Being Alone is Good for Your Relationships

I used to think I was wrong to enjoy being alone.

It felt like a flaw or wanting something bad. I don’t know where that came from—probably because most of the people around me were outgoing and seemed to endlessly interact with ease. I could talk with classmates and hang out with friends for a while, but at a certain point I would feel the urge to walk away from the crowds and escape to somewhere peaceful—usually in my own mind.

Though we appear to be externally troubled, introverts are not socially stunted. We may not want to always be around you, but we want to be at our best for the times we are around you.

I didn’t realize the difference between isolation and solitude.

  • Isolation is a complete disconnect from friends, lovers, and community.
  • Solitude is temporary disconnection from the crowd to better connect with oneself or God, and then reconnect with community.

There is a world of difference between a lifestyle of separation and moments of seclusion. Isolation kills relationships, but solitude can bring fresh energy into relationships.

How To Be Alone

I read a review of a book called “How To Be Alone.” One series of quotes from the book gets at the heart of the struggle between solitude and relationships:

“I got fascinated by silence; by what happens to the human spirit, to identity and personality when the talking stops, when you press the off button, when you venture out into that enormous emptiness. I was interested in silence as a lost cultural phenomenon, as a thing of beauty and as a space that had been explored and used over and over again by different individuals, for different reasons and with wildly differing results.

Being alone in our present society raises an important question about identity and well-being.

We are supposed now to seek our own fulfillment, to act on our feelings, to achieve authenticity and personal happiness — but mysteriously not do it on our own.”

– Sara Maitland

Solitude Changes How We Connect

Solitude isn’t bad for relationships; it helps us become better in relationships. (tweet that)

When the introverted among us need space and time and quiet, it allows us to return to a place of internal safety and work out just what we are thinking and feeling. An adept introvert has a healthy relationship with himself or herself and can then build healthy relationships with other people, too.

Temporary seclusion is the diving board for deeper relationships.

It’s not that we don’t like you or we’re mad at you; we simply require a different approach to connect with you. Being alone is not about avoiding relationships, but mentally, socially, emotionally, and spiritually preparing to be the best friend or lover in our relationships.

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What’s one way you’ve used solitude to improve your life?

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Learn more about my book, which explores what makes relationships grow and how those relationships help you make the most of change and conflict. Subscribe to updates here.

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3 responses to “Being Alone is Good for Your Relationships

      • Both. I am a single mother to an 18 year old and we only have one car right now, although he has a bike and often bikes to work, so I am available to give him rides and spend time with him whenever possible. Other then this relationship, work, and a few volunteer responsibilities I have no relationships that demand my time. We have moved away from my family and I haven’t made any very close friends here, mainly because of my love of solitude I guess. Days off, evenings when my son is occupied with others, ect., I don’t typically seek out company but instead just do my own thing, usually around the house. I am blessed to find that I have quite a bit of time to myself.

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