Loners are often romanticized in our "always connected" world: the loner girl who secretly writes amazing poetry, the loner guy who ends up being the hero, blah blah blah.
Authors and script writers make millions off of books and movies that focus on a character just enough out of the ordinary and just cut-off enough to be interesting like Logan in The Lucky One or Dawson in The Best Of Me (or any Nicholas Sparks main character for that matter).
When you think of a loner, you might think of somebody who is content with themselves and their way of life. Maybe they are so focused and goal-orienented that it leaves little time for outside interaction. Maybe they just have no interest in talking to people because they prefer to be alone. Or maybe, secretly, they hate the title that seems to define many aspects of their life and wish they could break free.
I fit into that last description.
In high school, I felt like I tried way too hard to fit in. I tried to buy the same clothes as other girls, watch the same shows, and have the same hobbies all in the interest of finding friends. The summer before college, I decided that I was going to be myself and find people who liked me for me. As it turns out, it was harder than I thought.
I'm not necessarily an outgoing person. If somebody starts talking to me, I will open up and be friendly but striking up a conversation first? Forget it.
None of this was made any easier by the fact that I had a single dorm my freshman year, so I basically sat in there alone and studied and watched Netflix without a second thought. I didn't join any clubs. I had a hatred for sororities and any girl involved with one. I made no moves to talk to the awesome people that literally lived right outside my door. I, unknowingly, was making myself a loner.
Of course, I did find friends here and there. I talked to people on my floor in my dorm, had friends to sit with in classes, I studied with my friends, we went to meals together and went out on the weekends every so often. But a part of me felt like I was never really part of anything, like I was an outsider looking in. I still spent a lot of time alone doing my own thing: writing, drawing, reading, working out.
Loners might be romanticized, but actually being a loner? Well, the description is right in the title. Lonely.
Seeing people on campus with their groups is hard when you can't seem to find yours. I even found myself getting jealous of sorority girls and contemplated rushing just for the sole purpose of finding my bearings and making the lifelong friends that Greek life promises. But amidst those thoughts, I realized something. That really just isn't me.
Being a loner doesn't have to be so lonely. Putting yourself out there and opening up to the world is the first step. It's hard, it's scary, and it's not easy if you aren't an outgoing and friendly person. It's also made harder if you're an extremely judgmental person like myself (which isn't easy for me to admit). I've pushed a lot of people away with my judgments when I should've been more accepting.
I'm about to start my sophomore year of college and it dawned on me that I really no longer want to categorize myself or be categorized as a loner. I'm a fun person, I love laughing and telling stories and having conversations with people. I see other girls struggling with the same things I do and I have one piece of advice: don't let it define you. Go to the party. Talk to the girl with Greek letters on her shirt. Sit next to people you wouldn't normally sit next to. Strike up a conversation with that girl who just ordered the same thing as you in the Starbucks line. I've tried it recently and I've found that there are some truly amazing people out there.
So put your fears, your judgments, everything behind you and open up. You might just find the people you've been looking for all along.