My Life as a Loner


Being a Loner is Liberating

Being a Loner is Liberating

In 7th grade, Steve Anderson approached me in the school library and said, “You’re a loner.” I peeked over my shoulder at my classmates clustered at other tables and hoped they hadn’t heard the comment. Red bloomed in my cheeks and my ears burned. Then Steve tried to engage me in a conversation asking me why I was a loner. I wanted him to go away, but he persisted. He kept asking why. The answer should have been obvious to both of us, but we were young and inarticulate. I was a mega dork – socially awkward and painfully shy. I desperately wanted friends, but didn’t have a clue on how to make them. 

My shyness and the more obvious social defects vanished over the years. I became pretty, developed a wicked sense of humor, and learned to fit in better. And I’m now ridiculously outgoing – I chat up strangers wherever I go and accept social invitations from people I barely know. I love to introduce people to each other, which is a hangover from childhood. I hate to see anyone to forced to hide in corners and not be included in conversation.

I have a few close friends and many, many social friends (people who I meet up at places for meetups, parties, and dancing). But I admit it, deep down I’m a loner. I travel my life as my own complete entity, not needing people as much as others seem to. I prefer my own company to anyone else’s. And I love the freedom of being able to do whatever I want without negotiating with another person.

However, I’m a loner who loves meeting people more than anything else in the world. A strange paradox. But I’ve learned to navigate the contradiction in a simple way. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I go it alone. But I take myself to places where there are lots of people. I take personal invitations seriously. I like it when someone I don’t know that well invites me to hear them DJ, go to their apartment for a BBQ, or join their friends for brunch. I make the time to go. I get to know the host better, and I get to meet new, amazing people.

But I usually I come alone and leave alone. And then I go out and do something by myself. Like dancing. Dancing is my favorite thing to do in the world and, for many reasons, I prefer to do it alone. Dancing is a good loner activity – the music is too loud for talk and everybody is crushed together so it isn’t painfully obvious that I’m solo. I dance with people when I’m out, but I’m not attached to any particular dance partner. I’m not antisocial by any means. 

Lonerdom has a bad rap. I wish I had told Steve to fuck off back in 7th grade.


7 responses to “My Life as a Loner

  1. I have noticed that moments like that, which are so emblazened in my memory, are often not even remembered by the other person. Igmont swears to this day that he barely recals that we had a fight in seventh grade. Tom Ruddell swears he doesn’t remember it at all. I remember it all too perfectly. There was a fight, I lost, Tom was witness.
    My only point in this is to wonder if Steve would even remember this moment in the library that you remember so well. Let’s get him anyway 🙂

  2. hey, thanks for making friends on facebook (i’m harris’s grantwriting colleague).

    I have the same loner thing going on, and have for most of my life. The negotiating with someone else has always been difficult, and leads to… shall we say “spirited discussions” when my girlfriend has other plans for me.

  3. @brendancalling – I’m going to contact you soon. I need other grant writer friends to talk to. Our profession can be lonely and I don’t think grantwriting stories really work for the lay audience. As for the loner thing, I’m glad I now know a kindred spirit. I don’t think many people know how gratifying solitude and introspection can be.

  4. I liked the way you have narrated things. I enjoyed reading the article. And as far as you being loner.. nothing much I can say..

    good luck

  5. I most definetly am a loner. I could be in a room full of people and still feel alone. Im gradually coming to the social life more & more each day.Basically I step out on my faith in God. He comforts me by knowing he watching and taking a fair account of all. When I am I doubt myself but once the party is started I surprise myself by being the life of the party. Even everyone still does’nt understand me they get the feeling im working on something. Most of all being a loner is in your HEAD. Learning to open up is your task.

    • I appreciate your comment. Thank you. I have a pretty full social life, but I always come and go from places alone. I have become so independent that it’s almost a fault. Sometimes I wish I’d let more people in, but I believe that the only person who really understands me is me. My spirituality is more new agey than yours, but having a relationship with a higher power connects me to something greater than myself.

  6. Reblogged this on The Life of Decci and commented:
    “I travel my life as my own complete entity, not needing people as much as others seem to. I prefer my own company to anyone else’s. And I love the freedom of being able to do whatever I want without negotiating with another person.”

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