You can be lonely in a crowd

Amal Chatterjee
7 min readMar 24, 2017


Source : Google photo

Synopsis : Loneliness does not mean when you are alone because one can be lonely in a crowd. Loneliness is a state of mind that that tells you that you are close to no one even if you are surrounded by people .I discuss it and note that people are lonely when they do not find someone their intellectual equivalent .It is true of many writers.

It is true that a person can feel terribly alone in a crowd and not feel alone at all when he is just by himself so it is not related to the number of people around you or not around you. I think it is related more to the inner fulfillment of a person.

Often people feel that they are empty inside so no number of people can fill that void. People who are rich and famous who know many people but none of them intimately often feel this way and end up overdosing on drugs like Whitney Houston.

You often meet lonely people who are only too eager to tell you their life story even if you have just met them. You soon forget them, their names and their story because they offer unsolicited information that you do not know what to do with and look for ways to escape them.

The problem of the modern world is that most people are wrapped up in their problems or their day to day struggles that they cannot seem to manage so have little time for others except in a very superficial level. You may know them slightly or not at all even if they seem familiar to you. They may be your neighbors or office workers. They may be the people you meet in your church regularly but you do not know them.

Someone wrote an article recently about the lonesome people who do not like others in general and prefer to be alone because they find others not at their level of intellectuality, education, work or travel experience so they prefer not to be bothered.

We, whether like it or not always judge others as others constantly judge you. I think it is inherent in our nature to judge others using our own yardstick, our own values, our own beliefs and our own experience. If we find them not measuring up to our standard which may be quite high, we back up and return to our shell.

A widely traveled person who has rich experience to share finds no one interested so he keeps quiet. If he is a wide reader of classic literature and finds no one who shares his excitement in discussing the books he reads then he keeps quiet. If he loves fine art, classical music or history and finds no one in the small town where he lives then he feels out of place and unappreciated.

I knew a very sophisticated French lady who had rich experience in Africa and knew a lot about their art, culture and food but found no one in the small village in France where she lived interested so felt very isolated.

This is the problem with intellectuality and curious people who rarely find their equivalent in others so prefer to keep their own company instead of cheap talk.

I was once in Sicily where I met a German couple in Taormina. They gave me a ride and found me a place for the night and sat with me until midnight talking about wide range of things and said that they felt they had known me all their lives. They kept this friendship going for well over thirty years but I cannot talk to people I have known all my life because they are not interested.

But in life the most popular people are the ones who can cheap talk, tell raunchy jokes, can remember names and birthdays, who are never serious about anything, who have the same level of knowledge or curiosity as the average small town dweller and can feel at home with the most ordinary people.

It is also the human nature that we all seek our own type of people to associate with socially. There are various clubs where people of similar interests meet and socialize over beer or bridge game or a poker.

The church is a popular place for people with similar religious background to meet yet they feel that they never become friends with anyone.

Now there are people who do not wear their religion on their sleeves and keep it very private because their views on religion may clash with others so they are reticent about discussing such topics with anyone.

If you are the type who enjoys traveling all over the world and tries different food, participates in their festivals and meets people from other countries easily and then go back to your small town , you will find yourself quite apart from the rest who do not travel and cannot comprehend your excitement.

I have made over 100 power points on wide ranging topics from arts and crafts of Africa to art, history, artists in Europe and other countries etc. and have offered them free to anyone interested in my neighborhood but people said they are not interested in such knowledge. So I have put them out in the internet Google + for anyone anywhere to see. There is so much to share with the world and there are so many people out there who love to see the power points and learn from it that I feel encouraged. The world of knowledge is infinite.

So I come back to the topic at hand and try to understand why it is so hard to find people who share your values, your knowledge, your ideas, your stories in other countries and open up a channel of communication. It is easier to find people you do not know and share with than the people you know or think you do even if superficially.

So superficiality is the key word here. You cannot get beyond superficiality with most people around you because people create a bubble of their own and are afraid to burst their bubble and go beyond. They will tell you that it is their comfort zone and are ill at ease with someone who is not like them in mediocrity.

They are afraid to wander into a wide world of knowledge where they feel inadequate to absorb all they see and experience. The good example is food. Why do you find so many Americans at any McDonalds overseas?

I had an American friend who had traveled all over the world and had extensive knowledge of many things that he could not share with his small town mates in Texas where people were more interested in Bingo games or weekend football.

When I showed slides of various countries to my relatives , they kept mum and showed apathy. They did not care to see photos of Africans or wild life because they could not relate to them. Their interest perked up considerably when their own photos showed up.

The frog in the well is very limited in its knowledge of the outside world and is content to live in its well because it cannot get out of that proverbial well even if it tries. Most people live in their own well and cannot climb out of it to see the beauty of the world. Those who make the effort are dazzled by its beauty.

There was a Portuguese traveler who one day came upon the ruins of Angkor Wat in the jungles of Cambodia , made sketches and showed the world what an astounding find it was . Such people bring knowledge to the rest who never travel and never know what is out there and perhaps do not care. How can a small town person in Texas who has never traveled anywhere know where is Angkor Wat and what it means let alone where is Cambodia? He just can’t relate to it.

The good news is that not all people want to live in their well and want to know and see and feel what is out there and appreciate any one who helps them get there.

Sharing is the key :

I think the idea of sharing with anyone what is worth sharing is the key to overcome the barrier that most people put up. The idea is to open up a channel of communication with people so that sharing becomes exciting. People who live alone and are highly creative, full of knowledge and ideas are so by choice because they do not find anyone to share their ideas with so they become great writers, poets or philosophers.

It is like a great teacher who finds his pupils dull and unmotivated but finds joy if his students start learning what he has to share.

A writer is also a teacher of sorts. He finds joy if more and more people start reading his works and show appreciation. A great writer does not write for monetary gains or fame but does so because he is generous in sharing his thoughts and ideas just like a great teacher who is poorly paid but enjoys teaching because he has so much to share.

Not everyone is lucky to get to know a person who becomes a lifelong friend and a true soul mate who understands and appreciates all the knowledge a person has to offer. But there are many unknown people who will appreciate you if you give them the chance to do so.

To be alone is therefore is not the same as being lonely. You can be alone in a crowd but not alone if you are a thinker and share it with the world.



Amal Chatterjee

I am the village bard who loves to share his stories.