1. A person who is or prefers to be alone, especially one who avoids the company of others.
2. Someone that likes being alone, and is happy with what they are.
3. Someone who doesn’t need other people around them to validate their own existence.
One of the most important things I have learned about myself in college is that I am inherently a loner. And I think one of the most common misconceptions about loners is that they are inherently lonely. Essentially all social beings believe this. Even a lot of loners believe this. But it’s not true.
1. Lone; solitary; without company; companionless.
2. Affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome.
3. A powerful feeling of emptiness and isolation; feeling disconnected and alienated from other people.
I have spent my fair share of time being lonely. But it has nothing to do with spending time by myself. On the contrary, the worst feeling of loneliness, at least for a loner, is when you make the effort to join a social situation, to belong to a group of people, and you fail. Because 99% of the time, you do fail. You can’t help it. You can’t succeed at something that is completely against your very nature.
The happiest time of my life was when I spent every Saturday night at home reading a novel, had never attended a school dance, and was completely oblivious to the fact that this made me abnormal. It was around eighth grade that I had the revelation that my peers were leading a very different life than I was. They hung out the mall after school and attended parties on the weekend. They didn’t define their “friends” as just the group of classmates with whom they ate lunch – they actually did things with their friends outside of school.
So I entered high school with the commendable goal of becoming cool, or at the very least sociable. For a time it worked. I talked, I flirted. But as graduation neared, I knew that nothing had really changed. The group of people I ate lunch with still had parties to which I was never invited. Sure, I had one or two close friends that I would sometimes hang out with on the weekends. I was occasionally thought of to make plans with for dinner before the homecoming dance. But I was still unhappy; I still hadn’t achieved the goal that I knew would bring me happiness.
So I entered college with the laudable goal of becoming popular, or at the very least a social butterfly. I made a conscious effort to put myself out of my comfort zone and into large groups of people. I attached myself to the cliques that hung out in the dorm lobby until 2 am and made frequent trips to Wendy’s.
But eventually, I spent less time in the lobby and more time in my room, reading science fiction novels, discussing my roommate’s latest fan fic, or studying ancient Greek. And it was in these activities that I stopped thinking about what I was missing out on by not being invited on the latest beach trip.
As the last four years have passed, I have continued to struggle to be content with my status as a loner. When I just let myself be, I am happy, or at the very least, satisfied. But there never ceases to be phases where I start focusing on what mainstream culture tries to dictates, which is that I couldn’t possibly be happy if I don’t have a date on Saturday, whether it be with a fabulous guy or at least my roommates. I’m hoping that the change in scenery as I leave college will provide me with the push to settle into myself, to be content with my real personality, and to finally spend a dozen Saturday nights in a row reading the books that have been collecting dust on my bookshelves.