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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 September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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