Friday, August 6, 2010

On Being a Loner

So in a lot of ways, this post is linked to the one on loneliness. Society in general tends to look down on loners of all types, painting them with a similar antisocial brush. I wish I could say that Mormon social circles were different, but it almost seems like the attitude is more pronounced there. I even saw a list of clues once, obviously not from a general authority, that included the ‘desire to be alone’ as a clue that you were not feeling the influence of the Spirit. Needless to say, that one irked me a little. Well, me being me, more than a little, but my lack of patience isn’t the point of this post. :)

The truth is that not everyone can be around people all the time. A lot of people are introverts, which means that simply being around people is exhausting. I’m one of the more extreme examples, to the point where I have a definite need to recharge after being around other people. Depriving me of that quiet time alone quickly leads to a lack of emotional health. My brother, by probable contrast is an extreme extrovert. Being around people energizes him, and when he is alone he quickly gets lethargic and grumpy.

It’s not that I don’t like people, really. There are plenty of people that I enjoy having fun with, or discussing things, or any number of other social activities. I just need a little time alone afterwards to recover. To sum it up, I’m not so much antisocial as I am a social hermit. :)

What occasionally bothers me, however, is the perception that not wanting to be surrounded by people all the time is automatically weird or gives some kind of outsider status. There’s a stigma there that I honestly don’t think is needed or helpful, spout whatever ‘humans are a social animal’ reasonings you will. As much as we are a people of groups and cultures, we are also a species of thinkers and ponderers. Needs for individuality and solitude do not need to submit to some kind of social pressure to always be surrounded by others in order to be productive or emotionally healthy, but that pressure always seems to be there. I wonder how many other introverts try to bury their own actual needs in order to fit in with other people’s expectations.

Oh well, yet another rant from me, huh? In any case, I hope you are all doing well. I will try to update again tomorrow, if laziness, stress and distractions do not foil me. See you around!

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