Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence
“Words are very unnecessary. They can only do harm.”
I come from a family of people who love to be alone. I’m probably the most social of all my family members and still require daily doses of alone time and complete silence. My mother has an entire corner of her room dedicated to reading and solitude. My brother will burn you with one single look if he is alone in his room quietly playing chess and you disturb him. My aunt left every social gathering by 8 p.m. so that she could go home and sit quietly before going to sleep. My dad has always loved throwing his shoes on and walking alone for long periods of time.
Strangely, I thought a deep need for alone time was necessary for most people until I realized that is not the case. Most people, like my partner, rarely have such a strong need to be alone. It wasn’t until we started living together that I realized how much of a loner I really am. In light of that realization, I’ve had to clarify a couple of things to my better half and closest friends about my need for solitude. Here are the three things I believe a person who likes to be alone wants you to know.
1. We absolutely love your company.
We love being with you. If we continue to seek your company, we want you to know just how much weight that carries. You see, people who love being alone do not fill their lives with meaningless relationships. We love being alone so much that unless we think you are equally valuable to our most sacred luxury – solitude – we aren’t going to waste our time. I often tell my partner how amazing he really must be because I waited three years completely and happily alone before deciding he was worth putting my most precious loneliness to rest.
So remember that if we keep you close it is because we enjoy your company above almost everyone, we enjoy laughing with you, we enjoy doing things with you and we would love nothing more than to ensure that you are around forever. When we are done with our bit of silence, we hope you’ll be right there to revel in the warmth of your presence again and again and again.
2. We fear you’ll think we’re weird.
Yes, we know it is strange to opt out of the fun thing, to call it an early night or to simply not reply to phone calls or messages for days. We know it’s bizarre to absolutely dread speaking on the phone and even know how blatantly annoying it is to not answer your calls but reply to your text message. We know it is strange and sometimes we even know it might make you think we don’t love you enough, but that’s not the case at all. We love you and we know it, but more persistent is the need to be “off” in a world that is always “on”.
For the person who loves being alone things like social media, the Internet, the news and cell phones have made the need to be alone and turn off from the world even stronger. We didn’t have all of this interaction just a few years ago and it’s very stressful. We’re sorry that you think we are weird and we hope you still love us even when we turn off the world.
3. We’re not sad, we’re just replenishing.
The thing with many people who have a primordial need for alone time is that they are very often highly sociable and they often give a lot. We are the advice givers without ever asking for advice. We are the ones who console others without ever asking for consolation. We are the ones who tell you to think on the bright side, but would never approach you when we need brightening. We are the pushers who dread admitting that we need to be pushed. We are here for you to cry on our shoulders, but would rather die than to let anyone see us cry. We take in a lot of energy from others and often that amount of energy intake needs to be released somewhere. It is only in silence and solitude that we can breathe and let go of all we take in. It is only there that we don’t feel selfish for doing something we love like read a book, play chess or listen to music.
So no, we are not sad but we will be if we know we are giving you our all and we aren’t given the one request we have: the chance to be alone without judgement. Please do not break our silence with words. During our alone time words are very unnecessary. They can only do harm.
The next time a loved one tells you they just need to be alone, don’t take offense to that. The world is getting more and more hectic and we could all benefit a little from being in tune with our own hearts and minds if only for a bit each day.