You may feel like an outcast if you are in the wrong environment or if you tend to be more mature than those around you. If you feel like an outcast, it could also be because you enjoy solitude and never actively socialize.
I’m an INFJ and others seem to be drawn to my gentle, positive character. On a superficial level, you could say I tend to get on well with virtually everyone.
But then there is often something missing. I feel misunderstood most of the time, and what excites and interests me doesn’t seem to excite nor interest others.
As a result, I tend to feel like an outcast unless I am surrounded by people with a similar personality/attitude. And social interactions can seem terribly forced at times, and I’ve been guilty of ghosting more than once.
Feeling like an outcast = Loneliness?
Imagine you have ten, twenty, a hundred friends (actual friends you spend time with, not just social media profiles) yet for some reason you can’t connect with them.
Imagine having more friends you could possibly desire yet the feeling that you belong to a different world, that your thoughts, ideas, smiles, attitude just aren’t the same. This is loneliness.
When you feel like an outcast, it doesn’t matter whether you have tons of friends, or only a few — what you lack isn’t people around you but a genuine, deep, spontaneous connection with them.
We feel that we are part of a group when we belong, share, connect, empathize, laugh out loud. It just doesn’t happen when you feel like an outcast. Well, not as much.
Carl Jung felt like an outcast too
Jung, one of the greatest psychologists in history, also felt like an outcast at times — at least that’s what we assume judging by some of his notes. Have a look at the following two quotes:
Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.
As I child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know.
We also know that Jung was, in his own words, an “introverted intuitive” who needed alone time to recharge and who thought noise was a lot scarier than silence.
Not to mention that his psychological studies (and interests) often dealt with spirituality and the occult, thus could not be shared with, or understood by, those around him.
Isolation and the feeling of being an outcast or outsider seems to be fairly common among visionaries, inventors, artists, and geniuses in general because of their tendency to think outside the box.
Not all geniuses have been outcasts; not all outcasts are geniuses. That’s just to say that if you feel you don’t really belong or fit in, it may be a sign of intelligence and independent thinking.
You may feel like an outcast if…
1. You are in the wrong environment
Even if you were to turn into the most outgoing, charismatic, extroverted person overnight, your chances to have fulfilling relationships would still be close to zero if you were to stay in the wrong environment.
You may feel like an outcast only because you are surrounded by people who have different attitudes and/or interests. Perhaps if you moved or met new friends things would be different.
2. You like solitude too much
We all have met a person who has to be around people all the time to function. Usually, this isn’t healthy. But neither is the opposite end of the spectrum — being addicted to solitude, to the point of missing out and turning into a recluse.
Solitude is easy. No noise, no distractions. Plenty of time and freedom. If you’re an introvert, you know what I mean. While there is nothing wrong with loving solitude per se, you don’t want it to prevent you from having a better social life.
3. You are more mature than others
You are going to have a hard time fitting in if your attitude is that of a (more) mature person. In general, people don’t want to socialize with those who know and feel more than them — they find it intimidating.
The solution, again, is to change your environment and hopefully meet like-minded people. Also, I have found that those who are smarter and more mature than average tend to get on well with those who are older than them.
4. You don’t follow any trends
Which is also a sign of maturity. It’s totally fine to follow a trend — political trends, fashion trends, hobbies etc. — but it should always be a conscious choice rather than subconscious emulation.
If you consciously filter what goes on around you, and act rather than react, and don’t necessarily get involved in trends unless you genuinely believe it’s good for yourself and others, this may make you look like a bit of an outcast.
5. You don’t socialize proactively
Lastly, don’t always expect others to invite you, to initiate conversations, to get to know you on a deeper level. If you feel like an outcast, it may be because so far you have never socialized proactively.
Prioritize having a healthy social life and do anything you can to meet like-minded people. This could mean joining a class, moving to a new city, or even talking to strangers — you never know what that random conversation may lead to.