When Introvertedness Becomes Self-Isolation


lonelinessI’m moderately introverted. I’m a homebody. At the end of a long day, I’d rather be in bed with Netflix and by myself than with anyone else. I also work on weekends and am friends with people who are scattered to the four winds, so a lot of the time, weekends see me working double shifts and/or going to bed right after closing time. Most of the time, I love my nights on the couch at home, with sole control of the remote and the knowledge that relaxation doesn’t get much better than this. But at other times, I fear how much I love being alone.

Nights out fill me with this sense of anticipation and excitement, because I hardly get to go out that much. I love going out to dinner, I love wandering around my town just shopping and eating, but there’s nothing I like more than hanging out at home, in sweatpants, eating almost everything in the refrigerator and devouring a book.

My love for aloneness isn’t something I’m ashamed of, but lately, it does give me pause. In contrast, I have friends who fill their weekends to the brim with activities, events and shenanigans, and the thought runs ever through my head that maybe I’m doing something wrong. Maybe I’m not living my life to the fullest.

There’s nothing wrong with spending time alone; for an introverted person like myself, I’d rather be alone or with my close friends than with a whole huge group of people. It’s how I recharge, it’s when I feel most creative, relaxed, and at peace, and it just comes naturally to me.

But just because it comes naturally doesn’t mean that I want to spend all of my time alone, because I feel like I’m not living my life. I feel like my introvertedness is becoming self-isolation.

I become so comfortable being by myself that it feels weirder than it should when I bring someone else into my little world. My comfort zone becomes a bubble, a safe space I don’t want to emerge from. I isolate myself from experiences, simply because they’re not as fun as my preferred activity: lying supine on my couch.

Being by yourself is best, in my opinion, when it comes as a relief, not when you don’t do anything else. Maybe that’s just me and my own strange half-intro/half-slightly-extroverted personality, but when I overdo it on the vegging out and the relaxation, I crave excitement and the unknown. I want to be reckless and free. But I can’t, because I feel like so much self-isolation has now prevented me from seeking new experiences and trying new things.

When does loving to be alone become harmful self-isolation?

I’ve found that I isolate myself to the degree that sometimes, I don’t enjoy what I love most of all: to be alone. I realize that I need balance in my life, that I need to let others into my bubble and into my world, or risk being actually alone for the rest of my life. I fear that I love being alone so much that I’ll eventually hate it, because there will be nothing else.

Self-isolation is a slippery slope. There are moments of calm and peace when I need to be by myself, but these moments are best as periods, not as ellipses. They should punctuate the adventure and tumult of my life, not dominate it completely. Because eventually, I’ll find myself slipping so far down the mountain that I won’t be able to climb my way back up it again.

Lisa Lo Paro
Lisa is a freelance writer and bibliophile living on the outskirts of New York City. She likes 2 a.m. with a good book, takes cream in her coffee and heavily filters her photos. Check out her blog The Most Happy, her Instagram, and Twitter.

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