It’s pretty universally accepted that humans need social interactions in order to be mentally healthy and achieve a modicum of happiness. I typed in “humans need social interaction” in Google (it was partly filled in for me after I got through ‘humans need,’ actually) and articles populate like:
“Why We Need Each Other”
“Why We Are Wired to Connect”
“Why Loneliness is Bad for Your Health”
“Social Interaction Is Critical for Mental and Physical Health”
I’m a loner. I prefer to spend time alone, but I’m told that is bad for me. I have a daughter, who I obviously spend time with, but I get feedback that she might be learning these bad loner ways from me. So, I feel guilty for not parenting right. I didn’t grow up in a very social family. So, is it a generational thing that can be (probably unintentionally) taught to us? Do I have an actual condition or have I just fallen into “bad habits?” Or do people just need to mind their own business and stop using a one-size-fits-all definition for what is “healthy?”
I looked up antisocial personality disorder and it doesn’t fit me at all. I have a lot of empathy for others and when in social situations, I have no trouble at all conversing or being “normal.” I just don’t seek those activities out and avoid them when possible.
Avoidant personality disorder seems more like me, but that’s not quite right either. I do feel shy, anxious, introverted, and awkward, but it doesn’t impede on my functionality. I do avoid rejection or humiliation, but who doesn’t???
I also looked at emotional detachment, and again, it doesn’t fully fit me. I do choose usually be reserved and could appear “unemotional” to others, even though I do cry alone. I haven’t developed a lot of emotional bonds in recent years, but that is more of a lack of opportunity than consciously choosing to withdraw. I have felt dissociative or depersonalized, but I really think it is due to anxiety/anxiety attacks rather than a separate issue.
Yet, I can’t help but feel inadequate that I don’t have social events scheduled or hang out with people. I am also in a weird situation. I’m a single parent. I moved to a different state for a job without knowing anyone. I also moved to a very religious state that isn’t very open unless you want to convert. I guess these are all excuses maybe because if I really wanted it, I would find a way? But I also feel they are legitimate hurdles.
I looked up being a loner and some of the autofill options were:
Is being a loner ok?
Is being a loner normal?
Is being a loner healthy?
Is being a loner a personality disorder?
So obviously other people have been in this same spot. Schizoid personality disorder is when you don’t have a choice but be a loner because you aren’t hardwired for social relationships. This doesn’t feel like me either.
Back to the loner thing, I don’t shun interaction. I just don’t seek it out. It is true I am a pessimist and generally think people suck. But, it’s more in a cynical, darkly humorous way. I have feelings and feel very deeply. I just try to maintain control of them in front of people (probably to a fault). I also don’t have a lot of patience for people who ramble on about boring topics.
The bottom line is: I’d rather be alone than force myself to be around people I don’t have anything in common with just to fulfill society’s expectations of what “healthy” is. Yes, throw some depression and anxiety in there, along with self-esteem and unusual situational issues. There is a part of me that DOES want more friends. I would LOVE to find my tribe. There is a part of me that worries because my kid doesn’t see me interact socially enough. But, I also know I’m a good, smart, funny person who would never hurt a fly. At least I’m a high-functioning loner?
- Ayn Rand
- Nikola Tesla
- Eleanor Roosevelt (introvert)
- Boo Radley
- The Grinch
Do you relate to any of this? Do you feel pressured to do this, that, and the other to fit in and be what you are supposed to be at whatever your age/social status/etc. is?