted by our 20s but the truth is we are still learning and adapting. X

  14. castlesandhurricanes says

    This was a wonderful post! After college, it was definitely hard having friends who used to be around all the time move away. Plus, lots of people I know tend to be in relationships, so they don’t have as much time as they used to. Luckily, I became a part of a sports community when I was in college that also has community teams. Community teams allow graduates to get involved and keep playing, so I’ve been able to see many friends that way.

  15. Hannah Victoria says

    Oh, I love love this blog post! You’re right adulting IS HARD! 🙁 Especially when you lose friends from your childhood and don’t have that school community any more.
    I’d definitely agree with you about making friends online; I’m so glad that I’ve made friends through blogging – it’s amazing!

    Hannah xxx

  16. lucymarytaylor says

    Making friends in adulthood is really hard! You lose your childhood friends and they go and make new friends themselves! Loneliness is horrible but like you said, it’s ok to admit that you are lonely in your twenties! A great post x

    Lucy |

  17. Dee says

    This a very interesting read. I kinda assumed it was easier when you young, I guess I was wrong. I am in my forties, still single and living alone, so loneliness is something I am very familiar with but what has helped me a lot is finding things I can do alone, like running, going for walks, going for workshops, going to church and I’ve learnt to enjoy my alone time…Staying in my pjs and binging on NETFLIX series 😊

  18. Alix says

    Thank you so much for writing this post I really enjoyed reading it, it definitely does get harder as you get older to find make new friends and just generally transitioning into an adult can be really difficult xx

  19. Alice V-DIYerfy says

    I agree it can be difficult to make new friends when you get older because opportunities to connect aren’t as prevalent and you have to do more to find a reason to befriend someone.

  20. Meagan says

    Love this post! I’m currently 24 and I feel lonely a majority of the time. I’ve also met a variety of people (married, single, with kids, childless, successful, etc) who are older than me who feel the same exact way. I think the most important thing to do is to find a community in your area, and make it a habit to stick to that community. I believe we tend to get closer to people who we commonly see (or are familiar with), which may be the reason why it may be harder to make friends at a party or event. It would be great to read a post about ways to make friends in our 20s, such as utilizing eventbrite or 🙂

  21. Kiran Singh says

    Sometimes being lonely is one of the best things you can do for yourself and I wish I understood this in my twenties. It’s the opportunity to spend time with yourself, to learn about your needs and wants on a whole new level. It’s crucial to learn to spend quality time with yourself in your own company – to learn, grow and evolve .

  22. Lisa | LetsGoSomewhereMcKinney says

    Really enjoyed your post. I think being alone in your 20s could be really good for a person. You are trying to learn who you really are. Completely agree that meeting new people is super hard once you are out of that school environment and that the introduction to the real world is brutal!!!

  23. Miranda Richey says

    So much truth in this post. Loneliness can happen at any age for a variety of reasons. It is also a difficult feeling to hurdle. Having moved to a foreign country for work, getting over this was a challenge compounded by the language barrier. This is a good discussion to have. The more its talked about, hopefully the more it can help other young adults.

  24. Abby says

    What a great post!! It so perfectly describes the lonely feelings we have in our 20s. It almost makes them lonelier because people are constantly saying “oh your 20s are the best, you must be having a blast, living your best you.” And it’s true. This is my happiest time but that doesn’t mean it can’t get lonely. I just moved away from my family and friends and making friends is EXTREMELY difficult especially when you moved for a job where your youngest coworker is 32 with twins. They don’t got time for me lol. And making online friends has been my saving grace but they don’t exactly live close to me so it’s not all that easy. But I still love my 20s, it’s just facts that we can still get lonely. Thanks for this post!

  25. hanmwill says

    Absolutely loved this post! You’ve summed up exactly how I feel and it’s so comforting! A great read! 🙂 x

  26. Sophia Whitham says

    I can’t even tell you how much I relate to this. My twenties have been the loneliest years of my life. Old friendships dissolved and I’ve found it so hard to make new friends without being forced into the daily company of people as we are in school. Thank you for bringing awareness to this, it’s comforting to know I’m not alone.

    Sophia |

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