Solitude or Loneliness?

The idea of “introvert acceptance” was floating around a few years ago. Articles were written about it, explaining it to extroverts and hoping, I think, to find better understanding from society in general. Science (through personality testing which is NOT the same as a horoscope or a Mewkid ‘test’ on Facebook) has determined that Introverts make up only 35% of the population. It’s difficult to know how accurate that is because a lot of introverts might have been in the basement setting up a model train and didn’t know any of that was going on.

I found the idea of “introvert acceptance” paradoxical. Does it mean we’ll be invited to parties? Because we won’t go… I wrote at length about introversion on this blog post, Introverts R Us.

Since the virus (new era, BV and AV. We’re in DV) there have been a lot of memes about introverts (see below) but it really is a situation in which a person like me is unlikely to feel “lonely.”

Loneliness. I HAVE felt it. It’s pretty rare, though. I was a kid in my room (with the door closed!) reading a book — probably I was 14 — and I read something that set me to pondering the difference between solitude and loneliness. I can remember the MOMENT, the carpet, my hair, a book on the floor, stuff like that, but I can’t remember the BOOK. Anyway, I went to talk to my dad about it, and the upshot was that solitude is comforting and loneliness is miserable. I found I can get lonely for someone in particular or a place; for me it involves yearning.

I know a lot of people feel loneliness DV. I am sorry for you. It has to be miserable. Just know the people are still around and 65% of them are feeling just like you are. This confinement probably wears you out, leaving you feeling directionless, low energy and depressed like introverts at a large party.

But, if you’re having a hard time with this, here are some ideas… (The “links” aren’t real. This is a photo of an email I got this morning from my Internet service provider). I would add exercise to this list.

Here’s an OOOOLLLLDDDD song…

11 thoughts on “Solitude or Loneliness?

  1. All the ideas are so great and I especially like the idea of writing letters. The idea of writing letters and receive them when this is behind us brings a smile and lots of curiosity.

  2. It’s so interesting to me how COVID has created so much distance between people, but my work life is anything but, being in eLearning and online with faculty and colleagues for hours every day trying to get things done. I would love to have some solitude in all this (especially as the introvert I am…) No hobbies needed here…although I wish I had time for them. Take Care!

  3. I love this. 💚 All great tips too! Since leaving education (which FORCED ME to be an extrovert–oh and my Mom making us sing in front of congregations too), I have RELISHED in solitude. Perhaps I’m a bit of an ambivert due to the “forced” years. I can count on one hand the times I’ve truly felt “lonely”. And that’s because my grown kids are gone. It’s the Momma in me that misses the “taking care” part. But I have my pup. And I’ve always found what I need in animals…..and books,….in the Big Empty….Being in my R.V. right now is simply heaven. I’m enjoying that the rest of the world is a bit “quiet” and am penning my thoughts on what the narratives will be when we return to “normal.”💚💚💚

    • That’s very interesting, the narratives we might have when things return to “normal.” I wonder if they will? I think normal is going to be different. I wonder how? (I wonder a lot of things). Teaching forced me to be an extrovert, too. There was one summer I didn’t teach, and I didn’t leave my yard for a month.

  4. I wrote letters to a friend across the country for about 30 years. He sent letters, clippings, little gifts. When he died I wasn’t sure what to do. I continued to write to him. Some of those letter were posted on my blog (well, maybe only one). Some just get saved and added to over time. Sometimes you have a friend who you just know would be interested in ‘x’. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if he’s dead. Maybe I’ll tell him about COVID-19.

    • This is one of the loveliest things I’ve read in a long time. The man “in” my life is 7000 miles away, and I doubt I will see him ever again which is, oddly, OK with me. Over the 25+ years we’ve known each other, most of which have been apart, and most of our communication has been through letters, now email, we’ve both realized there are things we can’t say to anyone one else we know or have known. I imagine if he were to die, I would still write to him.

      I think there are just some conversations that are particular. There are a few conversations I miss very much, some epistolary, and photocopies of some of those now pretty old letters are taped to the wall in my playroom/studio whatever that is so that those people are there with me. It means a lot to me that they have been here, in this world, with me and we had things to say to each other, unique things.

Comments are closed.