Just Because I’m Alone Doesn’t Mean I’m Lonely

Tuesday, 08 August 2017 - 08:23:58 WIB
By : Natasha Wahyudihardjo | Category: Social Issues - 4542 hits
“You enjoy being alone too much, Natasha.”

“How can you possibly go everywhere alone and enjoy it?”

“You should see people more often.”

I hear these remarks uttered by my friends one too many times. And judging from how persistently I receive them, I realize that they will not subside anytime soon. Still, my response remains the same, “What’s wrong with it?”

I was born an introvert. I spend my weekends going out alone to the same coffee shop for four weeks in a row to read Murakami and observe people. It gives me solace – watching how the sun shines upon the lustrous blonde hair of a foreigner who is too busy staring at his laptop screen to even sip his coffee, or how a girl so desperately wants to read her book but cannot not seem to put her phone down.

I was alone, but at ease.

I had no company, but I feel enough.

“I go to the movies alone.”

When I said this, my friends could not help but let out pitiful stares, or they would raise their eyebrow. Let’s admit it, theaters are filled with couples holding hands and chit-chatting while queueing for tickets, or parents who are taking their kids to watch movies of their choosing. It is a place full with people going in packs. Seeing me watch a movie alone drives people to arrive at one conclusion: I am lonely.

At bars I frequent I sometimes get complimentary stuff from bartenders – breadsticks with chocolate dipping or refreshing infused water with lemon and mint leaves. Never do they express this directly, but from the subtle, yet sympathetic smile they wear, I see hints of curiosity, Why does this lady drink alone?

“You make friends in the most unexpected places.”

True. I cannot come up with the exact number of how many times I ended up having intriguing conversations, or befriending a group of 40-something folks. Yet people only seem to focus at one thing: my being alone.

Dependency. The word that explains my concerns above. This condition that lets people believe that they can only feel whole in others’ company, that self-contentedness can entirely be attained only if at least another person is present with us. Otherwise, we are perceived as alone and lonely.

What is interesting is the fact that most of the people I know would rather not go at all than to watch alone, which brings me to my next question: do you really want to watch a movie or do you just want company? Other people’s decisions should not ultimately determine the outcome of ours.

Homo sapiens are social creatures and communication and socialization have existed for presumably 100,000 years ago, enabling humans to live side by side, helping each other. It is wise to bear in mind that having friends is one gift of life; but even wiser to conjure up, that at some point, it is okay to be alone and it is fine to like it.

Natasha Wahyudihardjo is a 24-year old language enthusiast who is fond of anagram, Scrabble and wine. In her leisure time, she writes answers to a number of topics on Quora https://www.quora.com/profile/Natasha-Wahyudihardjo

Got an opinion on this issue? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below.

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Erlita Putranti | 08 August 2017 | 13:58:49 WIB
Too often people fail to differentiate "alone" and "lonely", and thus cannot seem to comprehend how one can be alone without feeling lonely. Thank you for this writing, Natasha. It reminds me why it is okay to be alone and that more than often, it is better to be alone than to be lonely in the middle of a crowd.
Kani | 08 August 2017 | 19:32:09 WIB
Preach! Watching movie alone seems like a crime, everyone will asks you what's wrong with you that you could do such a thing :-(
Ruby - Astari | 09 August 2017 | 06:49:04 WIB
On my way to a movie theatre alone, I ran into a friend and her boyfriend. When she learned that I was off to watch a movie alone, she automatically offered to accompany me but couldn't do so on that night. (What a waste of breath, despite her supposedly good intention.) When I told her I only had that time to watch a movie that week, she relented and let me go.

No, I'm not waiting for anybody just so I don't have to go alone. When I want to do it, I just do it. I need my solitary moment too, my personal space. It's my drama-free, non-conflict privilege.
Deuishinki | 09 August 2017 | 09:18:31 WIB
Same as like being happy doesn't mean you don't have problems.
It seems like people like to interpret things in the contrary meaning.
Yet sometimes, they interpret things in the most literal and blunt way that is also frustrating.
Eg when I put up an update of listening to a sad song, people will judge me that I'm "galau", when in fact I like sad songs and listening to it the whole time despite how I'm feeling that particular time.
Castorella | 09 August 2017 | 13:44:13 WIB
This is what happens when the world is run by extroverts. In their eyes, we're the lonely freaks. The extroverts, at least those in my life, can't seem to understand that there are other ways of doing things, of being happy. Probably because they're the majority, so they think theirs is the only way.

I get weird looks from my coworkers all the time when I spend my lunch break in a quite corner somewhere with a book. It's trickier with family. Somehow they get offended when I say I want a whole night of me-time after spending the entire day in a family function. They get upset when I say I need some privacy, pointing out how weird I am for wanting to be away from family. They make it sound as if I'm going away for a couple of weeks when it's usually just a few hours of quality book-reading session *sighs*

Good thing I've been blessed with great friends who understand my "quirks". Probably because most of them are introverts themselves :)

Castorella | 09 August 2017 | 13:51:30 WIB
Hell, I even go to concerts, theaters, and music festivals alone. I keep it a secret from my family because I just can't be bothered to explain that, a) Yes, I'm perfectly fine, thank you very much, and b) I'm not going pass on seeing my favorite shows just because my friends don't share the same musical interests with me, for pete's sake!
Astrini | 07 September 2017 | 19:36:32 WIB
Preach! Tbh, I feel sorry for people who-like mentioned above-are too dependant of others, that they seem to be 'terrified' of the idea of being alone with their thoughts. No wonder a lot of people don't have empathy or have difficulty understanding others, they fail to try to understand themselves in the first place. Imho, when we're alone without the influence of other people, that's when we can truly enjoy being ourselves.
Tffny | 04 October 2017 | 13:31:08 WIB
you know what the best moment i've ever done so far ? going to the coffee shop alone, order iced green tea latte and put some good music on my ears all day long...i'm so blessed at that time
Nana Sagala | 27 February 2018 | 23:01:52 WIB
I am an extrovert who lives in an introvert life. I just moved&work overseas, and figured out how 'alone' I am here, but for real I don't feel 'lonely'. I do enjoy my life a lot! I am open to meet up new friends, but realized that everyone is getting busy. So, what should I say? Strolling around the city just by myself&camera is the best thing ever. I don't need to depend on someone. I can walk freely wherever I want. Guys, enjoy your freedom. Alone also means that you can explore this world more. And, again, thanks Natasha for sharing. It's such a wonderful thought.

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