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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

‘Loners’ aren’t always lonely

Student sits calmly alone. Photo credit: Dominique Wood

There’s a difference between being a ‘loner’ and being lonely.

You’re at a restaurant with your friends. You see a girl sitting in the corner booth, mindlessly eating her sandwich while reading a torn-up book. She’s by herself with no friends in sight. You start to feel bad for her, until you realize that she’s smiling.

There’s a stigma that people who tend to keep to themselves don’t have friends because they are weird or socially awkward, according to The Odyssey.

When you first hear the word ‘loner’, you might picture someone who spends most of their time alone. They are gawky and in desperate need of a better haircut. The only time they get out of their house is for class or to go grocery shopping. Their only friend is their mom.

This is a shame because there is great power in spending time by yourself. People who can be without others have a lot of confidence. Not everyone can sit in a movie theater alone or make a dinner reservation for one without feeling judged or awkward.

There are so many benefits to being alone. When you spend time away from friends or a relationship, you learn who you are. You also have more time to do the things you love. You have more ‘me’ time. These moments are few and far between, especially in college.

Everyone deserves friends and happiness, but at times we may forget that happiness comes from ourselves first. Sure, sometimes getting coffee with your roommate or playing basketball with friends can be fun. But what about the time you spend by yourself? When was the last time you spent a Friday night in, watching reruns of The Office, instead of going to a party?

I am an extrovert, with amazing friends and go out often. I also live by myself in a beautiful studio apartment. These two statements don’t contradict one another.

I love living alone, especially being able to make a grilled cheese at 2 a.m. without being afraid of waking someone else up. Or being able to eat an entire Ben and Jerry’s ice cream pint while watching “When Harry Met Sally” without anyone knowing. I love using all of the hot water when taking showers, I love it.

When I first tell people that I don’t have any roommates, they look at me funny. They ask, “Aren’t you lonely?” The number of times I get asked this question still surprises me.

I always think of a quote from one of my favorite philosophers.

“If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company,” Jean-Paul Sartre said.

Just because someone spends a lot of time by themselves, that doesn’t mean they are lonely. Being lonely is when you are missing the absence of someone else’s presence. Being a ‘loner’ is just enjoying your own company.

Of course, if you are lonely there are many things you can do to change that. You can join a club, try out for a sport or give Greek life a chance. Ultimately, just get out and meet people. There are 17,789 students that go to Chico State. There’s bound to be a couple of people that you click with.

If you do spend a lot of time alone and consider yourself a loner, embrace it.

Brooke Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @bmartin471 on Twitter.

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