10 reasons to sit on the couch
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solitary and social: 10 reasons to be both


Last night I saw Kings of Leon perform (this is not a picture of them because I wasn't sure if I could use one of their photos but, yes, I was almost that close -- amazing!). If you haven't heard of them, you should definitely visit their website and check them out. They are amazing. The show last night was one of the best I'd been to in a long time. My friend Abbey and I were right up front, palms pressed against the railing blocking the stage, and I was in absolute heaven. One of my favorite songs off their latest album, "Use Somebody," goes like this:


I've been roaming around
I was looking down at all I see
Painted faces fill the places I can't reach
You know that I could use somebody
You know that I could use somebody

Someone like you and all you know and how you speak
Countless lovers under cover of the street
You know that I could use somebody
You know that I could use somebody
Someone like you

Off in the night while you live it up I'm off to sleep
Waging wars to shake the poet and the beat
I hope it's gonna make you notice
I hope it's gonna make you notice

Someone like me, someone like me
Someone like me, somebody

I'm ready now, I'm ready now
I'm ready now, I'm ready now
I'm ready now, I'm ready now
I'm ready now

Someone like you, somebody
Someone like you, somebody
Someone like you, somebody

I've been roaming around
I was looking down at all I see


This song, while I'm pretty sure it's meant to be romantic, reminds me of how much we need others in our lives. I feel like I am the type who is "looking down at all I see," and by that, I mean I am looking down at the ground, thinking and pondering the world from my own perspective. However, as the song goes, I could use somebody and all of their knowledge and words, to better understand the world. While I think my perspective is pretty awesome (ha!), I know that it's only made better by listening to and learning from the perspectives of others.

As I've mentioned before, I'm kind of a loner. I like to phrase it as "independent," but, let's be serious, I just don't like people all that much. Okay, I like them, but I like them in small doses. For whatever reason (and, yes, I'm working on this in therapy!), I prefer to be alone. One of the line's in a Kings of Leon song goes, "we'd be so free/happy alone/sharing a smile/so far from home/and we would laugh/laugh till we cry/making a song/making me lie." I could go on forever about those lyrics (beautiful and so simple!) but the main thing I want to take away from them is being happy alone. Most of the time, I'm pretty happy alone. Personally, I think it's great that I like myself enough to spend time all by myself (especially when I see others who clearly cannot spend a second alone without picking up the phone to figure out who is available to hang out).

Anyway, enough about me. Let's talk about what I really want to talk about which are the benefits of being alone and the benefits of being with other people. I think there's a lot of good in both of these and you should probably have both socialization and solitude in your life (I need to work on the first one!).


5 Reasons to Be Social

  1. You can learn a lot from other people. 

    Almost every time I spend time with others I learn something new. Whether it's a small, interesting fact that my Dad read about in the paper or news on an old pal's engagement that Abbey recently shared with me, I always learn something new when I interact with others. Not only do I learn new facts, but I also come across new and exciting ideas about life. While I do think I have some pretty good ideas of my own (ha!), I think I definitely learn a LOT from friends and family (and even strangers!).

  2. You do a lot more laughing and smiling.

    Who doesn't love laughing and smiling? Umm, no one! Laughing is, as I discussed in the post "laugh it off," pretty awesome. I did a lot of it (as well as smiling) last night and it was great. I woke up in a great mood and so thankful for my wonderful friendship and the great time my friend and I had together last night. Smiling and laughing and sharing things with others can be a great way to connect not only with other people but with the world.

  3. You express yourself in different ways.

    I definitely don't so all that much expressing when I'm by myself. While I obviously experience emotions when I'm alone, it's not quite the same as when I'm with other people. I have different facial expressions (or, people are able to see my expressions). I move different and react physically to what others are saying. Most importantly, I get to talk which is a great way for me to express myself. Sure, I can talk to myself (or my dog), but it's not quite the same.

  4. You have to adjust and deal.

    Most of the time, I don't want to adjust. I like to have things my way and I have a hard time with compromise. But it's important to learn from experiences with others, even when it's hard to do so. Adjusting gives you a sense of balance and this is really important. It seem's like this would a negative, but it really is a positive. You learn so much from dealing with less-than-ideal situations and you always come away from them a better person.

  5. You receive encouragement and support.

    You can always encourage and support yourself, but there's something different about encouragement and support from others. For example, last night I mentioned my blog to a few girls I'd never met before and they were all so encouraging. They said how great it was that I was doing that and how they could really use more positivity in their lives. It made me feel so great. Not to mention, I got a mention on another blog, Quantum Learning, which made me really happy. There's nothing like support from others! 


5 Reasons to Be Solitary

  1. You have time to think.

    This is my personal favorite. I love having time alone to just think, to read, to reflect, and to just take life in. Yes, you can do this with other people around sometimes, but there's nothing quite like being alone to have a really thoughtful insight strike you.

  2. You can do whatever you want.

    When you're by yourself, you can do whatever you want to do. You can go somewhere. You can sit on the couch. You can watch whatever movie or TV show you like. Being alone gives you the utmost flexibility and, therefore, gives you the opportunity to do whatever the heck you feel like doing.

  3. You feel what you need to feel.

    Sometimes when we are around others, we push away our feelings. We say to ourselves, "Oh, now is not the time to be angry" or "My friend is so unhappy right now so I really shouldn't be expressing my joy." When we're alone we can feel whatever it is we need to feel without holding back.

  4. You will (probably) be more productive.

    Okay, this one might not be true for everyone. If you're the type that gets easily distracted or sucked into TV shows or other mindless forms of entertainment, being alone might not be the most productive thing for you. But if you have children, alone time is probably the best time do things. And, if you're like me, being alone, in perfect solitude, allows me to be the most productive. Without distractions I can always accomplish more.

  5. You free yourself from external pressures.

    Just because you're alone doesn't mean that you're completely free from external pressures. If you're obsessing about something, you're not going to forget about it simply because you're alone. However, sometimes just being away from the office or your significant other or even your friends can relieve a lot of pressure. Sometimes we experience a lot of pressure from the people in our lives (whether we know it or not) and just getting away from them physically can help us clear our minds, making us better to socialize with in the future.


Basically, what it comes down to is this: there are good things about being alone and there are good things about being with other people. You have to find a balance in your life that works for you. Some people are going to want to spend more time alone (like I do) and some people are going to want to spend a lot less time alone. You have to figure out what works for you, but don't forget, regardless of which side you lean more towards, to incorporate some of the other side. It's never healthy to spend all of your time alone or all of your time with other people. As always, a balance is the best way to live your happiness life.


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I love this post! For a long time I was more solitary than social. I thought this was a good way to be because I felt independent...and perhaps more importantly, safe. But I missed out on many opportunities to share joy and experience connection with other people. Nowadays I strive for a healthy balance--time spent growing through my relationships, and reflecting on who I am and what I want. Admittedly, the writer's lifestyle tips the scale a tad, but I do work at it. Thank you for reminding me about the important of balance :)

Great post! Balance is definitely the answer.

Thankfully, I am one of those people who are productive when alone.

Oh, I loved this one, too. I laughed out loud! PP (that's short for Positively Present), I'm a 'loner' too. I love my own company. But I can definitely get sick of myself and most certainly enjoy time spent with good friends and family. As others have said - balance. For me, I think it's a 70/30 split ... with me-time getting about 70%. :)
Best line in this blog: "Sure, I can talk to myself (or my dog), but it's not quite the same." I replaced 'dog' with 'kitties.' Thank you for the post.

Have a good weekend.

Lori - You make such a good point about safety! When I'm alone, I feel safe, which is probably why I like it so much, but, you're right, when I stay home I miss out on a lot of joy and experiences. It's definitely important to have a healthy balance, but, I agree, the writer's life can make it difficult at times. Thanks for your comment. You really gave me something to think about, especially in relation to isolation and safety.

Lily - That's great that you can benefit from time alone! I'm glad you liked the post and agree that balance is the answer. Balance really is the answer for so many things in life.

Chania Girl - Haha. I'm glad I made you laugh! I'm probably about 70/30 too. I think I could work more on being social, but I will always be more of a loner at heart. I hope you have a great weekend too!

Just like you, I bounce back and forth between wanting to be social and wanting to be solitary. Of course, when in one state, the other always seems to be the better choice! But you have articulated reasons for each perfectly, and advocated for balance at the same time - how do you balance when you feel like a ping-pong ball?

OMG, you have no idea how much I enjoyed reading this. For the most part I felt like I had written it. We are definitely kindred spirits because I can relate to what you've said 100%. And I love how you've shared a positive focus for both sides of the equation of being. Thank you for being so honest and authentic. Brilliant!

Kiki - That's a great question. It's definitely not easy to balance it all, but I try the best I can. When someone invites me to do something, I think to myself, "Do I really want to do this? Is this the way I want to spend my time?" If it is, I say yes. If not, then I try to think about another way to spend time with the person. I also make sure that I have at least one night a week to myself to relax.

Davina - I'm SO glad you enjoyed the post and could relate to it so well. That's great to know that someone else feels the same way. The old me would have just said, "Oh, I don't like people. I'd rather be alone," but the new me is all about trying to see the positive which is why I wrote about the positive aspects of both. Making those lists made me realize how both socializing and spending time alone can be good for me. Thanks for your encouragement. I really appreciate it! :)

I really like the way you took a balanced approach to the need to socialize and the need for solitude. In the West, we tend to think of people that like a lot of solitude as weird. In the East and especially in Buddhism, they have a great appreciation for solitude.

I personally have about a 70/30 split in favor of solitude. But I think that everybody is different and we each have to find our own balance.

It is truly about balance...As with most things in our life...tip the scales to far to one side, and we fall...

Great post....

Hi Positvely Present .. thanks for this .. identifying the benefits of both sides of the argument. I'm very happy being by myself - fortunately .. and don't hanker after people .. however when I moved country to South Africa and became part of a large squash club & became a committee member .. that opened my social skills enormously. Networking opened my eyes to talking to others .. which I'm probably pretty good at now & has held me in good stead during the time my mother has been in hospital - and is now developing my self-improvement and personal development skills .. always improving and learning ..

Good post and I'll be back to read again .. thanks

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Roger - Thanks! I'm glad you liked the approach. It definitely would be easier for me to go on and on about what's great about being alone, but I know that's not all there is in life. Like you, I'm probably 70/30 in favor of solitude, but I'd like to be 60/40. I know I'll always prefer alone time, but I do get a lot out of being with others (even when I have to force myself to do it, haha).

Dawn - I'm so glad you liked the post! You make such a good point about tipping the scale too far. If we are too far on one side, things are not going to be good. Thanks for that insight!

Hilary - I agree; being with others can be really eye-opening and it can be SO helpful when you move to a new place. In addition, the support you get from others is priceless. Thanks for checking in on PP. :)

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