Even the Lone Wolf Can Feel Lonesome
Yes, even an introvert who is happiest in solitude can get lonely! Recently, my husband and I made a big move for his career. Transplanting ourselves half-way across the country and far away from my like-minded immediate family. My husband leaves for days at a time and I find myself alone in our new surroundings.
As I settled into my new environment, I took on working from home. Loving every minute of it, I forged new routines and picked up old hobbies that I left behind back when I was the sole bread winner.
Rarely have I ever experienced loneliness. If I did, the emotion was quickly brushed aside when I went into a social situation. Being faced with the awkwardness of small talk or the uncomfortable stuffy air of a crowd would remind me how much I loved being alone. Solitude feels like a comfort blanket of sorts.
What is an introvert?
If you’re curious to know if you are an introvert, Verwell Mind posted an article summarizing the “8 Signs You’re an Introvert.”
I was not surprised at all to find that all 8 signs describe me to a T. Some of the most common signals are:
- Enjoying solitude (a solitary hike for example)
- Having a small group of close friends (in my case, my immediate family)
- People think you are difficult to get to know (check, check and check)
- Being social is very emotionally draining (oh the dread of social events)
There tends to be a negative connotation to the word introvert. If I tell someone that I’m introverted, I feel sometimes people look at me as if something is wrong. Well to combat that stigma, here is a list of just a few successful and functional introverts:
- Meryl Streep
- Rosa Parks
- Steven Spielberg
- JK Rowling
- Mahatma Gandhi
Tips for Dealing With Being a Lonely Introvert
Now that we have established that being an introvert is not some mental flaw, but a personality trait, it’s time to tackle loneliness when you are a lone wolf. What to do? Being social is exhausting, is it worth trading loneliness for stress?
Here are some tips that I have embarked on to deal with introverted loneliness:
ONE– Consider adopting a furry little companion that doesn’t require small talk skills. My dog Tofu has simultaneously been the light of my life and the bane of my existence. Without my furry little pervert, life would be total solitude during the weeks my husband is off gallivanting around the sky.
TWO- Psychology Today posted a great article for tips on loneliness for introverts. They mentioned the idea of a “social quota.” Scheduling yourself let’s say two social interactions a week in small groups or one-on-one with friends (like going out for coffee). That way you feel as if you can plan for socializing and have an out to say no to other added overwhelming engagements.
THREE- If you plan on attacking your loneliness by attending a social gathering, Psychology Today also suggested having an exit strategy. Knowing when or how you are going to leave a potential stressful event can relieve some pressure or anxiety. That leaves room for you to be proud of yourself for even setting foot in the door.
So far, these tips have been life savers for me. Tofu forces me to go outside at least three times daily for sunshine. I schedule at least two outings a week and I have become an expert at planning an escape.
I am almost certain, introvert or not, at one point or another we all face loneliness. What do you do when faced with too much alone time?