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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is it normal to feel completely alone even though I am surrounded by people at University?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Annette Wright


    I have considerable experience in counselling people experiencing difficulties in the areas of anxiety, work stress, depression, anger management, substance abuse and relationships. My areas … View Profile

    This could be an indicator that somebody is suffering from depression. So in that sense, it is not normal.
    If you feel that way, disconnected from society or the people around you I would suggest to talk to someone. I would say, no, that is not normal to feel that way.
    Knowing when to stop is important. Often some people are heavier drinkers than others. Having alcohol free days is definitely a healthy option, but, when a person starts drinking, and can not seem to stop at one or two, then that would be a clear indication of potential risky drinking behavior.

  • Lucinda Curran


    Lucinda Curran of Eco Health Solutions offers a truly holistic approach to health by combining Building Biology and Chinese Medicine. Her work is solutions-focussed and … View Profile


    I think that there is a difference between feeling lonely and feeling alone.

    For instance, one may be part of a peer group, and feel lonely. Others may be alone, but be very happy with this - in that they are happy in their own company.

    If the first applies, as it sounds like it does from your question, it could be to do with other factors. Depression, as discussed by Annette above, is one. Also, alienation, and not really having a true connection with those around you are two other reasons.

    It would be worth talking to a clinical psychologist about this - just to make sure… Other than that, make sure you take part in things that interest you - hobbies, interest groups, and so forth, and in this way you can connect with like-minded people. 

    Hope that helps.


  • Georgina Watts

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    I am passionate about journeying with people on their road to wholeness. I work with males and females who are needing to work on self … View Profile

    Lucinda and Annette have given some good pointers for you. I suppose for me i would be wondering whether this is your first year at uni and/or you find it difficult to make friends because of some personality aspects (e.g. are you shy?). Do you always feel like this in every situation you go into? Are there moments with other friends that you feel not so alone? Have you travelled recently? i know that sounds strange but i had some friends who travelled and found it very difficult on returning to connect with people because of where they had gone (third world country for volunteer work in orphanage). In these respects then maybe i would suggest to give yourself some time.

    If you are generally quite an outgoing person and this is really unusual for you then i would suggest making an appointment with a doctor or the university student counsellor, or another counsellor/psychologist of your choosing. Possibly also involving yourself as Lucinda has suggested (hobbies, interest groups) could help you to connect more meaningfully with others.

  • David 'Bhakti' Gotlieb has 30yrs experience and brings understandng, compassion and surgical precision that gets results for his clients.He developed ‘Healing Inner Conflict’ a simple, … View Profile

    "Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink" is a very apt quote (from someone at sea) and the same is true for you and many others who are surrounded by people and yet feel little or connection with them. We live in cities full of millions of poeple and yet someone can die next door and their neighbor has never met them. I think the quesion is not whether it's normal to feel totally alone or not but whether you'd like to feel differently. Happy to help if you do.

  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    Feeling alone while surrounded by people sounds very difficult - like the very definition of loneliness, in fact. I agree with Bhakti - maybe asking if this is normal is less useful than asking if this is something you do not like, and want to have a different experience of. Counselling may help you both deepen your understanding about what this is about for you, and possibly assist you to  either develop new skills or reconnect to existing strengths and capacities you have,  that will help you to feel you have the power to change this for yourself. 

  • I am a Melbourne Relationship Counsellor and Family Lawyer who is skilful in helping people get out of the pain of relationship distress and create … View Profile

    It is so hard to feel alone when surrounded by people. And yet it's not uncommon. Many people have the experience of feeling isolated and disconnected in many different situations. As said above, the question seems to be what will help? I also suggest counselling and perhaps you may consider other things like joining groups at uni, attending organised events etc. It's a challenge at uni these days more than ever before because so many people just go for classes and then leave, due to work paid commitments. Uni is no longer the hub of fun and social interaction it once was for many people. Finding ways to support yourself and your well-being are crucial and developing the capacity to be a friend to yourself here will improve your resilience. Happy to offer assistance. All the best.

  • Bruni (Brunhilde) Brewin

    Counsellor, Hypnotherapist

    Bruni Brewin is President Emeritus of The Australian Hypnotherapists’ Association (AHA), the oldest and largest National Registration Body for hypnotherapists in Australia founded in 1949, … View Profile

    I had a client once that felt alone because she didn't make friends.  She had put this wall around herself because she did not feel good enough to make friends.  She felt that she was stupid and worried about what she might say so that they would find out that she was stupid, so deliberately kept away from making friendships so this couldn't happen.

    As a little girl of 8 years of age, my mother took us from Germany to England.  I did not speak any English but was sent to school where I did not understand anything and the children didn't play with me in those early days.  I felt very alone at that time.

    Of course your scenario might be different altogether.  You might actually have friends at University, yet still feel alone.  So looking for what the reason might be is part of the solution to making changes.  A talk with your doctor or counsellor at the university would be a first step to help yourself to work out what is causing this.

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