How to deal with being a loner at university
Unfortunately, many people look down on loners. This is especially true at university, where pockets of the experience are built on social hierarchy. Even the term ‘loner’ can feel derogatory, and is frequently used as a synonym for ‘loser’. However, you’re not a loser, and you should be proud of your ability to have fun independently.
Being lonely is different, and if you’re feeling that sting then help is definitely out there for you. However, being a loner is a choice that maintains your happiness, and doesn’t take away from it.
Still, if you enjoy time to yourself at uni, chances are some inconsiderate individuals posing as ‘social butterflies’ will think you’re odd sooner or later. Here’s a few things to consider that will help you shrug off those judgements.
You’re not hurting anybody
If you do something differently to everyone else, chances are one day a bully is going to interpret your quirks for weaknesses. Bullies specialise in making people feel bad about themselves, ridiculing their life decisions, and ultimately make their victims fully believe they are doing something wrong.
If you spend a lot of time alone, it’s important to realise on a factual basis that you’re not doing anything wrong. You’re not hurting anyone and no laws are being broken; you’re being yourself! The time that belongs to you is yours to spend however and with whoever you want. If you want to get tucked up in bed on a Friday night and read your favourite book, that’s totally fine!
It sounds like a patronising point to make, but if you prefer to spend time alone then you are at least more creative with your time than simply getting bladdered at pound a pint. After all, if you spend your free time reading, watching films, and even bird watching, then your mind is always busy!
After all, Aristotle once said that “an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human […] Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake in society, is either a beast or a god.“
This is a bit of a judgy statement to be honest, but it does hold some weight. Obviously, don’t go around assuming you’re better than anyone else. The point is that being a loner isn’t always a bad thing, and can actually flourish some of your talents. The loner lifestyle can become unhealthy quite easily, but if you’re a productive, independent and friendly human being, you’re doing absolutely fine!
Out of trouble
Friends can be a tremendously positive influence on our lives. They teach us things about ourselves we never knew, introduce us to new ideas, activities and other people too. For the fortunate, friendship can open doors to different aspects of life. For the unlucky ones, friends can be enemies in disguise.
It’s called ‘getting in with a bad crowd‘, and it’s something all loners avoid by default. Young people are especially vulnerable to that need to ‘fit in’, and often lower their standards just so they can have someone to talk to. Unfortunately, this can in some instances lead them to become self desctructive, and can actually be how some people start becoming criminals.
Put simply, a desperate desire for inclusion can lead many young people down a rocky road. In the end, you should take a pinch of pride in the fact that you won’t lower your standards or behaviour for anyone. There’s some real dignity there!
No social media
For all the perks and benefits social media affords, it’s also a place for people to spew their bile. Does anyone really care what Sally is having for tea? How can anyone really want to waste time arguing with keyboard warriors? Some people keep in touch with their friends, others make pointless public announcements that, frankly, no one cares about.
Additionally, others delete their social media apps for fear of becoming a hard baked idiot, scared of stupidity! It’s a controversial opinion, but social media can be nothing short of a gigantic waste of time. Instead of being the author of thousands of tweets, you can spend your time working and put thousands of pounds in the bank instead. As a loner, you get to avoid the online world of pure nonsense. Think yourself fortunate!
People like to pretend that university is the perfect social hub that is full of laughter and friendship. Of course, for most people, it really isn’t. At least, not all the time!
This last point point cannot be understated: petty arguments, bickering and bitching are in no short supply among great swathes of the student pool. Some students will smile when they are seething inside, and really play nasty tricks on each other while living lives that are fake and fragile. It’s important to stress that this isn’t every student, but it’s certainly a good proportion.
You get to dodge these bullets that every student wish they could. Like anywhere else, there are some people at university who are just walking disasters. They exist purely to annoy. As a loner, you’ll very fortunately never have to deal with their behaviour!