Introspections & Retrospections

The Difference Between Solitude and Loneliness

I’ve spent a lot of Christmas(es) both lonely and/or solitary. Sure, there had been parties, been invited to homes, crashed uninvited to some homes. But most of those years and experiences were either lonely or solitary. But it’s not really a bad thing (at least, one side of it). But even if it’s part of the season — I believe it should not be a reason to ruin everyone else’s reason to enjoy your company. 

Solitude is about being surrounded by people, yet we wish and prefer to be without company. Some may consider it anti-social, and I believe in our socially-deviated norms of today — such perspective against ‘anti-socialness’ is not only shallow but also prejudicial. There is joy in solitude — whether it be momentary, brief or even for an extended period of time. Solitude allows an introspective person to reflect, digest and assimilate their experience and learning. It gives the solitary person time to think, reconsider, see things in a different light. It provides room and space to shed tears to cleanse what withholds their eyes from seeing the beauty of it all, to let out a silly laugh without being conscious of how it might weird or senseless it sounds, or to just responsibly punch and smash stuff without worrying about other people. It permits us to find ourselves, be ourselves, love ourselves, enjoy ourselves.

Loneliness is about being surrounded by people, yet we wish and prefer to be in the company of someone else, or someone particular. Some consider it normal, acceptable; but in fact it is the real danger, not just to one’s self — but to their relations as well. A lonely person neglects the love, attention and time that other people willingly (or grudgingly) give — all for the whim and daydream that someone else was supposed to be doing that for them. A lonely person ignores the everyone else, only caring about what they feel, who they miss, what they want (and the fact that they can’t tell what they want directly to everyone else, but somehow wish that that person they miss would know and put them out of their misery). A lonely person knows how to appreciate — but only the person that they want to appreciate. Everyone else is just taken for granted.

It’s easy to get annoyed with the solitary person — simply because they’re harder to understand. One moment they’re hanging out, the next second they walk out (or just disappear). But faster to get annoyed with the lonely person — simply because you understand them too well. Often you know the problem, but you just can’t tell it to their face. Or maybe you still don’t know why, and they won’t tell you why. It doesn’t matter. S/he’s a friend, your job is to support, be with. Heck. But yes, that’s true. But one moment they’re happy with you, yet next second they’re like unhappy with you. And honestly, I’d prefer the solitary friend who just walks out. That, or tell me the problem.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a person is just lonely or just want to be in solitude. And sometimes, it’s a little bit too obvious. I think what’s important is not to let either of these affect and destroy our relationships. After all, when that sense of solitude fades or that lonely angst passes by — and we realize that everyone had to go (because seriously, everyone eventually has to sleep, work or do something else), who’s to blame?

If you want to have some time alone — be frank about it: tell your friend or companion, don’t leave them hanging. Communicate.

And if you’re lonely — we respect what you’re going through. But by God, stop being annoying. Or you might end up really being left alone after all.

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