Hooray for…loners!

Hello everyone.  My name is Meryl and I am a loner.

I love people, I really do, and I count myself lucky to have such lovely friends who I enjoy spending time with.  But I have to be honest here and say that I always return to my own company with relief and joy.  I don’t think this is any kind of news to my loved ones, who have endured decades of me sloping off, or being kind of hard to get to, or just…not…there – and I am extremely grateful to still be on some Christmas card lists.  My behaviour has definitely caused problems.

Apparently I am not the only one, though.  Here is Anneli Rufus, in her book, Party of One:


Such a simple concept. So concrete. So easy to represent on charts or diagrams with dots and pushpins either in or out. Yet real life is not dots. Some of us appear to be in, but we are out. And that is where we want to be. Not just want but need, the way tuna need the sea….

We do not require company. The opposite: in varying degrees, it bores us, drains us, makes our eyes glaze over. Overcomes us like a steamroller. Of course the rest of the world doesn’t understand.

Someone says to you, “Let’s have lunch.” You clench. Your sinews leap within you, angling for escape. What others thrive on, what they take for granted, the contact and confraternity and sharing that gives them strength leaves us empty. After what others would call a fun day out together, we feel as if we have been at the Red Cross, donating blood….

I read somewhere else that this is the difference between an introvert and an extrovert.  It’s not that an introvert doesn’t have social skills or like people, but that they find being with others draining and their own company revitalising…whilst an extrovert finds the opposite.

Wow.  I am not the only one!  I am not unusual!  Discovering this has been like finding a new kind of cheese.


2 thoughts on “Hooray for…loners!

  1. It’s a tricky one. The fact of the matter is, if I’d been more confident and less, well, furtive, about my loner inclinations, I could’ve saved myself and others a lot of grief. There’s nothing like a loner who doesn’t want to be there for wet blanket grouchiness, for example… And maybe we do deserve a bit of “stick” sometimes. After all, I really do believe that everyone needs human contact, and loners can be quite bad at ensuring they get enough, even though that “enough” is going to so much less than the amount needed by the gregarious.

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