It’s kind of a vague question, but I think keeping it that way makes for more discussion and discourse. But I just finished my first full week of college and I’m a big introvert (walking by myself, eating by myself, studying in my room while my roommates are out). And every time I’m by myself out on campus, I can see people judging me. And a lot of other people who are alone are constantly trying to look social, busy, looking for someone they know, etc.
So I guess what I was asking is it the fact that most people are extroverted, or is it insecurity, a fear of loneliness, herd mentality, that drives people to hate to be alone so much? Or something else entirely? I’d like a discussion with lots of possibilities, but if anyone has a definitive answer, that works equally as well.
Why do you think people are judging you? I also like to be alone a lot, but I also think am a better judge. :D People are just either used to be alone or used not to be alone. It really is that simple. Actually from my experience being alone is more progressive than being with others. You can’t exactly read a great book with someone else’s eyes and perception, have your own opinion or develop a skill someone else would have(?!). I don’t understand the fear of loneliness, but sometimes when I isolate myself to do something and takes a long time, after that any human contact makes me happy.
Bottom line, those that can’t be alone aren’t as adventurous and fun!
I’m not sure if I can answer this fully but I can provide some scientific facts. There was a study done on the effects that alienation and “being alone” did to the body vs being surrounded by people and interacting, and it produced some interesting results.
The people that were left alone for a long period of time had a large amount of negative effects to their body & mind, and they were also found to be more susceptible to certain diseases. They had higher blood pressure, increased thoughts of depression and suicide, and overall lower brain activity & function(not drastically, but enough).
The people that were surrounded in a social environment were the complete opposite. They had better health, more positive mood, less stress & the like, Also, it was found that the brain, after a certain time socializing, was stimulated to the same levels as if a person had just taken a practice test.
What I’m trying to get at here is there is an extreme difference on the effects of loneliness, and maybe our desire to be surrounded by people is some sort of genetic adaption to avoid that. Now, there are people that can(or think they can) operate alone, by themselves for lengthy periods of time, but they have never experienced true isolation. I, myself, had a time when I was basically trapped, alone in my room for 3 months, and let me tell you the amount of hate, disdain, irritability, and negativity I generated was disgusting. I even began hating my closest friends because they were away dorming at college and I was stuck by myself with no one to reach out to.
But on the flip side, when I was at college I was also largely by myself outside of class. I both walked by myself and ate by myself. The difference is, I didn’t feel anyone judging me, so that may be more on you.
However, you may be more talking about more of a social…… insecurity for lack of a better word. I noticed way back in high school that people HAD to do everything with someone else. It’s more of a fear of people a social outcast than anything. I once waited outside the high school for my girlfriend to see a play when she called me to ask where I was. I told her I was in the front waiting, she asked who I was with, I said by myself, and she literally started laughing at the phone and repeated what I said, as if it was pathetic or something. That specific kind of loneliness is more due to social weakness/ insecurity, or insecurities with oneself.
Most everyone is failing to mention the humor in being with people. When you and your friends are laughing it brings a sense of connection in the group. Its nice to connect and go out with people, laughing, and having fun. This is the end of my first week at college as well. I’ve been so busy the past week its quite an experience.
There are two real things to consider when you ask that question:
(1) Why are people afraid of death? To me the answer to this question is the same as the answer as the question that you asked.
(2) do you really mean why do *you* hate to be alone? if you do then you need to consider the question for yourself.
I, myself, don’t hate to be alone. I actually like it. Being around people for too long makes me hate them, so I always have to come up with excuses to not see them unless I actually do want to hate them. And I don’t care if people are judging me either. It’s just the fact that because they see someone at a table alone, they generally give some weird looks or think that’s weird. I definitely agree with the social outcast idea.
And @flyingrhino, it’s not isolation, per se. I know about that kind of stuff from psychology, more of what I meant was I’d rather sit outside and read a book rather than follow people around because I don’t want to be left by my lonesome.
And @beyond, I agree with your point about contact after being alone being nice. I guess being alone preserves the positive emotions associated with connecting with someone and creating relationships.
On a human-wide evolutionary level? Because being around other people means cooperation and survival, so a desire to be with others provides a significant advantage to meeting members of opposite sex, sharing food, attaining security, and safety for the pack/tribe’s children.
On an individual level, people get their energy from different places. Some people recharge when they’re alone, and use that energy in social situations; others get their energy from socializing and expend it when alone. Either personality type requires a balance between the two.
I’m personally of the first type- I find socializing for extended periods of time to be exhausting, albeit enjoyable, so I gotta recharge alone. Even still, I understand the value that being around people has for your sanity and overall well-being.
@galactimus, Socially speaking it is not normal to eat alone, or sit outside alone. But in reality it is quite normal. Right now i am sitting in my room typing this by myself. Is it weird for me to do that? Not at all, because society tells us its not. It seems strange to eat alone in college when everyone else is eating with friends, but is it really any different then eating by your self at home? Not at all.
Companionship is a huge part of our lives. The need to be with people goes back thousands of years when it was easier to survive with people then on your own. This is ingrained into our minds so we think its strange to see someone by themselves especially in places where it is not normally seen.
So in hindsight yes you will be judged, people will look at you weird but eventually everyone who is doing the judging will be eating alone one day so it really doesnt matter.
@mitchapalooza @eyesopen Alright, I got what you guys are saying. So one more question in regards to your responses… I know herd mentality was a big part in survival in much earlier days, so, in your opinions, did introverts exist then? If they did, what advantage would this hold over the extroverts, who tended to stick together more often, if there is any benefit? Or do you think that introverts have only become more prevalent because of our evolution into a society that can produce food instead of needing to hunt it/survive in a pack?
@galactimus, Interesting question. I would say yes introverts did exist but im sure it was a hell of a lot harder for them in some ways but easier in others. Like its easier to only gather food for yourself, and its easier to look after only yourself opposed to a family. But on the other hand, working with people to gather food equals less work and more food for everyone. Plus once rival groups started grouping together and attacking smaller groups, it would make a lot more sense to team up then to be alone. However, its easier to hide yourself then try and hide a whole family. Just like everything in life, there are disadvantages and advantages to everything.
I would say that advancements in technology making food and protection readily available has made being an introvert a lot more common.
“Loneliness is a curse I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy… If only I had one.” ~ I.M. Weasel
Whenever this argument comes up, my mind always comes back to an anime called “Kimi ni Todoke” in which the main character is a girl who appears for all intensive purposes to be the ultimate Japanese horror star. In fact, many people in her school fully believe her name is Sadako (when it’s actually Sawako), as in the ghost in “The Ring” movie. The thing is, Sawako is aware that people think this is her name. In fact, despite the fact that she knows this is meant as an insult and is as sweet a girl as you can imagine, she willingly accepts this as her nickname because in her mind, it’s better to be hated than ignored.
@galactimus, I’m sure introverts existed then as they do now. I’m not entirely sure what the genetic/environmental makeup of the personality quality is, so it’s difficult to say what kind of effect evolution could have on the quality. It’s important to remember that being introverted doesn’t mean disliking people or being socially inept or anything. Put simply, I’ve understood it to be a preference for your inner world over the outer world, combined with the energy principle I mentioned earlier. Also, I doubt the difference between introverts and extroverts in early human behavior would have been enough to form evolutionary preferences. It wouldn’t be a difference between someone living on their own and providing for themselves over living in a tribe, it would just be someone spending more time on their own AMONG the tribe-much like how introverts and extroverts interact today. Introverted people don’t totally disconnect from society and become wholly independent, instead, we just prefer to spend more time alone or in smaller groups, within the confines of a greater society.
Well… I think generally a lot of the world is based on a popularity contest (sadly) so personally I think when people see other people by themselves, they associate it as them having no friends or being some sort of “unpopular.” I think that scares people, so I think some would judge you based on that more than the fear of being alone. They may not be actually judging you, but in my experience, the people that do judge other people for being alone do it because they think they don’t have any friends (which is kind of a ridiculous assumption, but yeah.)
I wholeheartedly agree it has everything to do with energy. The traits you listed: insecurity, fear of loneliness, and herd mentality, I believe, are instilled (to an extent) in every human being. Most of us humans, however, are extroverted. They rely on social interactions for stimulus and energy. Introverts derive these from within. Neither understand the other fully, I feel. I know I have been judged for my introverted ways, but it’s just because like I said, extroverts don’t understand how we can be alone so much. And we introverts don’t really understand why they need to constantly talk to someone or be around someone. But it’s how we each get out energy, it is what contributes to our well being.
I believe introverts have existed since the start of man, but is an introvert born that way, or do they become introverted later in development? I don’t recall ever getting my energy from constant interaction (some, but mostly alone).
@galactimus, I think you guys are over analyzing this.
it’s because you are a freshmen and most freshmen think the cool thing to do is be hyper-social. Thank T.v. and movies for that one….it’s just a pumped up version of high school for a majority of kids…at least at first.
Nobodies judging you, they’re far too busy thinking about themselves.
However, if you feel like you need more alone time than most, I do hear ya. Since moving out from my parents and in with various other folks 6 years ago, I’ve realised that I have a much higher need to spend a couple hours a day alone than most. Housemates often seem offended if I want to go for a walk on my own; personally I see it as essential.
I don’t think everyone “hates” to be alone. I actually enjoy being alone at times. Wandering through Germany and Italy by myself was one of the most intimate eye opening experiences I have ever had.
As to your post, I think there is a social stigma with being “solitary”. Not many positive emotions or connections are associated with “solitary thought”. Mostly perpetuated by the media, most people who enjoy “solitary thought”…are thought to be mentally unstable, unlikeable, homeless, poor hygiene and so forth.
I also believe it is a evolutionary stigma engrained in our brain. If we looked at nature..the most fit individuals are the ones who have a large following..ie Male Lions. Looking at nature, solitary individuals are viewed negatively in terms of their ability to produce physically fit offspring.
But I believe that people who enjoy the occasionally “solitary moments” to collect their thoughts as tired of all the bullshit that our current culture produces, and a lack of conversational partners that can produce intelligent stimulating conversation about real issues..and abstract theories.
Some people can’t be alone, and are dependent on socializing for energy, and go crazy after awhile when they are in front of their computer screens, because they aren’t intelligent enough to do anything stimulating or productive to keep themselves occupied.
However, my greatest experiences are with other people, none of my experiences alone compare. I don’t see how they can’t be, when you are on an adventure with friends and doing something fun, its full of excitement. Life isn’t as good as it could be if you are alone more often then with people.
I want to say though, and some of the best advice I can give about insecurity, is that insecure people tend to act differently around others, and people lose interest in them because they don’t act like themselves, or are put off because it makes them seem more awkward.
But if you can be confident about being yourself, people will find you special, and like you for having your own personality. You will also attract like-minded people easier.
@flyingrhino, but isnt it exactly @galactimus ‘s point that most people are uncomfortable with being alone? If that study is on a typical person, of course they are going to feel so much negativity being isolated. The point was that he was challenging the norm, he felt at peace with introversion. That is more whats being discussed, why some people feel such a need for human interaction, that they begin to feel so drug down by a lack of it.