Solitude or Loneliness? Its My Choice!

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So it’s been a little bit since I’ve opened up on the blog. I wanted to address a topic that most non-introverts can’t seem to wrap their heads around. The idea of solitude. When bringing up self-imposed solitude I am always met with the same assumptions. Because I spend a lot of time alone, people think I’m bored, depressed, or lonely. Truth is I rarely feel or experience any of those feelings.

Why should I be bored?

The thing about me and many introverts is that we don’t NEED to be around people to have fun or for entertainment. Some of my favorite things to do at home are read books, watch YouTube videos, listen to music, play video games or write. All of which can be done solo or with other people. With all those options at my disposal how could I get bored? Not easily that’s for sure. So I need you to understand that there is a difference in being alone and being lonely.

You can be alone and not be lonely.

Being alone is a status. It describes your current situation. If you are by yourself then by definition you are alone. Here’s the thing though in this connected world people are a few keystrokes away. You can reach most people at any time of day or night. In some cases you can talk to these people via video. In either case you may be physically alone but you are not technically alone.

You can be with people and still feel lonely.

Have you ever been surrounded by people and still felt lonely? I have. Typically this only happens when I’m around a lot of couples. Sometimes spending time with couples when you’re single makes you feel like something is missing. I’m not talking about 3rd or 5th wheeling but being at a party where most of the party goers are coupled up. Arriving solo and watching everyone enjoy the company of their partners can suck. In some cases, you can be in a relationship and not feel connected to your partner because of how you interpret intimacy, love, and togetherness.

I experienced this in a previous relationship. Not on my end but on the end of the girl. No matter how much I tried to be there she would say she felt alone. I didn’t understand where the disconnect was.

But then a friend recommended a book to read.

That book is called the 5 Love Languages by Gary D Chapman. In the book it talks about the 5 primary ways that people perceive love. It was an eye opener for me. The book helped me figure out why what I was doing was having little effect. And what I could be doing instead to effectively convey love. Unfortunately it was too little too late. That relationship ended before I could make necessary changes.

So what about depression?

People jokingly say that spending as much time as I do alone “sounds depressing.” It’s really not depressing in itself to enjoy alone time. But I would be lying if I said I never got depressed. In fact I felt depressed recently which is what inspired me to write this. For the most part I don’t crave companionship. But every once in awhile I have a thirst to be around other humans.

Being a social introvert is trying at times. I go through extremes, some days I want to spend days locked in my room doing whatever my heart desires. Other days I want to be out and about with people I know and like. One night not too long ago I went from one extreme to the next in a single night.

I was chillin…

Most weekends I spend at home editing blogs and creating graphics for the next week. Well on this night I was taking a break from that and jumped on Snapchat to see what people were up to. Damn near everyone on Snapchat was out having a blast. To give you some context this was late in October so people were out at parties, clubs, and amusement parks. There was a Halloween party 5 mins from my house were a few of my friends were. Instead of getting back to work I started thinking, “wow, all of these people are out having fun and I didn’t get one invite?” I was instantly upset. Was I not good enough to go out with? Probably not the case but that’s how I felt.

As I continued browsing Snapchat stories I started feeling worse and worse. I almost wanted to cry, no bullshit. My downward spiral into sadness was out of control. Was this my fault? Perhaps all the time I spent alone made people think that I wasn’t interested in spending time with them.

Eventually, I got a grip.

I finally jumped off of Snapchat and all social media for the night. My only option was to go to sleep. Funny thing about me is a good night sleep normal resolves any negative feelings I have. In fact the way I know that I have a serious issue to work on is if it upsets me consistently for 2 days or more. Anyway that’s just a little story from a night in my life. If you made it this far thanks for reading.

Remember this, when it comes to introverts, we do love our solitude but we still want to feel wanted. I know we may turn down invites from time to time or even often. But don’t stop inviting we truly appreciate the thought.

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