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Am I weird to love being alone so much

(313 Posts)
BlissfulSolitude Fri 17-Aug-12 13:46:09

Mid 50s divorcee here, mum of DD aged 14 who want sot know this: is it strange, after years of trying to come to terms with who I am and what I need, to have concluded that I'm happiest doing things on my own (apart from being with close family that is). I have a great relationship with DD and adore my cat and dog but find being around people incredibly wearing and love nothing better than to be at home reading, thinking, writing, listening to music and pottering. I have a small handful of dear friends but can go months without seeing them, enjoy my work and get on well with most of my colleagues but find the incessant small talk unbearable. People seem to find me engaging and like my company but I just don't seem to want the same level of human involvement as they do, although I quite like being amongst people if I don't have to talk much. After years of being in unsatisfactory relationships, I'm not interested in finding a man.

All my life I've tried to move out of my comfort zone and become more of an extravert (I feel society puts a lot of pressure on us to be outgoing) and had to use alcohol and drugs to do this; doing anything social involved getting hammered and turned me into the life and soul of the party. But my drinking inevitably got out of control, I got into a lot of trouble and now I'm contentedly abstinent. Without drink I just can't face the thought of socialising but I don't really care if I never go to another party again. I've grown to accept that I'm an introvert and would love to stop beating myself up about not seeing friends enough or engaging in activities that don't centre on the life of the mind. But I wonder if this is healthy and whether I'm unusual and would really welcome some opinions. Thanks.

hopkinette Fri 17-Aug-12 13:51:53

As long as you're happy then as far as I'm concerned it's healthy! Your life sounds lovely and you've clearly tried other ways of living and found them less fulfilling and satisfactory, so I think it's great that you've accepted that this is who you are and how you want to live.

milkteef Fri 17-Aug-12 13:54:35

Your life sounds great and if you are happy with it then it sounds perfect. I like my alone time too!

BlissfulSolitude Fri 17-Aug-12 13:55:18

Hop thank you so much, I'm happier now than I ever have been, especially as I no longer use booze as a crutch.

MissFaversam Fri 17-Aug-12 13:56:41

Sounds blissful to me too OP.

My DS is going away on Sunday for a week. I intend to spend most of my time alone pottering. I may go and have coffee with a friend for an hour but that's about it.

I can't wait grin

ElizabethX Fri 17-Aug-12 13:58:04

You are naturally a loner. There is nothing wrong with it. Some are offended by it because they have issues with your not needing their dazzling company, but that is their problem, not yours (unless keeping your job depends on them).

BlissfulSolitude Fri 17-Aug-12 13:58:14

Yes, an hour or two is my limit as well MissFav, enjoy your me-time!

BlissfulSolitude Fri 17-Aug-12 13:59:48

I'm so pleased that you all seem to view this as a positive and yes I suppose I am a "loner" Elizabeth but wish it had more positive connotations.

Alameda Fri 17-Aug-12 14:00:09

you're lucky to enjoy your own company (I enjoy mine too) but I do think friends are important and enriching too, do you have anyone to spend time with in non alcohol fuelled ways?

MadBusLady Fri 17-Aug-12 14:01:06

I am not one for self-help books as a rule <hides pile> no, honestly I'm not, but take a look at Elaine Aron's The Highly Sensitive Person (she also has a website with test).

Not that you sound in any way like you need "help", but it sounds like you might fit into what she is describing.

ElizabethX Fri 17-Aug-12 14:09:42

Well I'm a bit the same way and have no trouble with 'loner' though 'self-sufficient / -reliant / independent' is probably the way I think of it.

Gregarious is OK but it can shade into needy, I've noticed.

OliveandJim Fri 17-Aug-12 14:15:06

My DP is exactly like you, actually you could have described a large portion of his life with your OP. Like you, he's an introvert and spending time with others tires him. He can be brilliantly funny and quick witted but afterwards feels drained. He also gave up alcohol which coincided with him being less in demand with his previous group of friends. We still managed to find each other, albeit late in our lives (he's now 42 and we have 16 months old baby) so don't cross out finding a man/ companion. Anyway, it is usually when one is not looking that one finds the right company.

You probably are a marvellous role model for your DD, she can learn from you that the right company is far more important than any company (in French we have a saying that goes: "It is better to be alone than badly acompanied" and your DD can learn to value time on her own and possibly also to leanr to know herself and what she wants. So well done!

YusMilady Fri 17-Aug-12 14:17:36

If you haven't come across it yet OP, can I recommend 'Party of One' by Anneli Rufus? Changed my life, I tell you!

And no, you're not weird. You're right to do what's right for you, without apology.

shrodingerscat Fri 17-Aug-12 14:23:03

I could have written much of your OP. I'm rather envious that you get all that time to just be yourself in your own company. My DH is positively scared of having to spend much time on his own, and I have 2 young DC, so find I am compelled to spend a lot of time with their friends' mums, most of whom are lovely, interesting company, but whose company I would not seek out if circumstances were different. Like you, I'd like to be on my own and just....potter.

Your OP has reminded me I wanted to buy this I read an article about it in the Guardian a few months' ago, unfortunately, it's no longer on their website.

glastocat Fri 17-Aug-12 14:27:33

You sound like me. I have just recently realised I am an introvert, and am totally happy with that. I suspect my son is the same. I can recommend a book for you 'Quiet - the power of introverts in a word which can't stop talking' by Susan Cain, she has also done a Ted talk which is great too.

PeriPathetic Fri 17-Aug-12 14:31:47

You certainly aren't weird! I too love my own company and wish I could get more time to 'fly solo'. And I'm also an extrovert. So the two aren't mutually exclusive.

MadBusLady Fri 17-Aug-12 14:33:12

The Quiet book looks interesting. I should have made it clear, the HSP book isn't about "helping you get over" being easily stimulated and preferring solitude or anything like that. It just suggests that it's a totally normal set of neurological traits in about 15-20% of the population. It even suggests (I found this a bit of a lightbulb moment) that a lot of introverts who have low self-esteem probably only have it because people keep telling them they must have, that they must be "shy" or have such undesirable traits that need fixing.

Mumsyblouse Fri 17-Aug-12 14:37:33

You sound entirely normal, and it is a bonus to recognise the things you like and what makes you happy.

The only thing I would say is at the moment, you do have company at home with your 14 year old dd. She may go out a lot with her friends, but you have someone to come home to, chat to if you want. In other words, saying I don't need other 'people' means 'other people who aren't my very close family'.

This is not a problem at all, unless when she leaves you miss that companionship, but many people do enjoy living on their own and wouldn't want to share their living environment, it might just be something to you'll adjust to anyway.

likeatonneofbricks Fri 17-Aug-12 14:38:21

unfortunately there IS stlil a stigma of some kind, as I'm a bit like you OP, and heard people comment how I'm not very social, and i think some even mean 'odd'. The thing is i need company of people I really like, as I couldn't live like a recluse, I get lonely, but I have a very short span of energy with people especially groups. It's an hour comfortably, a few hours if we really get on, but then i need a break. I function best when it's short periods of interaction then rest. This caused problems as i can't work in a conventional job usual hours (and i could NEVER work in a call centre where you need to talk all the time - it's be my nightmare). But with a partner or very close friends I enjoy very long talks as it's so relaxed and we like each other. People also sometines think I'm 'above them' or snobby when i just makeexcuses re socialising - but honestly i just get very grained when i overdo it, unfortunately you can't expect everyone adjusting to your comfort level so my social life is not rich to put it mildly.

BlissfulSolitude Fri 17-Aug-12 14:38:47

Shrodinger that's amazing, I'm reading Susan Cain on my kindle right now - she prompted me to really take a look at myself! I downloaded it from Amazon and would recommend it highly. And I know what you mean about DC's friends' mums but am luckily out of that now as mines growing up fast....

Madbus I just took the test and yes I'm highly sensitive! Olive I'd love to meet a man like your DP and spend time alone together (if you know what I mean). I did have a relationship which involved a lot of time with each of us reading together and that felt really nice. Yusmilady I have indeed read Party of One and it changed my life too. I'm really heartened by all your responses and how you all seem able to relate to my situation; that last little shred of self-doubt is disappearing.

And Alameda I do agree that friends can be enriching and I have one in particular who I love spending time with because we're very much on the same wavelength. Trouble is she's a bit of a hermit too so meetings are infrequent!

likeatonneofbricks Fri 17-Aug-12 14:41:21

drained, not grained

BlissfulSolitude Fri 17-Aug-12 14:41:25

Bricks can relate totally especially with regard to work. I spent nearly 20 years in the wrong career (advertising) and the only way I could cope with all the schmoozing and bull-shit talking was to be almost permanently inebriated.

likeatonneofbricks Fri 17-Aug-12 14:43:16

ha, I don't even need to do the test - I know I'm highly sensitive! I'm also sensitive to noise so loud groups make me want to run after 30 min!

glastocat Fri 17-Aug-12 14:44:25

Ohh, two of us cross posted about the same book! I must get power of One now too, sounds interesting.

Yes I'm sure some people think I'm standoffish too. I cant say I'm that bothered really, I have a few very good friends that go way back, and my lovely husband, thatseems to be enough for me really. Most people I find very hard work though.

likeatonneofbricks Fri 17-Aug-12 14:46:36

OP, so in that r-ship where you used to read a lot together - did you discuss/talk? I must say i'm very different with a patrner, as I want to share my thoughts/feelings a lot, so I wouldn't want a silent one (or one who wouldn't want to listen either)! I still would need time on my own though even if living with someone I liked/loved.

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