Solitude is not loneliness

6 June 2018

By Kieran

Look, I’m not the type for a hugely introspective dive into my own psyche. I sort of just wander around the world hoping that I won’t be hit by a bus by the time I go to bed. Something I do wish to clarify though, on behalf of others who may be like me, is that solitude does not equate to loneliness.

What I mean by this is that it is perfectly acceptable to enjoy your own company. You shouldn’t feel like you’re an oddity for not wishing to be around other humans. It doesn’t make you a sociopath in the same way not wishing to eat goats cheese doesn’t make you lactose-intolerant.

I say this because I’ve had my flat entirely to myself this week and have enjoyed it immensely. My expression of this met a lot of sympathy. I heard ‘aw you must be lonely’ multiple times. This to a man who, as a matter of routine, goes to the cinema and pub unaccompanied.  It seems bizarre to me that people appear to equate their enjoyment of an experience with the number of people present.

People find my solo-cinema-going baffling (and no not that Solo). How can one enjoy an experience where you sit in a dark room in silence without someone to not talk to? I just wonder how these people watch TV. If they really want to watch a show, do they require three friends to be on the sofa with them? The cinema is just a big, public telly so people shouldn’t be embarrassed to use it alone. The same goes for a bar or pub which is, essentially, a public tap of a tasty substance.

Society tells us that you measure happiness in interaction. And while that is certainly how many find enjoyment, it’s not the only avenue. Solitude can be a relaxing break from the world. It’s a quiet arena for you to focus on your own goings-on and enjoying it is not weird or pitiable.

In summary, don’t worry if you feel you need a break every now and again. Despite how ‘sad’ some might see it, it’s a perfectly natural and reasonable reaction to an increasingly overloading world.


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