Why 'Loner' Doesn't Have To Mean 'Lonely'

"Loner." I'm pretty sure you're all familiar with the word, whether you've been called it yourself, or jokingly yelled it at a friend who was sitting alone. In all honesty, it seems as if the lighthearted insult grows increasingly meaningless each day. It also makes me question- is being called a 'loner' really insulting?

When you're a teenager, one idea people seem to be obsessed with is surrounding themselves with friends and ascending up this ladder of social hierarchy. I'm definitely not saying all of us think that way, but it's an urge we simply can't control. It's arguably in our nature. Therefore, when someone is seen alone, some people view it as them failing to climb socially. However, in reality, some people actually enjoy their own company and don't feel the need to surround themselves with the presence of others all of the time. It's not failing, it's just being different and possibly more comfortable in your own skin. Unfortunately, sometimes we are pressured to go against the preference of being alone, because of the expectations. You see, when we're around our peers, school in particular, we're in a mini-version of society itself. You go against what's normal and expected, and people notice it and comment on it. It's not always fair, but that's just the way it is. I've been called 'loner', or at least variations of the word, on multiple occasions. Even my friends think it's kind of weird if I choose to sit alone, but that's the thing- it's a choice for some people. I understand the concern, because unfortunately some find themselves unable to find others to be with, but even then, it doesn't make them any less of a person for it.

What I mean to say is sometimes, alone time can be glorious. It's good for you. I'm sure if you attend a pretty populated school, you'll understand what I mean- after all, you're there for several hours a week, often surrounded by the same individuals. Don't be afraid to escape sometimes. I'm certainly not telling you to bunk off lessons, but you know; during break, free periods and lunch, it's not weird to take some time to organize your thoughts. Some days, words on a page or some lovely melody coming through from your iPod can provide better company than most people. And that's fine! For example, during my mid-week free periods, I find that getting lost in a good book while sipping latte is bliss.

People shouldn't be condemned for spending time in solitude. After all, it's beneficial, making it easier to concentrate, increasing productivity, enhancing relationships... It simply helps you bloom as a person, and allows you to get to know yourself a little better. Just remember- the term 'loner' is trivial, taken seriously only by those who don't understand the art of flying solo.

-Barista Ria-

Image: Barta IV