Being Alone But Not Lonely

Being Alone But Not Lonely

Choose your isolation, and enjoy the silence.


I am drawn to doing things on my own. In fact, I love being on my own.

I'm not trying to say that I don't enjoy being with my friends or having company, because I do. But I love my alone time. It's not that I'm antisocial; I've always been what I like to call a "floater friend," meaning I bounce between groups of friends, rather than having just a few really close friends. I like to meet new people, learn about them and hear their stories. But I love moments in which I can listen to whatever music I want, drive however and wherever I want, and there's no one else around to change the song or make me feel guilty for spending way too long in one store and not enough in another (I do not like being rushed).

I used to think that eating at a restaurant alone was the saddest thing that you could ever do on your own. And I'm not talking about a café or coffee shop where everyone sits alone. I mean a real, sit down and order your food from a physical menu restaurant. I had never done it before going to London, but something about being able to wander around on my own and go out for a meal by myself drew me in. I found it relaxing, being surrounded by murmurs of other people's conversations but also being able to hear your thoughts and enjoy the external silence.

I've always considered myself to be a very independent person. I don't like people feel like they owe me or have to do something for me, unless its some kind of quid pro quo. That's probably why I'd rather work on a project on my own than do it with a group. Being a semi-control freak is also part of this too, but I just like things to be done a certain way, especially when it comes to an academic project.

Along with being a bit of a control freak and a perfectionist, I tend to spend a lot of time overthinking. I could spend hours being lost in my thoughts, which is why I like being alone on my own terms, or else it gets too heavy. I sometimes venture into The Future territory of my thoughts, meaning anything that is regarding my future post-college and beyond. I think about what my life will be like, where I'll go after I finish school in Charleston, who I'll be as a person in five years, etc. I wonder if I will be on my own or in a relationship. I think of myself as being a non-committal person, another reason why I've been a floater among friend groups for years now.

It's taken me a while to realize this, but I understand now: just because you are alone does not mean you have to be lonely. Because I'm not. I have wonderful friends, from high school and my hometown, to college and all around the world, thanks to my internship abroad over the summer. I find it unbelievably comforting in my alone time, that if I want to meet up with a friend, or call someone in my family or anything, I can.

If you are someone who feels the need to be around people all the time, I encourage you to try doing something on your own. Go watch the sun set, take a walk, go to a real restaurant by yourself (but maybe bring a book or headphones or something because it can get boring if you're a conversationalist like me). Write in a journal, meditate, run, do something that makes you happy and appreciate yourself. Choose your isolation, and enjoy the silence.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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