“I’d be less of a loner if the conversations in my head weren’t far more entertaining than the conversations I have with other people.”
That was my rebuttal in high school to a well-meaning teacher who shared her concern with me about my solitary nature. I often found myself throughout childhood defending the scarce urge to socialize with other people my age.
It wasn’t that I disliked these people. Having no interest in quoting ‘witty’ movie lines, complaining about school, participating in teenage gossip and going out for drinks on Saturday nights did not mean I was plotting the demise of humanity at large. I accepted that they had their tastes and I had mine. I knew this, but what bothered me was that the rest didn’t understand that. They treated people who don’t socialize constantly as if they had some major dysfunction.
I read a lot when I was young, and it was this that allowed me to feel comfortable in my solitary disposition, realizing that I wasn’t alone in being this way, I wasn’t abnormal. It is part of being human to desire understanding, empathy from others – it comes from our interdependence as natural living beings, the need to feel connected – even if in loners this comes from a distance, sometimes centuries worth – ironically. I assume that is why many of you will read this article, in search for solace and reassurance of social inadequacy of others standards, to find historical figures who spoke of the virtues of solitude, and the wisdom that comes in aloneness.
I have broken them down into categories: