Odes to Solitude: In the Words of People Who Are Single-at-Heart
Last time I posted here, I described the survey I have been conducting, “Are you single at heart?,” and promised to tell you about the results from the first 1200 participants. That’s what I’ll do in this post (Part 2 of the series), a few subsequent posts, and this one.
After the survey, in which participants had answered a number of questions, I asked them to tell me whether they thought that they were, or were not, single at heart. (You can find a description of the questions, and the wording of the question I’m describing here, in my previous post.) Then they had the option of describing, in their own words, why they thought they were or were not single at heart.
Participants sorted themselves into one of four categories:
- Yes, single at heart
- Mostly single at heart
- Mostly not single at heart
- No, not single at heart
For this post, I will focus on the answers of people who said that yes, they are single-at-heart. Of those who opted to explain in their own words why they consider themselves to be single at heart, many mentioned the importance of time alone. That’s the topic I will explore here. The single-at-heart participants had much more to say about why they consider themselves to be members of that category, and what gives them joy, but I’ll save that for some later post.
Below are some sample quotes (some with minor editing). More than half of those participants who talked about the importance of solitude said that they liked it and enjoyed it. Some went further – they said they did not just like their solitude, they needed it. Others focused as much or more on having their own space as having time to themselves.
Some participants noted that they like their solitude but also valued spending time with other people. Others said that the time they spend with other people is just not as fulfilling as the time they spend on their own.
Don’t stop reading too soon, because in the last category you will find examples of some of the thoughtful explanations of just why solitude is so important to some of the people who see themselves as single-at-heart.
QUOTES ABOUT SOLITUDE FROM THE SURVEY: PARTICIPANTS’ OWN WORDS
A. I like it, I enjoy it:
- I like my own company.
- I enjoy being on my own.
- It’s been this way my whole life, ever since I can remember, I have always enjoyed alone time.
- I just prefer to be alone and/or have complete control over the amount of time I spend interacting with other people.
- I enjoy my own time, my personal space, dinner by myself even.
- I love my time alone
- Even though I am married, I am happiest when I am on my own for personal time.
- I like solitude, like doing things by myself.
- I genuinely enjoy spending quiet time with my own thoughts.
- I don’t feel lonely when I am alone.
- I love being alone (I’m actually never really alone because I always have my own company!) and only once in a while feel lonely.
B. I need it:
- My time alone is as essential to my being a functional human being as food is.
- I need my own time and space!
- Even when I find a potential partner, I find myself preferring to be alone. As much as some people NEED to be in relationships and can’t function alone, others of us need to have our own space and not be tied to one person for our day to day lives.
- I always felt happy living alone, but until I moved in with friends I did not realize how important it was to me to live alone! I look forward to nothing as much as I look forward to snuggling up in my room, alone with a good book and my favorite music playing. And I have started daydreaming constantly about moving out and once more being on my own entirely.
- I require significant time alone.
- When I was younger I didn’t understand why I just enjoyed me and pets.
- I need and enjoy of my personal time.
- I need more time to myself than the average person.
C. Importance of my own space:
- When I get home, I want it to be my space.
- I would much rather live in my own space all the time, with occasional partners to spice things up.
- Even if I found a man willing to pick up after himself, I would still want my own place to go to and get away from a romantic partner sometimes.
D. I like time alone and time with others, too:
- I like my solitude, and know that if I want company I can always go out or call a friend.
- I love being alone. I have lots of friends. Being alone is not equal to being lonely!
- I like being with myself. When I want company I seek it out. And I am content with that.
- I’m very sociable but also like to have my space.
- I’m married but I like doing things that I enjoy doing alone or with friends.
E. Time with other people is just not as fulfilling as time alone:
- I genuinely prefer to be alone and or with my dogs. When I go to parties I spend time thinking that I could be at home reading and or watching TV. I love the quiet of solitude.
- No one I meet is nearly as interesting to me as anything I could read in a technical or research book.
- While I can imagine a relationship structured in a way that I could enjoy, I’m not sure even that would make me happier or more fulfilled than I am alone.
- My friends asked why I didn’t find a guy here in town. My gut answer: because I don’t want him always around!
- I’ve always felt that after coming home from work, if I had to have someone else around and think about them and how they felt it would be exhausting to me. Actually, I simply wouldn’t care; nor would I want anyone else there.
F. Here’s what solitude does for me:
- I feel the most “centered” and at peace when I am alone.
- I appreciate the peacefulness of a solitary existence.
- I need the solitude to rejuvenate for work. I like the quiet and contemplation to feel whole and complete.
- I absolutely need solitude, to regain my power and find room for my own thoughts.
- I love being with myself alone. I’m happy going to a restaurant, a movie, the zoo, a museum on my own. I’m never bored. I have more to give both myself and others when I take care of my own personal space and self.
- I have always enjoyed my own company. I have felt VERY alone at times when in a relationship. I am at my most authentic when doing things I enjoy on my own.
- Although I love to be social and spend time with friends, I find a little social time goes a long way – I like to spend the vast majority of my time alone, and another person in the house, even if they’re not talking to me or interacting with me directly at the moment, seems to take up a lot of my emotional energy. I can only really relax and be creative when I’m on my own. I love travel ling alone, living alone – as long as I have a few good friends to hang out with now and then, I’m never lonely.
In my next post, I’ll share quotes from people who say that no, they are not single-at-heart, their feelings about spending time alone and about the great joys of their lives.
Middleaged man photo available from Shutterstock.
DePaulo, B. (2012). Odes to Solitude: In the Words of People Who Are Single-at-Heart. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 1, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2012/05/odes-to-solitude-in-the-words-of-people-who-are-single-at-heart/