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Why People Who Like Spending Time Alone Can Connect With Others More Deeply

Why People Who Like Spending Time Alone Can Connect With Others More Deeply

Loners make great friends.

While this idea seems counterintuitive and is not likely to show up on a bumper sticker, it turns out it’s true.

To be clear, the loners in this case are those who like to be alone. They are loners by choice.

They should not be confused with those whose negative life experiences or biological predisposition (or both) have resulted in certain neuroses or pathologies that render them a better fit for “reality” television than for social interaction.

Jonathan Cheek, a psychologist at Wellesley College, refers to this unfortunate group as “enforced loners.” Many of them eschew being alone, but are left with no other option. As such, they are prone to loneliness and the stress responses that come with that. It’s not a good scene.

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Loners by choice are a different group. And they naturally possess certain characteristics that make them well-suited in making deeper connections with others.

They have little need for peer affiliation and acceptance.

Loners and introverted types are not particularly concerned about how many friends they have on Facebook or how many times something they tweeted has been retweeted. They may not even have a Facebook page or Twitter account.

This lack of concern is a real time and energy saver because, let’s face it: social media can be a heavy drain on both of these fronts. Furthermore, since loners lack this need for affirmation and are not as prone to the opinions of others, they are able to see the world in a different light and offer new insights.

They spend time finding those who resonate with them.

Loners by choice are not the disheveled friendless wandering the streets. In fact, in plenty of cases, loners can also be extroverts and may well have vast social circles. But they aren’t about to bestow the “bestie” label upon everyone in their circle.

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They see no benefit in maintaining false friendships. They prefer instead to invest their time on developing lasting friendships with people who share their ideas and tend to place a premium on intellect.

This is important to them.

They have small circles of friends and are loyal in their friendships.

While a loner would sooner pull out his own teeth than foster a fake friendship, finding deep and enduring friendships based on intellect and ideas can be difficult.

This is why there’s such a deep connection when people who like being alone actually encounter and befriend other people who like to be alone (even if it’s hard to say how they met in the first place). The loyalty to such a kindred spirit is nearly built-in.

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Furthermore, they can enjoy their time together, but don’t feel an attachment to or dependency on one another.

They find vitality in solitude.

These folks are drained by everyday stimuli — phones, media, noise, and even too much light. They find a sense of comfort in detaching from the world. In fact, they are actually stimulated when alone. This is their version of the true extrovert’s night at the club. Being alone is their jam.

Even extroverted loners with an extensive social circle will consciously choose to detach from social groups because they know it’s a healthier decision for them.

This choice is sometimes interpreted as indifference or even haughtiness. But that carries as much truth as reality TV.

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“Those who choose the living room over the ballroom may have inherited their temperament,” says Cheeks. So yes, some loners were given or born with this adoration for time alone.

But others have come to recognize the secret joys of the solitary life. According to the article “Loners Tend To Be More Intellectual And Loyal Friends” on iheartintelligence.com, they “actually have a freer and less stressful experience that can lead to creativity, growth, learning and exceptionally deep and fulfilling relationships with those they choose to bless with their time.”

So next time you’re feeling in need of a deep connection with someone, consider your loner friends.

They may be hard to find, but the connection will be worth the effort.

Do you have a loner friend who’s been there for you? Share your story.

Featured photo credit: Girl Sitting On Bridge With Stream And Fall Leaves via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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