Embracing Your Inner Loner



Let’s stop using the word “loner.” Yes, I’m serious. And you know why? Because when I googled it, the results were a mixture of girls sitting in the rain (all in black and white for some reason…why?) and quotes about unrequited love, and my brain went into rage mode and so I’ve decided that “loner” is officially banned from my life. People, not all loners are sad people who write love poetry and listen to mellow music! Some even have friends!

I’ll be fair though, even if we’ve all agreed that there aren’t any more loners, we can’t stop ourselves from feeling lonely. We’ve all been there – sitting alone, people-watching, pretending to study, looking up our favourite YouTube video of that cute dog dancing or those guys who play that awesome video game, always wishing that tomorrow we’d find a friendly face in our oh-so-full class. Feeling lonely, basically. Duh. Been there, done that. And then you’re all like, “Why am I not feeling that awesomely awesome feeling everyone else seems to feel at UTM? Am I just that much of a lonely loser?”

No, you’re not. You’re not a loser, Imaginary Person.

Full disclosure here: I love being alone. No really, I do, and it’s totally and completely by choice, and I love it that way. And it’s cool. Totally cool, guys.

But listen, I get you. There’s a certain type of misery that hangs out with loneliness and it can be a pain in the backside trying to tell that misery to get the hell out of there, so let me, as a lonely person (BUT NOT A LONER), let you in on a few tips and tricks:

1. Stop being so hard on yourself. No one at UTM thinks you’re a loser. Okay, some do. Maybe. But when your preschool teacher said “those who matter don’t mind,” she wasn’t spouting lies, I swear. It’s completely okay to be alone in your own thoughts. You’re allowed.

2. Which leads me to this—give yourself permission to feel lonely. We’ve all had that one class (or four!) where you know no one and everyone else seems to have friends and that one guy who answers all the questions seems friendly, but also intimidating, and you end up at the back of the class hiding behind your Macbook. It’s all right. You are allowed to feel lonely. Acceptance and all that jazz.

And once you’ve accepted it, you can embrace it, right? Right?

Well, no. What if you’re always alone? Have no friends and want them?

I can give you the usual advice, friend—join a club, make sure to talk to someone, blah, blah, blah—but I’m not like that. Like I said, I’m a lonely person. And lonely people like us don’t always join clubs and we don’t always want to speak and it’s so stressful and you don’t always want to be with people but you’re so lonely and oh man you want friends and oh gosh everyone else looks like they’re having so much fun and—

STOP! First, watch this video about being lonely. It’s good and cute and I love it and all, but maybe it’s not too realistic. Here’s some realistic advice, AKA my Best Advice Ever:

Make a point to talk to whoever sits next to you.

It’s not always the easiest thing, I know, I know, but when you’re alone in lecture, you’re going to wish you did speak to that cool dude who decided to take a seat next to you first day (who maybe has a group of cool friends you could also make friends with—connections, people!!!) instead of spending class alone. And it has benefits—if you need to skip (not that anyone ever does that, right? Right?) then you’ve got a note-taking buddy to steal from, and a friend to boot. And it works! This is how I made every friend I made in first and second year and guess what? You might see them again! In another class! And then the loneliness is gone! Kicked out! Just like that, you Awesome Opossum, you!

But also keep this in mind people, you’re still ALLOWED to be alone sometimes. You don’t have to call yourself a “loner”, because you’re not one. Sometimes just, like, love the loneliness. It’s cool. It loves you too.