Why I Am a Loner--as Much As I Understand It
Update, November 1, 2007: While all of what I wrote is true, a few things happened recently that have me rethinking it. I have good reason to think there is a lot to like in some people, and maybe a little to like in just about everyone. So I'm giving people another try.
My lonerishness may be hereditary--my parents have very few friends, if any; my brother is a loner (two friends he sees a few times per year) and one of my sons is the purest loner of them all, although he holds a very brag-worthy job. He has even less charm than I do; he holds the job simply because he's very good at it. :)
(Edited in to be honest: Sometimes I do get lonely and want to be close to someone, but that has always passed. I have some social contact, but much less than most people--a half hour to an hour some days, casual stuff, and some days, only a quick check-in with my mother--since I live alone. It's usually enough and I'm most happy when reading a good book or watching my favorite TV show--knowing no one is likely to interrupt!)
But as for distinct reasons.. I'd better be as brief as I can.
1. Bad family environment as a child. My father was a very angry man. My slightly older brother really hated having a sibling to compete with and pretty much bedeviled me. So I escaped to the woods and fields, with my collie, and really loved that. I'd much rather be out hiking by myself than at a party or other gathering. I learned to amuse myself with many peaceful, solitary pastimes, such as reading, hiking and nature study, playing with animals, music, writing, TV....
2. Disappointments as an adult. Failed marriage; failed love affair after that. Lots of failed friendships. All for different reasons, but they add up.
3. I used to have very good hearing, better than the people around me had any idea I had. Folks, there is a WHOLE lot of fakin' going on out there. People lie their faces off. They tell you one thing, and as soon as they think you're out of range, tell someone else the opposite. Okay, maybe not everybody, but I don't remember finding anyone who didn't. Anyway, the hearing is slowly fading, but the memory is still sharp... I've also been fooled so many times by people I trusted, been lied to while I was looking them in the face and believed it, that I realize I can't spot a lie when it's happening. As a result of these experiences, I don't think I can really know anybody, or feel sure that I do. And if you can't know people, can't trust people, what's the point of spending a lot of time with any one? Maybe I'm an agnostic about people's true natures, just as I am with religion. And you can't dedicate your life to something you don't know.
4. My own restless mind. Once I've known someone for a year, or at the most two, especially if they come around a lot, I get very bored. Not just the passing, "I've heard this before," but "My life is passing by while I sit here learning nothing and doing nothing new." This may not be the best way to treat people, but my mind just rebels and I feel that I have to get out. I don't enjoy doing that, so I mostly avoid possible friendships, unless they're very light, with little contact and few expectations.
5. Love of freedom: I very much don't enjoy having to be at a certain place at a certain time in order to not hurt someone else. If I see something interesting down the road, I want to be free to go there and investigate. I'm not talking about infidelity in a romantic/physical relationship--I never did that--but about actual roads, actual things that look interesting and would take time to explore. I crave the freedom to do that exploring, but I don't want to hurt anyone. This conflict is easily avoided by not letting anyone start to depend on me to be anywhere at any time.
Did you actually read all the way to the end of this? Congratulations--I think.