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18 May 2007 @ 08:19 am
I Want To Be Alone  
I found this article over at lilliew's

A bit below the cut...

Miina Matsuoka lives by herself in New York City. She owns two cats and routinely screens her calls. But before you jump to conclusions, note that she is comfortable hobnobbing in any of five languages for her job as business manager at an international lighting-design firm. She just strongly prefers not to socialize, opting instead for long baths, DVDs, and immersion in her art projects. She does have good, close friends, and goes dancing about once a month, but afterward feels a strong need to "hide and recoup." In our society, where extroverts make up three-quarters of the population, loners (except Henry David Thoreau) are pegged as creepy or pathetic. But soloists like Matsuoka can function just fine in the world. They simply prefer traveling through their own interior universe.

Loners often hear from well-meaning peers that they need to be more social, but the implication that they're merely black-and-white opposites of their bubbly peers misses the point. Introverts aren't just less sociable than extroverts; they also engage with the world in fundamentally different ways. While outgoing people savor the nuances of social interaction, loners tend to focus more on their own ideas and on stimuli that don't register in the minds of others. Social engagement drains them, while quiet time gives them an energy boost.

Contrary to popular belief, not all loners have a pathological fear of social contact. "Some people simply have a low need for affiliation," says Jonathan Cheek, a psychologist at Wellesley College. "There's a big subdivision between the loner-by-preference and the enforced loner." Those who choose the living room over the ballroom may have inherited their temperament, Cheek says. Or a penchant for solitude could reflect a mix of innate tendencies and experiences such as not having many friends as a child or growing up in a family that values privacy.

Research by San Francisco psychotherapist Elaine Aron bears out Guyer's hunch, demonstrating that withdrawn people typically have very high sensory acuity. Because loners are good at noticing subtleties that other people miss, Aron says, they are well-suited for careers that require close observation, like writing and scientific research. It's no surprise that famous historical loners include Emily Dickinson, Stanley Kubrick, and Isaac Newton.

The entire article here.

AD absolutelyadabsolutely on May 18th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
Very interesting article, Ith, thanks for sharing it.
Chris: Aiden Quinnsharpiesgal on May 18th, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
The conclusion wasn't very conclusive or did I miss something?

Thanks for sharing.
dejladejla on May 18th, 2007 05:17 pm (UTC)
Fascinating! Now I don't feel so badly.
Otterly Evilotterevil on May 18th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC)
Book you might like
Party of One: The Loner's Manifesto by Anneli Rufus

Thought it was quite interesting. And I always figured the loner thing was one of the reasons we were friends :)
Mischief: PWLightsem_kellesvig on May 18th, 2007 09:12 pm (UTC)
My dad always said I was a gregarious loner, meaning that if I'm out in public, I'm certainly not shy but that I really have no need to go out in the first place. I think that article proves he's right. *g*
Laurie of the Isles1_mad_squirrel on May 18th, 2007 10:36 pm (UTC)
That reminds me of me. This is a very interesting article, do you mind if I pass it on?
Ithithildyn on May 18th, 2007 10:38 pm (UTC)
No, go ahead. I stole it from another LJ as it was [g]