As an introvert, I like to be alone, but there are times when this alone time doesn’t feel great. This happens when I have been alone for an excessive period of time. There are people who intrinsically enjoy being by themselves because it’s who they are. There is a significant part of me that enjoys being by myself. It’s something that gives me joy. As a kid, I would sit on my bed thinking and that was actually a hobby. I feel the same way to an extent as an adult and particularly as a mom. I don’t have the opportunity to think often. But, one thing happens when I start thinking is that thinking turns into worrying and that’s when it becomes a less enjoyable thing to be alone. I don’t like that feeling at all. Anxiety is the opposite of fun and it makes alone time unpleasant.

When I start going into a worrying or overthinking mode, I need to get out of my head, out of the house (in fact) and start seeing people. I do like being around people a lot sometimes. But when I am around them for a social event, for example, I need to decompress for a while and have more alone time to reset. It’s important to have a balance of a social life and being by oneself. Sometimes that balance is off for me, like when I first moved to Portland for example. I was alone much of the time. So I forced myself to get out there, even when I was by myself, and go walking in the nature park. I would meet people at the nature center which was at the end of the trail I walked every day. It was lovely and there were trees and random birds chirping that I couldn’t seem to find. And when there was nobody in sight on the trail I would call a friend while I was walking so I didn’t have to feel alone, even if I was actually by myself.

Call it co-dependency, call it needy, call it whatever you want, it’s something that makes me feel less alone: contacting people I love when I feel down. Even if they are living in my phone, hearing their voices makes me feel better. It’s comforting to know that there are people out there (even if they’re in another state) that care. That helps me when I feel lonely. We need human connection to feel loved and cared for. I crave that at times. And yet, there are times when I am perfectly content by¬†myself and it’s all good. It’s extremely confusing!

Or maybe it’s not that perplexing, maybe it’s just something that shifts and changes at times depending on your mood. Maybe you’ve just been at an event with many people and you need a break from talking to other human beings. Then you actually want that alone time. And then there’s the opposite situation: you have been alone all day feeling down for some reason and you want someone to talk to. Both feelings are understandable and human. So what about you? Are you comfortable being alone or does it bother you?