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.
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.
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.
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.
“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