Why people are SO afraid to be alone

Every day around noon, a group of five or six people gather in the break room at my company to chat over lunch. They get so boisterous that you can often hear them shouting over each other from the hallway!

I've noticed that I hardly ever see these people alone in the building, no matter the day, time, or place.

A similar dynamic plays out in my own department, where people do everything from grab coffee to walk to the bathroom together. (I kid you not!)

I understand the value of building relationships at work and elsewhere, but these people take it to a whole new level.

I think many people have been conditioned by society to believe that unless they do all or most things in pairs or groups, they're weirdos.

Many people have a strong longing to be part of a group, and to them, the thought of flying solo is utterly terrifying.

Yes, social relationships -- or, connections, as we like to call them -- do help people land jobs, get promotions, and receive other perks.

But there's a lot to be said for squeezing in some alone time.

Studies have disproven the notion that the best ideas are generated in groups. On the contrary, people are at their most creative when they have some time alone to think.

When it comes to groups, everything from groupthink to group politics tends to impede people from fulfilling their true potential. I find that far too much time is spent bantering about petty things rather than focusing on the task at hand. Meetings get a bad rap for this very reason!

Beyond the workplace, alone time is essential to a healthy personal life. You can't clear your thoughts if people are bombarding you non-stop over the course of the day. Eventually, you need to cancel out that noise and get a little r&r.

However, the extent to which people long for the company of others depends on a host of factors, most notably personality. In general, introverts tend to enjoy being alone far more than extroverts, who thrive on social interaction.

While the former recharges his batteries in a quiet environment with few to no people, the latter is partial to noise, crowds, and chatter.

Chances are the people I referenced earlier who convene for lunch are extroverts. Where do I go for lunch? The quiet confines of my car, of course, where I can sit undisturbed for an hour each day.

I'm not saying one way is better than the other. But people who loathe being alone should give it a chance. It's really not as bad as some make it out to be. You may actually discover you enjoy your own company more than you thought.

More importantly, preferring your own company to that of others doesn't make you strange. It doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. It just means that you have a rich mind and don't always have to rely on external rewards (people's approval, being part of the group, etc.) to be happy.

If you relish your time alone, more power to you!


Anonymous said...

You wrote exactly how I feel and think. Although, I would add one more thing and that is that people in groups often talk just because to hear their own voice, not really interested in conversion with others. I avoid groups as much as possible and always, always listen to my own music and read a book or just contemplating, letting my imagination flow. But people here do think I'm a weirdo. But I just don't care. Thank you.

Priscilla King said...

Introverts are the ones whose brains develop fully. Extroverts seem to be neurologically defined by incompleteness. I suppose, in the country of the blind, people think the one-eyed man is a weirdo.

Christopher Klein said...

That is not true. No one is completely introvert or extrovert. There are degrees.
The Internet is a forum that lets it introverted people out of their dens and they step out into a society that they would never venture into physically.

Anonymous said...

No man is an island. No man lives to himself nor dies to himself. A man of wisdom, sir.

Clayton Bazeley said...

Alone time is so valuable! So peaceful!
My pet hate is when people use far too many words!
Being able to turn off the chatter is bliss