You don’t need them. Seriously, you don’t.
Being alone is not synonymous with being lonely.
I would describe myself as a loner, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Back in grade school I would sit alone and read at lunch. The “popular” kids would throw food at me and call me a loser. Years later in high school and college I found that I cherished the time I spent alone. I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and it allowed me to pursue things creatively. It also led to a lot of self-discovery in the process.
Well, thanks to science, I now have further confirmation that those “popular kids” who threw food at me during lunch only did that because they weren’t as smart as me.
Psychology says loners are alone because they don’t need acceptance.
According to a psychologist at Wellesley College loners are comfortable spending time by themselves because they don’t feel the need to be accepted by everyone.
“Some people simply have a low need for affiliation,” says Jonathan Cheek.
“There’s a big subdivision between the loner-by-preference and the enforced loner. Those who choose the living room over the ballroom may have inherited their temperament. Or a penchant for solitude could reflect a mix of innate tendencies and experiences such as not having many friends as a child or growing up in a family that values privacy.”
Loners are smart.
Loners spend less time with others and more time on their own learning and pursuing their own interests.
The Washington Post spoke with Carol Graham, a Brookings Institute researcher who studies the economics of happiness, about the fact that smarter people spend more time alone.
“The findings suggest (and it is no surprise) that those with more intelligence and the capacity to use it … are less likely to spend so much time socializing because they are focused on some other longer term objective,” Graham said.
And they tend to have stronger friendships.
A study came out this year in the British Journal of Psychology that stated smarter people do better with a smaller group of friends.
The lead researchers who conducted the study — Satoshi Kanazawa and Norman Li, evolutionary psychologists in England — discovered that while most of the participant’s happiness increased in relation to a decrease in population density, intelligent people are happier when they’re not hanging out with friends.
“More intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends,” the study said.
Less friends formulate more meaningful relationships. When you’re happiest on your own, science says that’s a positive thing and not a negative, and that it is a sign of increased intelligence.
So be confident in your ability to be happy alone.
I used to think I was some sort of freak when I would prefer opening a book to opening up in a conversation with a stranger or friend. I thought maybe my preferences made me some weird social reject that didn’t fit in.
As I got older I realized the importance of being alone. I have more time to learn things about the world and myself, I am able to invest in the friendships I am loyal to and am set on maintaining, and I’m a hell of a lot better off than those kids who wasted their food throwing it at me in middle school.