“Self-reliant, each loner swims alone through a social world – a world of teams, troops and groups – that scorns and misunderstands those who stand apart.  Everywhere from newspapers to playgrounds, loners are accused of being crazy, cold, stuck-up, standoffish, selfish, sad, bad, secretive and lonely – and, of course, serial killers.  Loners, however, know better than anyone, how to entertain themselves – and how to contemplate and create.  They have a knack for imagination and concentration, inner discipline and invention – a talent for not being bored.”

I pulled that from the “back-cover blurb” of the book, “Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto” by Anneli Rufus.  I only read excerpts but it was enough to understand Rufus’ objective: to recast loners, from social misfits to important contributors to society.

My biggest takeaway?

Society’s prevailing judgment that aloneness is indistinguishable from loneliness and that the only meaningful experiences are ones that are shared.

Loners make up approximately 25% of the world’s population and include some very recognizable names: the Buddha, Isaac Newton, Michelangelo, Emily Dickinson, Bobby Fischer, J.D. Salinger, Anne Rice and Barry Bonds.

Let’s include loners with other minority groups that are misunderstood.

Rufus’ book reminded me of the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. 

Both books try to educate the majority about the gifts these groups possess and, more importantly, to normalize the identities of loners and introverts themselves.

And that’s the point of this blog.

If you identify as a loner, or, perhaps have features of one, it’s okay.

It doesn’t mean you’re a recluse.

It doesn’t mean you can’t be in a relationship.

And it certainly doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you.

It just means you like your time alone.

I identify as a loner AND an introvert and believe me, these are not easy things to acknowledge.

I, like others, have been fed a steady diet of judgment by the media and American culture that says, “it’s bad to be like this”.

But it’s not.

We’re just being who we are.

And that’s good enough.

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