August, 08 2017
Just Because I'm Alone Doesn't Mean I'm Lonely

Many people find it hard to believe that some of us prefer to be alone than in unwanted company.

by Natasha Wahyudihardjo
Issues // Politics and Society
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“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