Monday, July 13, 2015

Celebrating Being a Loner

I've been a loner for as long as I can remember.  Not that I didn't wish now and then that I was more gregarious.  Sure I did.  But my imaginary world was where I felt best, especially in childhood.  These days I'm kind of caught in the middle.  I love friendship and socializing, but I also love my alone time and solitude.

What is a loner?

According to Merriam-Webster, a loner is, "a person who is often alone or prefers to be alone."  It's a personality trait, a lifestyle, not a disease or something bad.  Being a loner doesn't automatically mean a person is lonely, although loners certainly can have feelings of loneliness now and then like anyone else.  Loners are often shy and quiet. Rather than socialize, a loner would rather be alone with her own thoughts, engaging in activities that are personally gratifying. Loners often enjoy creative activities. (I've heard that loners tend to be writers, for one, which I think is pretty cool.) They can be kind, arrogant, sensitive, humble, nasty--anything.  

Things to consider about loners
  • Loners are not necessarily less happy than out-going people
  • Loners could have been abused or be an abuser
  • Loners tend to live their own lives, not being bothered by norms and social pressures, thus their personalities evolve, and they are often wise
  • Loners may have been brought up to value privacy
  • Loners may not have had many friends while growing up
  • If you are alone and unhappy, if you feel out of place, if you are depressed, or if you have suicidal thoughts, seek professional help

What I like about being a loner
As a loner, I love quiet and solitude.  I can concentrate.  I have a hard time concentrating when there are a lot of people around, lots of calls coming in, lots of things going on.  I love being able to disappear into my work, a book, a creative project, and pretty much knowing I won't be disturbed.  It's my form of meditation.  The words that come to my mind are "revitalizing," "healing," and "cleansing."  I can let my imagination loose and revel there for hours.  Another thing I like about being a loner is not having to deal with other peoples' drama, waiting around for late comers or no shows.

What I don't like about being a loner

Occasional loneliness can be a bummer.  Also, feeling left out.  I get frustrated when I feel left out even if I didn't want to hang out with a certain person anyway.  When I feel detached from the community and friends, I get anxious at times.  When I do see people, I sometimes feel lost because they are talking about things I don't know or am not involved in..  It makes me feel out of touch.  So, what do I want then?  Can I have it both ways--keeping to myself and socializing?  Hmm.  I wonder.

I think the important thing is to live day to day in a way that feels comfortable.  Go with your gut.  If you want a hectic, fun-filled, roller-coaster-ride type of life, go for it.  If you'd rather be by yourself, meditate, and get lost in your own thoughts, that's cool too.  Everyone is different, and that's good.  Be the authentic you, without second-guessing or criticizing yourself.  Hold dear those who accept you the way you are and stand by you through life's trials, celebrations, and changes. 
Are you a loner?  If so, how has it affected your life?

Sources:, Introverts Are Not Failed Extroverts, by Susan Newman, Ph.D., 3 Loner Personality Traits, Field Guide to the Loner: The Real Insiders, Elizabeth Svoboda


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