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Ultramarine_Ocean's avatar

Why is being a loner and quiet seen as a negative thing?

Asked by Ultramarine_Ocean (623points) November 23rd, 2010

I prefer to be sitting alone quietly in some of my classes (especially French) but people often pity me. I’m thankful that they actually care but I think they know I could care less about not talking often and being alone. Why do people see this as a bad thing? Is it because it may seem like I’m a robot or have no personality?

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32 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

By some it may be, but certainly not by all.

shniernan's avatar

I have the same problem, but I’m sure it’s with different people. It all depends on the people looking at you…

I, for one, am very lively and active around my friends. But at any moment I can succumb to silence and seriousness. I find it necessary to step away from my personality once a day and really truly analyze my surroundings. I know it sounds weird, but if you take just one minute to stop and look at things from a third person view, with no bias, things make sense and you see a lot more.

Now when I do this, AUTOMATICALLY people will attack me with a barrage of “what’s wrong? why are you sad? etc.etc.” and I hate it. They never seem to care every other time of the day, why when I’m sad?!

Anyways, back to my first point… It all depends on the type of people. Some people do it so they seem nice, to you or to other people, but they don’t care. Some people do it because they are addicted to gossip. Some people really do care inside. It’s hard to tell, but I’m sure you can find out if you look hard enough. :D

Zaku's avatar

It’s just that extrovert-oriented people speak up about their prejudices. We quiet types think it’s great to be happily quiet and left alone. We’re just leaving you alone about our opinions, until you ask. ;-)

faye's avatar

I have to have time to be quiet and alone. Well, alone is not necessary if the other people are quiet. I love the library atmosphere. I see being perky and noisy a negative thing. I’ll blab it up in a party setting or outing but then I need rest!

marinelife's avatar

Some people are uncomfortable with quiet. They may not know what you are thinking and may rush to fill the emptiness.

srtlhill's avatar

I don’t think others consider that behavior negative as much as it unsettles them.
The quiet ones are the ones that will eventually blow up.
This is not how I feel just an observation.
I wish others would be more reserved rather than boisterous

squirbel's avatar

I don’t like the noise of extroverted types; and prefer to be alone 85% of the time. I am content to be alone, and prefer it. The other 15% I make the effort to be extroverted…which doesn’t take much effort at all.

The simple reason the prejudice is so strongly felt is because it’s not like the quiet types are out there parading how they are the definition of normal….the loud ones are.

When I said noise, I wasn’t referring to auditory noise alone. Quiet types know what I’m talking about – extroverted types are noisy in every way…personality, aura, and movement.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

Humans are social creatures. When someone appears to reject that social aspect or display little to no emotion, they seem unusual to others.

Being introverted isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as you are healthy and happy. You don’t have to be loud and talk to everyone to be social. Until the last couple years I didn’t have a whole lot of friends; I was used to being more or less alone, but the feeling of having a small group of people I could really have fun with was new and enjoyable. I’m talking about having 3–5 really good friends that I enjoy spending time with.

The key to being a “successful” loner is not letting yourself miss out on the important things in life by cooping yourself up in a room.

squirbel's avatar

^extrovert :p

The key to being a successful loner is achieving the goals you’ve set out for yourself in your mind; be it enlightenment or some material goal, or whatever. What you mentioned is success for a loner in terms of an extrovert’s world view.

My personal goal is enlightenment, and I seek to learn as much as I can. I will be an old student when I am 94. But I will have spent my life happily.

I don’t even like the term “loner”, because it seems derogatory. What do you guys think?

Berserker's avatar

I’m a great big loner, and maybe I don’t know the answer to this whatsofuckingever, but it seems that people who disapprove or are discontent of my behaviour feel upset, hurt and frightened by knowing some people don’t need them, or even worse, they feel insulted that some people don’t care to further falsify that which they’ve superficially wrought in order to feel better about their own incompetence and failures.

squirbel's avatar

kudos @Symbeline, albeit harsh~~ ; ;

I really like this topic….I want moar people to talk~!

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@squirbel Funny that you say that, I was a pretty staunch introvert for a long time. I spent my days in my bedroom, chatting to people online because I hated everyone in my high school. Growing up with the same class of >100 people in a small town leads to labels that stick, and mine left me “unpopular.” My two friends had to literally drag me out of the house to hang out.

I was unhappy. I was unhealthy. I didn’t realize it at the time. I had no interest in being “popular” or having a gaggle of people following me wherever I went – still don’t. But now I have people I can talk to… It feels good to have social connections and to know people like you. I’ve had a lot of great experiences since making more friends; I’ve been able to achieve my personal goals and go through my college career with good memories… not just more learning.

Being a social species isn’t a extrovert’s point of view; it’s a biological one. As individuals we are weak and vulnerable. As a group we have a chance at survival. Most of us here don’t have to worry about getting eaten by bears these days, but part of having a healthy life is having connections with others. That social aspect don’t have to be IRL or depend on having a large group of friends… Having one or two or even pets is enough for some. Whatever makes you happy, truly happy, is key. I’ve never met a happy person with no friends.

Jeruba's avatar

> I don’t even like the term “loner”, because it seems derogatory. What do you guys think?

I think there is such a thing as a loner, but that is a small subset of those who are happy in solitude. It’s not a term for all introverts.

There are those who are perfectly comfortable alone but also enjoy company, those who prefer to be by themselves but can manage company when necessary, those who are alone and lonely but haven’t learned how to break through their barriers, and those who don’t want anything to do with others and don’t know how to get along with them or sustain relationships, and they mostly don’t care to try. It’s only the last group that I would call “loners.”

I don’t see the term as derogatory in itself. That’s just the loading it gets because of the dominant view promoted by sociable types. But there is also often an association with enigmatic or hostile behavior, meaning that many people don’t understand the solitary souls and treat them as outcasts. That’s where the pejorative comes in, I think, and not in the idea of solitude as such.

squirbel's avatar

@Parapara I’d say you weren’t a true introvert, you were one of the types who didn’t know what you were from the beginning. That’s why you were unhappy and unhealthy. You were being social, but from inside a cage. That is the loudest indicator that you sought others. An introvert doesn’t do that – doesn’t feel the need to chat with people.

I agree that humans are social beings – but not at the expense of their own pursuits.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@squirbel You’re probably right. I enjoy being with people (most of the time)... so I’m definitely not a “true introvert.” However, I do think people have the potential to change from introvert to extrovert, depending on their situation.

Often someone’s level of sociability does have negative impacts on their own pursuits, however. It works on both ends, too. Someone can miss out on opportunities and never get anywhere in life from being not social enough as well as being too social. Overly social-minded people might compromise their ambitions to be at the “same level” as their friends or family. It works both ways… the key is balance between independence and socialization.

Supacase's avatar

I could easily be happy alone about 85% of the time (like @squirbel). Having a family, especially a child, makes that difficult and sometimes makes me cranky, even though I love them dearly. When I absolutely must make room for alone time, they feel like I am shutting them out. I have always been this way, but my husband has never had this need in his life. It is hard for him to understand it in me – especially at the level intensity I feel it. It is a struggle right now.

I actually look forward to the day when I’m old and everyone considers this relatively normal behavior. Sometimes I even want to live on my own again after my daughter is out of the house, but that will be hard considering I don’t want a divorce!)

Odysseus's avatar

To put it simply , Fear is usually an instinctive response to the unknown.

If people don’t know much about you because of your desire to be a loner, then this instinctual response leads to the negative emotions.

Aethelwine's avatar

There were three words used to describe me in my high school yearbook when friends took a moment to sign it. Nice, sweet and quiet. This always made me feel uncomfortable. I should be happy with the first two, so why do I let the latter get to me?

I’m going to leave now and be quiet.

Paradox's avatar

If there is one thing I’ve learned in my 30+ years it’s the fact that you can have alot of control over your life if you put in enough effort on certain things such as bettering your earning potential through working at learning a higher paid skill/career, you can get that car/truck you want if you want it bad enough, you can get over your own fears, you can learn to be a decent person if you wern’t before and these are just a few examples. However, one thing I’ve learned that you can’t control is whether other people will like you or not. You can only be yourself and you don’t owe it to anyone else to be otherwise as long as your not an a—h—e. People either except you for who you are or they don’t and it’s really that simple.

I’m not even necessarily speaking of myself here but I’ve seen very decent, honest down-to-earth people absolutely struggle to make friends in vain and because of their failure that they even felt lower about themselves than they did before. Some people just have an uncanny ability to get people to like them compared to more introverted people. Like I’ve said in an earlier post I lost the few people in my life I was close to in a very tragic short frame of time not that long ago, the few people that knew me, gave a dam about me and accepted me for who I was and now (by some horrible twist of fate) I don’t have them anymore. I was always somewhat of a loner preferring to spend at least 75% of my time alone to begin with but I still enjoyed having those few people to spend quality time with who I could honestly trust.

You can be alone being with people you just don’t connect with just as much as being alone away from people. Again, (argue with me all you want) you can’t control whether other people will like you or not. You can do things to increase your odds but there are no gaurantees here. It does seem people do look down upon others who spend alot of time alone or are not involved in relationships for long periods of time. I think in the end you need to be happy with yourself, find things about yourself you can be proud of and even remind yourself why you shouldn’t look down on yourself because there may be times when you won’t have others to do that for you. The only thing you can do is be yourself, there is nothing more and people either like you for that or they don’t.


I think a lot of people like to be alone and quiet, but they are afraid they’d be labelled abnormal, thinking that the majority of people are sociable and talkative. The fact is, a lot of people feel that they have to “fit in”, so they “act” to be sociable when in fact they prefer to be quiet and by themselves. We humans create a world in which we think we have to talk a lot to be like others, to be accepted, and to be liked. To not do so is seen as strange, and I think this is unfortunate. Yes, humans are social creatures, and because of that, we build a society where we constantly think we “have” to be sociable, otherwise we don’t fit in. But the reality is many of us would prefer to be left alone, to not have to interact with others on a constant basis. It takes a lot of energy to be sociable and to mingle. I can see your point——growing up I was very much like you, and I still am to an extent. Sometimes, those kids who are “loners” in the classroom are the truly special and unique ones, kids who have interesting personalities and talents, but the world is so much ingrained with this idea that “you have to be like others to be accepted”, these youngsters are usually overlooked, ignored, or rejected as outcasts. Not only are these kids rejected by their peers, but are often neglected (or criticized) by their teachers as well. That is really a shame.

flutherother's avatar

There is a difference between being strange or odd and being quiet. Either way mature people accept others as they are.

Seelix's avatar

I was reading an article recently about this in Psychology Today. It made me feel a little better about being an introvert :)

mattbrowne's avatar

Because there are people around who notice when something is wrong.

dasaad4's avatar

I’m not gonna read all the responses. I’ve read some, and they are nice. But let me ask this. Why does being alone amount to being an introvert? People across the country and the world are not alone for the same reasons. I believe preferring to be alone is seen as a negative because people are conditioned to believe that anything outside of what is considered normal is wrong. And there have certainly been too many negative stereotypes attached to this. This is certainly entrenched and indoctrinated in the USA. Even though none of these a__h___s have done a comprehensive study on just how many like to be alone, at what age, under what conditions, and when. Their presumptiveness mirrors the arrogance and ignorance that is the backbone of this country. Better not paint your house some off color or think differently. Why, you might be considered strange.

Go ahead & enjoy your alone time. For so many, it is a time of peace, relaxation, reflection, introspection, clarification, planning, consideration, resolution, and so many other things. Why isn’t anyone asking what’s wrong with the plethora of idiots (there, I’ve said it) that have to stay constantly connected? The idiocy is in thinking something is wrong when you want to be alone. And/or quiet. In a society of pseudo intelligent people, I suppose it would be a societal norm to see it this way. However, they should at least call this country the United States of Amnesia. As it is, great authors along with our great grandparents used to speak of the Cherished Value of peace and solitude. And the things it can bring to the mind and spirit. We’re living in a country of educated fools. Who know slightly better than you, what you need to think and feel. And why.

Ignore these people. And deal with them with intellect and sensitivity as best you can. Aside of being able to enlighten them, it is the best you can hope to do.

By the way, in a country if not a world of arrogant jackasses whose thinking is largely influenced and governed by the norm, it’s more likely a credential for you to want to have some time alone.

shniernan's avatar

@dasaad4 – I, too, live in America. And agree with 99% of what you said, don’t get me wrong.

I would just like to point out that, before going on a rampage like that, not everyone here lives in america. Please don’t say things like “We’re living in a country of educated fools.”

It is true that you as an American and I as an American are living amongst fools with the disguise of intelligence, but not everyone here is from Fluther.

just a reminder/warning.

dasaad4's avatar

Point very well taken. Thank you so much for the insight. It is at times quite difficult maintain discretion in the face of years of unyielding and recalcitrant ideology and thinking. When you would think that, perhaps your different point of view would have just as much acceptance with open mindedness, as everyone else.
And sorry for making you feel like that was perhaps a ‘rampage’. To me, it was more comic relief.

mattbrowne's avatar

@dasaad4 – You are talking to us right now.

Jeruba's avatar

@dasaad4, you may have misjudged your audience. Why don’t you take a little time to get acquainted with the culture of this site that you’ve just joined before leveling a blast like that at its members?

dallas1971's avatar

Sometimes you need to just have me time so you can listen to the thoughts and ideas in your head. I recently became unattached suddenly and now i am waiting for college to start back up so i can go back to school. Dont get me wrong i enjoy the time at home, i get alot of things done but im an extravert and social butterfly so i am ready to be around people again,lol.

23975's avatar

Hi fellow loners, Although it would be true to say that a percentage of loners are in effect social outcasts because of a variety of reasons ie mental health problems, personality disorders etc and naturally these people are very unhappy about their present predicament and life situation, lots of loners are perfectly well adjusted and would have the opinion that it is a sign of maladjustment and codependence to be constantly in need of company and social interaction.
From an early age I have been a loner and basically because I felt that I never belonged but more importantly looking at all of the general confusion and dysfunction I made the concious decision that I did not wish to belong. Even as kids with the need to have an education and later to earn a living, we are all forced by society into abusive relationships plus abusive and damaging life situations with endless abusive and exploitive dysfunctional individuals who next all make our life experience thoroughly miserable and extremely unhappy.
But sadly, we are forced to go among them every day and to also interact closely with these people and next endure all of the personal distress and difficulties that this entails when if we only had the choice to choose we would not go within a mile of any one of them. This enforced daily engagement with and continued unnatural daily participation in absolutely dire and dreadful situations among dreadful people was definately always the hardest part of life for me.
If this was a temporary situation one could cope, but it never ends or improves and is an extremely damaging life long experience for the vast majority. It has always been my ultimate goal to break out of this madness but how ? I did not eventually find a way out until I was 50 years old and this came by way of a voluntary redundancy / early retirement package at work which gave me a weekly pension pay check and so the means to live without any of my former constraints. This was the lifeline that I had been waiting for, so I grasped it with both hands and used it to finally climb out of the cesspit of life and into the light and fresh air.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@mattbrowne I have to amend your statement “Because there are people around who notice when something is wrong.” to “Because there are people around who think that they’re seeing that something is wrong.” I too am just as happy by myself, even at a restaurant.

siderider2's avatar

I find the older I get the more I enjoy being by myself and seeking fulfillment from simple things I previously didn’t have time to do. I am very comfortable with myself and find great joy in life with things that are so free and available. I dont think of myself as weird or socially crippled, I just feel like I am very balanced and can stand alone comfortably. There is so much to see and do in life. When I ride my bike off road I see, hear and smell nature which previously I just passed by. I have a family, but I rejoice in my time spent alone.

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