HSP Introvert Feeling Like You Don’t Belong? Here’s How To Deal

By Anni


I don’t belong here. I don’t fit in. I’m too different.

Drop me off at a barbecue, a kid’s birthday party, a book club, a work meeting – any kind of group setting, really – and that’s how I will almost certainly feel.

Everyone else seems to be having a good time. Laughter. Jokes. Banter. Small talk. Topics I have no interest in.

Or worse. Topics I vehemently disagree on. Topics I gave up arguing about a long time ago.

So I put on the fake smile and hold it in. I stay silent. The misfit.

And yet, human beings have a basic need to feel like they belong and to feel like they are accepted and appreciated. It’s called belongingness in psychology literature.

How can us misfits make sure we meet this need to belong without totally compromising our innate nature and beliefs?

Feeling like you don't belong? Do you often feel like the outsider or the misfit? Me too! Here's how I have learned to deal with it.

How To Deal When You Are Feeling Like You Don’t Belong

1. KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE

The feeling of not fitting in is very lonely, but remember that you are not alone. It may seem like everyone else at the birthday party is having a grand time, but there may be others, just like you, who are hiding their true selves. And not just at that particular party, but all the other parties and meetings and conferences too. There are literally billions of introverts and highly sensitive people in this world.  We are everywhere. 🙂

2. BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH WHO YOU ARE

Try to figure out why exactly you feel like the misfit. Which parts of you do not mesh well with others?

Here are a few potential scenarios:

  • Your preferred communication style is different. For example, you are a quiet introvert while most of your friends are boisterous extraverts.  Maybe you are more of a deep discussion type than a banterer.
  • There is some other kind of personality clash. For example, you are a sensitive feeler type, while most people you work with are logical thinker types.
  • There is a values conflict. For example, you are the one liberal in a family of die-hard conservatives.
  • You simply have different interests. Maybe your neighbors are all into football when you’d rather talk about reality TV.

If you are ALWAYS feeling like the misfit (like me!), you probably have a not-so-common combination of personality traits, values, and interests that makes you different from most people you are likely to run into.

When you are an Always-Misfit, it’s easy to start thinking that there is something wrong with you.  And someone may even have told you that you should just get on with the program and be more like everyone else.

But here’s the thing.  All you are is different.

You are unique.  And special.  And yes, you may even be weird.  But that’s ok.  It’s ok to be different.  If nobody ever stood apart from the mainstream, if nobody ever dared be different, there would never be change.  There would never be progress. Things would never get better.

Different = Potential for Change.

3. DO YOU EVEN WANT TO FIT IN…?

Once you have really honed in on the whys, the next question to ask is if you even want to fit in.  Is this group worth the trouble?  Can you do things to fit in better?  Are “the others” willing to meet you half way?

Maybe you really love your extravert friends and you just need to come out of your shell a little.

Maybe your family is willing to consider a truce and not talk about politics when you are around.

4. …OR IS IT TIME TO MOVE ON?

Or maybe not. Sometimes the differences are just too great.

I’m not saying that we should only look for and hang out with carbon copies of ourselves.  With some groups of people, it’s possible to feel right at home DESPITE your differences.  But if fitting into a group would require you to constantly act out of character or to change your values, take the feeling of not belonging as a sign that it’s time to move on.

It doesn’t feel good to feel like the weirdo of the group. But it actually IS a good thing. It’s a sign that you are supposed to be somewhere else, doing something different. Let the feeling push you away. Let it shove you. Let it force you onto a new path.

Inspirational Quotes || Belonging Quotes || Quotes About Loneliness || Quotes About Change || The feeling of not belonging is a sign that you are supposed to be somewhere else.

5. START LOOKING FOR YOUR PEOPLE

While you may not fit in with your current group of friends, neighbors, or colleagues, it doesn’t mean you won’t ever fit in anywhere. There are seven billion people in the world, and that means that even if you are somewhat of a misfit, there are a whole lot of people out there who share with you the things that matter most.

But since those people are probably not going to come knocking at your door asking if you are allowed to come out to play, here are a few ideas for proactively seeking a new community:

  • Take a class in something that you are interested in.
  • Join an organization fighting for a cause you feel passionate about.
  • Start planning a career change if it’s work where you feel out of place.
  • Read books, blogs, and articles and watch movies and documentaries that are well aligned with your worldview.
  • Stop following “those people” (you know who I mean) and fill your Facebook feed with updates from people and organizations you feel at home with.

THE POINT

So the solution here is to become comfortable with who you are and then figure out where you actually want to belong.

The real breakthrough for me has been to stop fighting the mistfit-feeling and stop trying to make it go away.

I don’t belong in places most people belong, but that’s not always a bad thing and it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with me.

Once I stopped trying to make the square me fit a round hole, I could focus on making a life that I do belong in with people who I feel comfortable being myself around!

P.S. WANNA LEARN MORE ABOUT CREATING A LIFE YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT?

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About the author 

Anni

Hi! I'm a life coach, a Certified MBTI® Practitioner, and a mentor for stressed out introverts and highly sensitive people. I used to be one myself! My mission is to help you discover your true self and create a life you ACTUALLY like.

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  1. Hahaha, love #5 – Start looking for your people… So true. We spent time focussing on people who may never understand/appreciate us when we can put that energy into finding those who will understand us. Love this post.

  2. I love this – especially the “is it time to move on” part. I felt like I didn’t fit for a long time and actually letting go and moving on somewhere new helped a lot

  3. Wow and here I was trying to fit in that round hole. Thank you, I am mostly a loner cause I refused to be just as everyone around me and at times felt like the me does not entertain them as the next person would. I am weird and it’s okay

  4. Hi Anni!

    I just came upon your blog this evening and I am truly enjoying your articles. I am a fellow introverted-highly-sensitive self-proclaimed “misfit” myself who also happens to be a mental health counselor. I am a more skills-based therapist than psychoanalyst for the very reason you probably didn’t have a great experience with mainstream therapy when you were younger. I learned, through my own experiences, that I also needed to learn how to live life on my own terms as an introvert and recognized that many of my clients also struggled with thinking that they were somehow missing out on life/feeling out of step with society because society appears to be running on the fuel of extroverts. I find that once people begin to explore their personality type; needs/unmet needs; and be given an opportunity to explore the concept of creating a life that works for them as an individual (as opposed to the standard recipe of “happiness” – though I prefer the concept of “contentment); we are all able to stop judging ourself so harshly for not fitting the “mold” of society – and maybe even stop worrying so much about what everyone else things – as you mentioned in this article. I loved this article and will encourage my clients to read it themselves as a conversation starter for some of their own thoughts and feelings about this very common issue many of us HSP-introvert type people struggle with. HOPEFULLY someday, as we all continue this discussion with more openness, our extroverted family and friends will have more patience and understanding… one can dream!

    1. Hi Stacia, thank you so much for reading and commenting! 🙂 It’s good to know that there are now counselors out there who get it. I share your dream – I think as more of us talk about it openly and reach out, the awareness and understanding will keep growing among both HSPs and non-HSPs.

  5. How the fuck do I find my people in Australia when I cannot get the fuck out of here while I’m so isolated in this place?? I looked SO HARD and I still got no friends in real life nor any online Australian ones.. I wish I could live in a libertarian sort of state in the US to be free much more easily but nope, Australia is the opposite..

  6. Hi Anni ,
    I am Sadhna and I always feels like there is something wrong with me I don’t fit in society I am super introvert when I wasn’t know about this personality type I used to think like why I am like this why can’t I talk to people why can’t I make conversation why I am like this why I am not interested in things which people enjoy I knew I am abnormal but when I discovered that i am not alone I felt relief somehow but still I am trying to force me to change myself and I am becoming more and more depressed. I am going through a hard day’s I am confused I don’t know what to do where to go I want to hide somewhere but after reading your article I am definitely gaining confidence in me again ..I will do my best to understand myself so that I could feel that happiness which I have lost✌️?☺️

    1. Hi Sadhna, thank you for sharing your story. I think it’s hard for us introverts to feel normal, since we are often kind of hidden from each other. There are lots of us in the world, but we either try to act like extraverts or we are by ourselves introverting. 🙂 I think it really helps to connect with other introverts. Either online or one-on-one. None of us are into big group chit-chat sessions. 🙂

  7. thank you anni this really helped me a lot. I am also a introvert and I have been trying to fit in for a while, but reading this article changed a lot and thank you for posting it

  8. Hey my names Abbie! I´m always the odd-one-out because i'm half tomboy half girly girl. I have a friend who is a girly girl and I love her so much! but i still feel like i don't belong. Please help!

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