The introverted non-loner

This photo (or painting) was posted on the “introvert” Subreddit earlier. The subject line read “This is the life I want to live.”

Click to enlarge

Despite this being an “introvert” discussion forum where like-minded socially reticent people congregate to commiserate over introspective hesitations and reluctance to join the extroverted world, many of the commenters still wondered if such a spartan lifestyle might be unbearable over the long run. The takeaway here is that introverts are not necessarily seeking solitude. This is an important distinction because a lot of introverts may eventually question their own sanity and are puzzled by the tension they experience as a result of their reluctance to socialize while still desiring to be around people.

This union of dichotomous urges is common. I’ve known many people who, despite their introversion, are not averse to people or crowds, and in fact, don’t relish “alone time” strongly enough to construct their social life around. I’ve noticed these people are usually torn because they crave that which is contradictory to their nature. They question their motives, and hence, their own mental well-being. Many of them internalize the dynamic as an inner-conflict and emotional malaise that further estranges them from others. They are convinced something is wrong with themselves. Which ultimately leads to dissatisfaction. The typical introverted non-loner type would not enjoy the idyllic image presented above. This person would find the isolation oppressive and grueling. The introverted non-loner might appreciate the moments afforded such a lifestyle. These periods would be “re-charge time” for their introverted soul, but they would still need to count on predictable, adjacent “people time” in order to ward off that frightening isolation.

Introverted non-loners are lower level introverts.

Introverts who have integrated and accepted their character may ascend to the next level. That of Loner. The Loner has resigned himself to never enjoying communication or people, and has ceased fighting the need to belong or to appease a society with which he has nothing in common.

I count myself as a Loner. When I was younger, I fought the terminal battle with introversion by drinking and forcing myself to endure situations that involved lots of loud people in the hope I would somehow fit in and grow to like it. Our culture teaches us this is the good life. Advertising and peer pressure drill that into our heads. Lots of loud and flamboyant people are good! I never could learn to like this. I might have chosen to continue lying to myself, but instead, I chose to accept the fact. To do so is to surrender a dream, a cultural dream.

I believe the “turning point,” if there is ever something so simplistic in determining a human’s course, was my near death experience in 2005.

I’ve embraced my introversion. As such, I have come to peace with my lack of desire to interact with people, and furthermore, its fruition. If it was pragmatically possible, I would love the existence portrayed in the image.

People love to conjecture during torturous small talk, “What would you do if you won the lottery?”

Most people answer with things like travel and new cars and houses and retiring from work. My answer?

To be that man.