To most people, loneliness is not a word that meshes with introversion. Everyone knows that introverts value their alone time more than almost anything else. As Susan Cain wrote in Quiet, “Solitude matters, and for some people, it’s the air they breathe.”
Alone time is such a lovely thing to introverts. Most of them, myself included, spend much of their time looking for excuses to get away just so they can have a few moments of that blessed alone time. Sometimes, a quick recharge is all we need to make it through the rest of the day.
And yet, because of this, introverts have the reputation of being cold, standoffish, and rude. While there are a plethora of articles on this website that completely dispel this myth, many people are still convinced: Introverts are people-hating recluses who growl at you if you get too close to their cave.
And while that’s inaccurate, some introverts just accept it because, hey, it means more alone time, right?
Sometimes, Even Introverts Get Lonely
What happens, though, when one of us realizes that we desire a companion? Not a whole crowd of chattering voices, mind you, because that’s sure to send us into a meltdown, but just a companion.
The world seems to sneer at us. You? How could you ever desire a companion? You hate people, remember? You’ve spent your whole life building a quiet, people-less haven for yourself, and now you want to ruin it?
I understand, believe me. It completely goes against all the “innie-isms” you’ve heard.
Here is the thing to remember, though: Loneliness is a human condition. That means it affects all humans, including introverts, extroverts, and everyone in between.
It does, however, affect introverts a little differently than it would someone else.
For example, while I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to be an extrovert, it seems that their loneliness is less selective. The social stimulation they crave leads them to seek out exciting situations and people in general — the more the better! — as opposed to focusing on one specific person. When it comes to socializing, extroverts tend to prefer breadth to depth.
Introverts, on the other hand, are different. Yes, we may be sitting in our sweatpants on the couch, feeling a little lonely, but we still have no desire to launch ourselves into the energy-sucking social world. Instead, our loneliness runs a little deeper.
As always, we are still introverts, and when we say we’re lonely, that isn’t an invitation to drag us to the impossibly loud club any more than it is the rest of the time.
Instead, we remember a person who didn’t make us feel weird for being quiet. We remember a person who just understood and didn’t make us explain ourselves for the hundredth time. Sometimes, we even remember a person who was perfectly okay with sitting beside us in contented silence, existing together but not intruding. The silence wasn’t awkward, for once, but peaceful and warm.
If you’re an introvert, think about the last time you felt lonely. I’m guessing that you were probably wanting to be with a specific person.
I Get Lonely for a Quiet Connection
Personally, I get lonely for my husband. Because we are both INFP personality types, we don’t have to explain our preferences to each other. Even in the early stages of our relationship, when we didn’t quite know each other yet, it became the only relationship I’d had where I didn’t feel odd or defensive about my introvert qualities.
(What’s your personality type? Take a free personality assessment.)
Just the other day, my husband told me that, while he did have a small group of friends in school, he always felt like a weird stalker because he tagged along but rarely said anything. Boy, do I understand that feeling.
And most evenings, because we both do a lot of computer work at home, our time is spent working on our respective laptops, right beside each other but in near silence apart from some clicking keys and light breathing.
To some people, perhaps it is odd or boring to do that. To us, though, it is normal and soothing.
While this happens for us almost every night, there are some occasional nights when the routine changes a little. On one recent evening, my husband decided to go to bed early, which left me working by myself.
I was doing the exact same thing I do when he is there, and yet, I got a little lonely while doing it without him.
There are also quite a few evenings when my husband works late, which leaves me home alone to do whatever I want.
As always, the prospect of potential alone time is continuously inviting, and I always enjoy it.
During those times, though, I also never stop feeling a little bit lonely until my husband gets home.
My Loneliness Is Not Simply a Cry for More People
Like many other things, loneliness is not something I share with most people very often, due to the stigma surrounding introverts and how they supposedly always are.
Personally, my loneliness is not simply a cry for more people. It is a cry for connection and understanding.
So when I say I’m feeling a little lonely, please don’t misunderstand. Just know that I am simply desiring to be near someone who “gets it” — and those people are few and far between.
Introverts get lonely, just like introverts eat three meals a day and ride bikes and brush their hair. It is completely normal and natural, despite what the stigmas may lead you to believe.
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