I’ve known quite a few “loners” in my time and I’ve always marveled at their fiercely independent spirit. In fact, I’ve found that most of my loner friends, are actually quite content in life and they seem to be very fulfilled and well-rounded.
Sure, we know that most people are outgoing and like to be social and within that group, we also know the ones who are hyper-social — they’re always out and about, meeting people and doing things. For me, the hyper-social friends are the ones that used to amaze me and in fact still do, but now, its for different reasons.
As We Age
When I was younger, I desperately wanted to be like the hyper-social people — I marveled at how easily they talked to people and how open they were about joining teams and clubs. I envied their confidence in being in every school play and I looked on in awe as they spoke before large gatherings of people. For me, at that time, I wanted to be just like them. Fast forward a few years and I did indeed become a bit like them — I embraced a more outgoing, socially active existence and life was good…for a while. While my active social life was burgeoning, I also noticed that my quieter friends, while not excessively active, seemed to be gaining something even more valuable — they were solidifying their happiness. These “loner” friends often declined invitations to parties or gatherings and instead, they went off and did the things they loved: they took a solo trip to the deserts of Arizona, they traveled to the Swiss Alps, they went on a cruise (yes, by themselves), they enrolled in classes and did so much more. As we age, the fun, happy-go-lucky days of constant go, go go…sort of lose their luster.
How This All Appealed To Me
While some of my more hyper social friends looked at our reclusive friends with a bit of disdain, I looked at them with a bit of envy. Of course I enjoyed being social and doing lots of things with friends and I absolutely loved meeting new people, but sometimes, I just craved to be on my own. It was a bit of a quandary, because I was torn between having fun with others and doing the things I loved to do, because usually, they didn’t match up. I had to decide to either pull back drastically from my very social friends, or keep things the way they were…or did I?
Speaking to my more “loner” friends really helped me because as they explained it to me, they weren’t introverts or anti-social (which I already knew), but they were just more introspective. For them, they needed to have much needed alone time so that they could have that tranquil space to really be themselves — to genuinely enjoy what they needed to feel fulfilled in life. My loner friends weren’t loners per se, but rather, were just contemplative, deep thinkers who had found a good balance between both worlds.
“Deep in my heart I know I am a loner. I have tried to blend in with the world and be sociable, but the more people I meet the more disappointed I am, so I’ve learned to enjoy myself, my family and a few good friends.”— Steven Aitchison
Steven Aithison’s words will undoubtedly resonate with many people. Steven chalks up his transformation into being a loner to the types of people he meets — they clearly disappoint him, so he withdraws. For me and my other reserved friends, it really comes down to making a choice that allows us to be our true selves. In other words, being happy with one’s self and one’s core group of people — family and close friends. I believe this is one of the key ingredients of being a positive person — one who focuses on the people and things that make them thrive — learning, exploring, understanding, helping. If we’re so busy living a hyper social life, will we ever actually accomplish the very things that make us thrive in life? Finding the right balance between our outward social life and our inward “lonerism” seems to be the key to having the best of both worlds.
“Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth. Have holy curiosity. Make your life worth living.” – Albert Einstein
“In stillness lives wisdom. In quiet you’ll find peace. In solitude you’ll remember yourself.” – Robin Sharma