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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the weekend: Do you have trouble being alone?

Walking alone by al-fahad515

I know I’m weird, but the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the headline of an an essay at Salon this week was, Really? People need to be told how to do this?

The essay is entitled “How to Be Alone” — and though I know intellectually that many, perhaps most, people don’t like to be alone, I still found myself marvelling at Tracy Clark-Flory’s piece, because I don’t recognize myself in it at all. Some excerpts:

“The fear of public speaking is a mere tickle in comparison to the seismic ripples of horror that reverberate through the heart when faced with spending the weekend alone,” says [Judy] Ford [the author of “Single: The Art of Being Satisfied, Fulfilled and Independent”]. “People are more courageous about going to the dentist than they are about eating in a restaurant alone.” That’s true for young as well as old: Many seniors feel lonely “because they have not developed their inner life,” she says.

As for making the most of whatever degree of aloneness that you have — whether it’s being a bachelor or living in a new town with no friends — [Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project”] says, “You don’t wait for circumstances to change in order to have the life that you want. If you want to go to France, don’t think, ‘Oh, as soon as I have a boyfriend I’ll go to France’ or ‘As soon as I get married I’ll fix up my apartment.’ Have the life that you want as much as you can now.” That’s instead of putting your life on hold, or living in ignorance of what you do have: “It’s things like electricity, the minute your electricity goes out you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, if only I had electricity I’d be so happy!’ But it’s not like we walk around in an ecstasy every day over electricity.”

Not having an inner life? Not being able to eat alone in a restaurant? I cannot imagine such things! What do people think about who don’t have an inner life?

I find that people tend to conflate the concepts of alone and lonely, which aren’t at all the same things for me… but maybe they are for a lot of people.
Do you have trouble being alone? If you do, how do you cope with it? If you don’t, do you find that people are surprised to learn that about you?

(The photo above is “Walking alone” by al-fahad515 on deviantArt.)

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD/QOTW, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • Jan_Willem

    I’ve been single for most of my adult life, but fortunately I had an inner life to keep me company.  Perhaps this problem affects extrovert persons more severely than geeky, generally more introverted types? (see e.g. Susan Cain’s TED talk)

  • Book Lady

    I actually prefer being alone.  It doesn’t scare me to travel alone, eat alone, go to movies alone, or live alone.  I, personally, have a hard time understanding people who always have to be with people.  And yes, people are always shocked when they find out that I prefer to not be around them. ;)

  • FormerlyKnownAsBill

    “People are more courageous about going to the dentist than they are about eating in a restaurant alone.”

    really? i feel like this is something the vast majority of people grow out of.  anyway, yeah, alone is good.

  • I don’t mind being alone at all.  I was a loner growing up, and learned that it was handy – I could do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it and enjoy myself.  I still go to to movies more often by myself than with my husband, I’ve traveled solo and eat in restaurants probably at least once a week.

    It’s particularly good that I had this skill this year, when I’ve been frequently sick, had a major surgery and haven’t worked much.  While Jim works from home, he works, and I don’t expect him to keep me entertained.  Of course, being a book/TV/movie fan meant I lots to do, even when I could hardly leave the house.  And being online meant I had some interaction with others.

  • iakobos

    I’ve never had a problem being alone.  I enjoy my times of solitude.   For the record I have a wife and a bunch of kids, so home life is never alone.  However, I’ve traveled alone on business all over the US and around the world multiple times and enjoyed it very much.  I usually spend the time catching up on my reading when I go out to eat.  And I enjoy visiting with my business contacts during work.  Admittedly, after about 2 weeks of being in an international hotel, where language barriers make things more difficult, I’m generally ready to get back stateside pronto.

  •  It’s always a shock to certain people that you really don’t want to spend hours listening to them.

  • NorthernStar

    I don’t think I’d still be a single parent, over a decade after I became one, if I had a problem with being alone, and handling my life alone.  Quite the opposite, I think I’m too used to independence and probably my attitude has put off anyone interested in “teaming.”

    However, how alone is alone?  Is no boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife alone?  Is having a hobby/travelling without family members alone? I’d say no to the latter, because, for me, going home to someone isn’t alone.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The only thing I don’t like to do alone is drinking. :-)

    That being said, I’m not sure I’ve ever been alone for any length of time. The only time in my life that I lived alone was one semester in college when I had a single dorm room. But living on campus isn’t really living alone, anyway. Aside from that, I lived with parents (till I was 21), roommates (21-24, minus one semester), a girlfriend/spouse (24-25), and kids (26 on). I suppose there was the occasional weekend in that 21-24 range where I would hide out at home or wander up to the city on my own, but doing so never struck me as remarkable.

    So, what is this “alone” of which you speak?

  • I smile at this question. It sounds so emo, but I feel like I’ve been “alone” pretty much my whole life. I had 3 brothers growing up, but I was always the one going off and doing my own thing. I was the one that strayed into the “geek” world while they all played baseball and talked about cars.
    It continued as I grew. In high school, I would sit at lunch by myself and read my Dragonlance books.  I was into Anime and video games, and didn’t really know anyone else who was.
    As an adult I have continued along this path. I somehow managed to find a wife, and even have a kid, but I remain “alone” in the deeper sense. All the things I love to do are things done alone. I garden alone, I watch (most) movies alone, I read alone, I play video games alone. I like it this way. I am not lonely in any sense of the word.
    Now, to address the other part of the question. I had never seen a movie in a theater by myself until last Friday, when I went to see The Dark Knight Rises. It’s definitely considered abnormal by societal standards. The person asked me “Only one?” like it was an odd thing. Then I felt kind of weird in  the theater, at least until it went fully dark. Like people were looking at me. It won’t stop me from doing it again, if the situation presents itself.
    I don’t recall ever eating alone in a restaurant. I generally buy my lunch, then go eat in the car, or at the park. It’s another stigma thing.
    It seems I’m OK being alone when I’m truly alone, but not in public situations. It’s amazing how things can get in your head over a lifetime, and make things feel wrong when they are not.

  • amanohyo

    I have the opposite problem – I’m so content being alone that I’m losing whatever fragmentary socialization I received as a child as I gradually become more and more self-centered and socially inept.  This should bother me more than it does (maybe?).  It used to feel a bit strange to be so happy with so little, but I’ve come to accept that I have simple needs and always will (INTP’s represent!).  When people stare at me in restaurants, at shows, or on vacation I just smile (I’m so absentminded, I’m usually not thinking about what I’m doing anyway).  From time to time, I admit to having social urges and I’m not completely immune to the allure of outside opinions, but that’s what anonymous internet forums are for.  I’m actually looking forward to becoming a crazy old cat-gentleman.  If it’s wrong to be perpetually alone and happy, I don’t want to be right.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I’ll admit there are times when I hate being alone but I hate the sensation of being alone in a crowd even worse. Then again I grew up with three siblings so for the longest time, I considered solitude a blessing.

    Besides, one of my older relatives warned me a long time ago that to be in the company of someone you don’t really want to be with can be worse than being alone. And I’ve seen the truth in that statement way too often to pretend otherwise.

  • madderrose74

    If you stream Mad Men while drinking, then you’re not alone; you’re drinking with Don Draper. 

    What? It makes sense in my mind. 

  • madderrose74

    I quite enjoy solitude, and traveling alone, and eating by myself. I prefer to go to the doctor by myself, and generally watch movies alone. Also grew up out in the country as an only child.  I don’t enjoy visiting for no particular reason, or making small-talk with people, even those I know well and am quite fond of. 

    My in-laws are still mystified by the fact that I don’t ‘visit.’ It reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where the obnoxious couple kept saying “Ya gotta come and see the baby!” Seriously, why would I spend six hours on awful coal-truck roads and a tank of gas without a damned good reason? 

  • Small talk is the worst.

  • INTP’s represent!

    [raises hand]

    I actually fluctuate between INTP and INTJ, but that’s a difference that really makes little difference.

  • bronxbee

    small talk is social WD40… it’s the way you get to big talk.

  • madderrose74

    The unfortunate thing is, being professionally non-profit, I’m good at small talk, which makes people think I must be a sociable creature.

     I’m also good at small-business tax preparation and cleaning cat boxes; doesn’t mean I enjoy it. 

  • I feel like I’ve been “alone” pretty much my whole life I was the one that strayed into the “geek” world

    This is interesting to me. I find that the geek world can sometimes be too gregarious for me. Like, at conventions, I find some people overly friendly, and I don’t think that’s about people with Asperger’s not understanding social boundaries. I think it’s about the breakdown of people who don’t like to be alone versus people who are okay being along being about the same as it is in the nongeek world. Which is waaaay weighted toward people who don’t like to be alone.

    Perhaps that’s part of why I never feel quite like I fit in anywhere, even among people who supposedly share the same interests as me.

    As an adult I have continued along this path. I somehow managed to find a wife

    This continues to elude me. Finding a spouse, I mean. I simply haven’t met anybody who would be worth the work a relationship takes. I feel like I need to find somebody whom it would be better to be with than not be with. And I haven’t found that person.

    ETA: I mean, I think a lot of women (and maybe a lot of men) are happy to settle for someone whom it is better to be with than to be alone. Which isn’t the same thing.

  • bronxbee

    i think it’s kind of interesting that so far, only those who don’t mind being alone have responded.  

  • “Alone” doesn’t mean “friendless” or “hermit.” I feel like I have a lot of friends, and a few precious friends I’m very close too (though they’re back in NYC, which is why I sometimes feel a little lonely in London).

    But, for example, this weekend, my housemate is away, and I *love* having the place to myself. I feel like I’m recharging.

  • I would say “going home to someone” isn’t alone. But if you’d rather not go home to that person, that could be a problem. :->

  • Perhaps those who do mind being alone don’t spend that much time online. :->

    Is it weird that I feel closer to some people that I know online whom I’ve never met than I do to some people I know in the flesh? I don’t think that’s weird, because to me, “knowing” someone is (in large part, though not exclusively) about intellectual stuff, and online, knowing someone is all about what they’re thinking and talking about. And in person, some people are very shallow, and I don’t even mean that in a bad way. It’s just, I wanna have conversations about substantive stuff, not just about the weather, or whatever.

  • True. But not for everyone. Some people are all small talk.

  • Tonio Kruger

    True dat.

    For that matter, most people–extrovert, introvert or otherwise–don’t reveal the most interesting part of themselves until after you have gotten to know them for a very long time–which means putting up with a lot of small talk.

    But I suspect most of you all knew all that.

  • Tonio Kruger

    The only thing I don’t like to do alone is drinking. :-)

    Well, for what it’s worth, when I drink alone, I prefer to be by myself…

  • bronxbee

    you have a point there… i used to sit near one all day at work.

  •  Indeed they are. I can’t stand “small talk” and rarely engage in it. I’m surrounded by people at work who do and say the same things to each other every freakin’ day.
    “Hi. How are you?”
    “I’m fine. How are you?”
    “I’m fine.”
    You know it’s all bullshit, but they do it anyway.
    Rinse and repeat this about ten times a day. As I refuse to engage in nonsense, I am seen as being uncaring and a jerk, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I just don’t like pointless babble. Give me a real conversation or don’t talk at all.

  •  Well, the last time I was t any kind of “geek” convention was probably over 15 years ago. It was a Comic Con or CES. I generally don’t get to engage in any type of geeky behavior with people outside of the internet. One of my co-workers is a big Doctor Who and Sci-fi fan, so I chat with him on occasion, but that’s it.
    Truth be told, my wife found me! I was in the basement playing Mario Kart with a friend when another geek gamer friend brought her over. She asked me out to Men in Black a couple days later. We’ve been married for 13 years now. She’s very much a geek in her own right, just with different stuff. It helps to have someone who understands you. I couldn’t imagine being married to a “normal” woman.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

     I mean, I think a lot of women (and maybe a lot of men) are happy to settle for someone whom it is better to be with than to be alone.

    I’ve read theories that men are more likely to do this than women.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Yeah I think I’m misinterpreting “being alone” as “living alone”. I will say that, in my life, “alone time” has always been precious and (as I’ve gotten older) rare.

  • OnceJolly

    My running joke is that I drink to tolerate the company I’m with. Alone, with others, it’s all the same to me…

  • ProperDave

     I’ve just Googled INTP to see what it means. Shit, the definition on Wikipedia has me down to a tee.

  • Accounting Ninja

    Me too! Though I’m not so “hard I” (on most tests I score 60/40 leaning toward I). Pretty introverted, and I recharge alone, but I tolerate social situations far better and for far longer than my “hard I” INTJ husband. 

  • Used to? Is she gone?

  • I don’t mean to give the impression that I don’t like conventions. I do! But even at cons, there comes a point where I feel like I have to retreat and be alone — or almost alone — because the level of small talk and shallow interaction is threatening to make me scream.

  • madderrose74

    Well, I hear that the Hermits United Club is jam-packed with hot guys ;). If by ‘jam-packed,’ I mean two, and by ‘is,’ I mean, ‘will be, in a few billion years, for a few minutes.’

  • FormerlyKnownAsBill

    yes, it is.

  • bronxbee

    no, she’s still there, but i got moved… on to another floor and pretty much solitary — there isn’t anyone near me for about 8 secretarial spaces in either direction.  it’s quite peaceful.

  • bronxbee

    so… just out of curiosity — how would *you* start a conversation with say… someone of whatever gender you find attractive?

  • bronxbee

    that makes me think of the Monty Python routine with the colony of hermits…

  • Anne-Kari

    People who know me are always surprised that I really enjoy being alone.  In many ways I’m an extrovert – I can small-talk with the best/worst of them, I have zero fear of public speaking, I’m quite comfortable in a crowd, etc.  “Social butterfly” is a label that’s been applied to me, and while annoying, it’s fairly apt.  However, I have always LOVED solitude.

    I love eating alone in a restaurant, I REALLY love going to movies alone, and even though I’m married with two awesome kids whose company I hugely enjoy, I absolutely love the occasional night (or weekend!) alone in a nice hotel where I can order room service and watch a movie and read book for hours without interruption, and generally just revel in the quiet.

  • Danielm80

    I think it’s easier to be alone than it used to be. A few generations back, if you were by yourself, there was nothing to do but read a book or create a great work of art. Today, you can surf the Internet, watch a movie or TV show, listen to music, play a video game. If you have a smartphone out, people won’t even think you’re alone. They’ll assume you’re texting someone. 

  • LaSargenta


    Like people. Like parties. Even sometimes like ‘small talk’.

    But, love solitude. 

  • Martin

    Given how society has given a negative spin on the idea of the “loner”, I always tend to see it as having a life of my own. I have a few good friends that I can enjoy time with but I’m more than happy to do things by myself. I find it curious that people are constantly shocked that I can go to a cinema on my own to watch a film.

    Maybe I’m being defensive about it, but I’ve always felt that people that can’t stand to be alone tend to be the most troubled, as if they fear that they are nothing on their own. Being able to be on your own belies more self confidence, in my eyes, than the “life and soul of the party” types.

  • I thought I was alone for most of my life. I missed out on a lot of aspects of childhood because I had no friends until I was 13 or so. I felt fine. In high school, I had a fairly large group of friends but none of them seemed to like me; they mostly put up with me because they liked my best friend. I thought I was alone then. But last fall I moved to Seattle to start college without knowing anyone there. Seattleites are the biggest dickheads imaginable, and with few exceptions everyone nice I’ve met here has been from out of state or out of country. I have no friends in Seattle. It didn’t bother me to be lonely at first. The first quarter I was ecstatic to be living on my own in a new city, but then the next quarter the loneliness started to set in worse as it occurred to me that I’d been alone my entire life and my solitude was never, ever going to stop, an epiphany which heralded my first-ever instances of suicidal ideation.

    A couple months later I realized that I was gay, which on one hand was very much a relief because most of my adolescence I thought that there was something very seriously wrong with me and to realize that I didn’t have some horrible problem without a name was a relief, but on the other hand it means that I will have a harder time finding a partner and if I do find a partner I will probably alienate most of my extended family by so doing. Being in the closet is also a profoundly lonely experience, and the great thing about that kind of loneliness is that it can take effect no matter how many people are around. Even when I’m out of the closet, being gay is still a pretty lonely thing because most people are straight and they just don’t get it. I feel like I was robbed of the chance to develop normally and have normal adolescent relationships because I spent my teenage years repressing and dismissing my desires

    And then I was sexually assaulted a few weeks ago, which made me feel even lonelier because it was the most intimate I’ve ever been with anyone and it happened against my will, with a guy who thought I was underage.

    As for that whole inner-life thing, the biggest Seattle dickhead of all the Seattle dickheads actually made an uncharacteristically insightful point about it: college saps you of inner life. Most of us don’t have anything to talk about except school anymore because it’s basically all we spend our time doing. That’s how I feel. I have nothing to talk to anyone about anymore; the only thing left is bitching about homework. I’ve been reading a lot more books lately, just so that I have some stuff to talk about, but I have no one to discuss it with so it’s a moot point.

    TL;DR: I only have trouble being alone if it seem like it’s going to last forever. As for how to cope with it, well, I wish I knew.

    Sorry about all this, that question really opened up the floodgates.

    Also, re: small talk. I can’t stand people who bitch about small talk. They are usually the same people who think everyone else is “sheeple”. Sorry if I don’t start the work day by roping all my casual acquaintances into conversations about Nietzsche as a matter of course. And to say that anyone is “all small talk”, especially if it’s a person you don’t know very well, strikes me as being quite arrogant. Just because they’re not sharing their big talk with you doesn’t mean they’re not sharing it with anyone. People often default to small talk just to try to find something more substantive to talk about, but if you don’t have anything in common then it’ll probably end there. Doesn’t mean their heads are empty, it just means you didn’t share a rapport with that person. It happens. I see small talk as a necessary evil at worst.

  • “It used to feel a bit strange to be so happy with so little, but I’ve come to accept that I have simple needs and always will (INTP’s represent!)”

    Me also.

    I am very fond of my own company, and need to vacate to it after being too social. That said, I do enjoy being with other people, in bursts.I often go to the cinema or theatre alone, which is a bit of an oxymoron considering the huge amount of people in a theatre audience. I prefer going to museums and galleries alone so I can go at my own pace and that the objects can spark my own inner dialogue.That said I don’t like eating alone, food tastes better with conversation.

    There is a very good book about this subject called ‘Solitude’ by Anthony Storr.

  • I’ve always been the type to prefer being alone. When I’m with others, I feel like I need to entertain, or I feel like I’m waiting on them when I’m ready to move on. Being alone lets me do my thing without having to worry about anyone else. The only exception to this is my family, because we are all very close and understand each other very well. I don’t have many friends with whom I have that leave of comfort, which is probably a result of my loner status, so vicious cycle.

    I’m also a homebody, so that doesn’t help. I don’t mind going out occasionally to have dinner or drinks, but I generally prefer to stay home. I’ll do fast food or take-out, but I don’t usually go to restaurants alone. However, that’s more because of having to entertain myself while waiting on my food. When at home I’m on the computer most of the time, and I do play a couple MMOs. Every in those games, I prefer to go around by myself instead of grouping with others (unless it’s a family member who also plays the game).

    Here’s an example: when seeing a movie at the theater, it doesn’t often occur to me to ask someone else to go, unless they happened to have mentioned wanting to see it.  When I was in high school, I would tell a school friend I had seen a movie that past weekend and the first question out of his/her mouth would be, “Who did you go with?”  Uh, myself? It baffled them that I would go see a movie alone. But I’m paying that money to see a move, not socialize. I could do that for free at home.

  •  I don’t.
    Ok, so I do the normal “good morning” and “hello” stuff that we all have to do, but otherwise I rarely start a conversation. I have to have a REASON to talk to someone. Like the other day I was walking my dog, and saw a lady outside in a garden that I’ve always liked. I said hello, and proceeded to compliment her on her flowers. We then chatted for ten minutes on perennials and such.
    If I overhear co-workers talking about movies I will certainly get involved, but I never start it.
    As for your specific question, I don’t recall ever actually going up to a woman I found attractive and starting a conversation. That’s just not my style. I would have to know the details ahead of time. I would have to know what interests her, and if we’d at all be compatible. Yes, before ever talking to her. I’ve always had a hard time conversing face to face. The written word is where it’s at, as I have to time to collect my thoughts, and respond accordingly. Which is why I, and so many others like me, LOVE the internet. We get to have conversations without the stress of being face to face.
    If my wife hadn’t asked me out I would most likely still be single, and trolling dating sites. *shudders*

  • dwa

    My profession requires me to have constant and intense contact with people for 10 + hours daily leaving me with a reasonable desire to recover with some time alone on a regular basis. That being said, I still find that desire limited and prefer to spend time with friends.

    We are all different and obviously don’t fit in one mold, nor should we expect that. I find my experiences have taught me that the most trusted enduring relationships I have, whether friendships or my spouse, have begun from instances in which people invested time, effort and sweat into me before they had the time or experience to establish that i was worth it to them. Conversely, we have opened our home for months at a time to people we knew enough about to feel safe but were certainly not close friends with or had established some expected value or worth to. (I hate trying to not end a sentence with a preposition. That rule needs to be abolished). I am also thankful that my spouse seems to have something other than my physical or behavioral worth at the core of her relationship with me as I would have probably lost her long ago otherwise.

    Interesting question and conversation…leads down many different paths

  • LaSargenta

    Pardon me for possibly intruding, but have you gotten any help — lawyer, therapist, other support — since the assault? I’m not in Seattle, but if you need it, I can (and would be happy to do so) contact a baracuda of a feminist lawyer who I know who I believe still lives there. She also is (from my recollection of her time in NY) not a dickhead. In fact, she’s really upstanding.

    I’m mentioning her not because I’m trying to cram a lawyer down your gullet, but because she knows a lot of people and understands how to get things done. She just also happens to be a lawyer.

    And I agree with you about ‘small talk’. Completely. It probably comes down to how we end up (individually) defining small talk.

  • You’re not intruding.

    I have gotten psychiatric help, and I’m not particularly interested in following up on the incident legally. The guy stopped calling me when I asked him to so I just want to forget about it. The assault was more mild than I made it seem, anyway, I’m not sure it’s severe enough to justify legal intervention, and I’m really not interested in making an enemy out of this guy.

    Thank you for your concern, though.

  • mortadella

    No, not at all. I’m an INFP personality type, so, if I don’t get enough alone time in a single day, I get cranky. I’m good at being social, but while doing so, I use up a lot of energy. I just need the relief of alone time to relax. Being alone is like slipping into a hot bath at the end of a day.

  • LaSargenta

     You’re welcome. Glad you’ve gotten the help you need.

  • fwiw, I am an ENTP/ENFP (it goes back and forth), unlike a lot of the other people here who are starting with the I.  And I have no problem being alone; I relish the chance. It might be because I am, when out of my apartment, pretty constantly social; I chitchat with anyone I have a casual interaction with (checkout ladies, people randomly in the canned soup section, LOTS of people on public transit, homeless guys who I can’t help financially, but talking to for a few minutes seems to make them feel a little less ignored by the world, women wearing skirts I like so I tell them, etc).

    I was in a discussion with someone – for a local convention, I am in charge of the freebies; I spend November and December calling people and asking them to give us stuff for free. She said she could never do it – she freezes when she needs to call people. I relish doing it – all those publicity people are DYING to have me call them up and say, “I want to put your swag in front of 3500 science fiction fans”. It never ever occurred to me to second guess it. I actually needed to reassess, because I found I was falling into the extrovert assumption that I was doing something that was dead easy, and apparently for a lot of people, it would not be.

    But I get home, and I am happy to look at a weekend and realize I have nothing to do but watch movies, read books, sit outside, pet the cat. I like realizing I can go to dinner alone. I frequently forget to check facebook for hours at a time, which seems impossible for other E-types.

  • laceyloo

    I HATE being alone. I recently went through a huge life change when I graduated from college. Before, I lived with 40 girls, I was putting myself through school so I had 2 jobs and an internship and I was the collegiate “house mom” in the sorority and I taught a class and had a full course load in physics/energy policy and barely had time to breathe. All of a sudden I moved into a house with 2 strangers, and have a full time job. That’s it. I go to work, work out and eat. I don’t know what to do with myself. There is only so much time one can spend reading, watching movies/tv, being online before just going crazy. I have no idea how to cope with being alone. I know I need some hobbies, but that doesn’t solve how uncomfortable I am by myself. I always considered myself “independent” because I handled my life with no help from family, but now that I am not constantly surrounded by people I hate it. Ugh. 

  • laceyloo

    Just for fun- I am super ESTJ!

  • amanohyo

    Hmm…  forty girls, two jobs, an internship, and a full course load in physics/energy policy?  You need more than hobbies sister – you need a part time job or three (and maybe an illegitimate child to boot).  Have you considered volunteering at a school, preferably an all-boys, Catholic middle school?  Listening to the inane shinchanigans of a herd of spoiled preteens often causes one to quickly develop a taste for solitude and silence (or maybe that’s just me).

    You seem to enjoy being productive and taking on a leadership role (a lawyer in training?), so teaching is a good fit.  There’s a huge demand for science tutors and standardized test coaches, and/or if you don’t care about crappy pay, you might also consider working in the service industry part time, perhaps selling popcorn at your local mall movie theater.  You’ll be constantly surrounded by people, and everyone at your normal job will wonder why they keep smelling butter when you walk by.

    Or you could just relax and let yourself go crazy.  Whatever you do, don’t try to date your way out of loneliness.  Find a way to be comfortable, confident, and happy on your own first; otherwise the dude or lady that you end up with may feel somewhat smothered (assuming you aren’t currently in a relationship).  You’ve already accomplished quite a lot, your life is just getting started, and you clearly have an insane work ethic – I’m confident that you’ll find a solution soon.  Remember that in the grand scheme of things, having too much free time is probably the best problem anyone ever had.

  • amanohyo

    Liar, a super ESTJ never does anything “just for fun.”  They do it because “have fun” is the activity scheduled from 8:15 to 9:53 PM on their BlackBerry.  I kid only because I’m jealous of your prodigious energy level.  If only there was some way to average out your efficient, take-charge personality with that of a hyper laid-back, daydreamy INTP like myself, a means by which we might combine our genetic material in a single life form which possessed elements of both of our personalities.  Oh well… I’m sure bioengineers and geneticists will come up with some crazy new procedure in a few years – those guys and gals are amazing.

  • amanohyo

    I finally got around to reading Solitude and found it oddly comforting to learn that many of my favorite authors felt similarly satisfied with a solitary existence (a somewhat paradoxical reaction, to not want to be alone in wanting to be alone).  I understand what you mean about the pleasures of being alone in a crowd.  Observing and absorbing at one’s own pace is relaxing after a lengthy period of necessary personal interaction (even if the interaction is pleasant and stimulating).  Thank you for the recommendation – your characteristically INTP-ish drive to provide clarity is greatly appreciated.

  • So lonely

    You’re not alone! You’re married with two kids!! How is that alone? You just like your me time. Try living and working by yourself with no family in a small town for over a year and then ask yourself how get being alone is.

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