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The Rise of the Loners This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Have you ever wanted to be alone? You want everyone to just back off and give you space, yet they just continue on meddling in your business. Today’s society thinks a person cannot live without friends and family, in other words, you cannot live by being a loner. Society looks down on people without friends which causes the lives of the loners to worsen. It is socially normal to have friends, and it is easy to pick on people who are not socially normal. Much like sexuality, a difference in opinions of what is socially normal is always present. Loners tend to be ideal targets for bullies, have fewer opportunities, and keep their feelings to themselves more. We seem to always think that a loner is a complete outcast with no friends. This often leads to people wanting to avoid the person, and essentially prevents him or her from getting friends. But someone like me with “friends” and a loving family might not want that, but is afraid of what may come when expressing that opinion.

I want to live like an outcast to society. I prefer to be alone; I want time to myself to do the things I want to do. I rarely pay attention to anything going on in the world, because really I take no interest in it. Yet, in order to keep up with appearances, I am forced to do things I don’t want to do. These things include going to school, interacting with my “friends”, doing extra work to please my parents, and learning subjects in school that I find useless. These are not subjects of my desire nor are subjects that I would even want to remember in the future. I find that there will be no achievement or reward if I were to do these actions, but there are punishments for not doing them. Essentially, the only way I could get out of this tedious work is to be out of this world where no one can find me. Generally, I think human interaction only makes life worse and always ends in disaster. Human interaction tends to be more irksome work than enjoyable play. But if I am to live my life like this, my supposed friends may as well become my enemies. They may want to try to interact with me, whether it is bullying me because I do not want them in my life, or they may meddle in my business asking things like “What’s wrong” or “Are you okay.” These types of superficial interactions always annoy me; it feels as though they are saying it because it is normal to say it, not because they actually care. Society makes it so it is polite to ask someone if they are hurt, just like it is polite to say thank you, which then makes these things seem like it is required and fake rather than sincere and from the heart. But what really saddens me is this fear of loneliness that society has given to itself.

Everywhere in society you see that loneliness is a very dangerous feeling. We see loners getting bullied, abused, and socially isolated. This social fiend subconsciously convinces me that loneliness will bring pain. Throughout my life I have felt that I have always had no one to vent to, no one to really talk to. So when I felt the frustration of things happening around me, I decided to inflict pain upon myself in a variety of methods. When I look back at this phase of my life, I noticed something about myself. I realized that a small part of me was desperately looking for attention. Then thinking more about that, I discovered that society has created this sense of fear of loneliness inside of me. Almost every institutional power in society creates this negative look of loneliness. We often see in the media that no one wants to be alone, such as television shows and movies. We often hear that the only good thing about going to school is that friends are there. If you look at how the stereotypical Asian person would be, you would consider them a loner. They decide to go stay at home and study to further their education and be successful in life, but with that, they end up with minimal amounts of human interaction. This was the perceived life of the model minority, a person with no life besides his work for money. This then becomes a problem for them because they become increasingly targeted for discrimination. Being a minority plus being a loner increases the amount of struggles faced. A connection between racial discrimination and social discrimination exists. We feel the fear that if we do not have friends, we would not be socially normal and therefore will be treated differently. But I still see it as something I really would want and may enjoy.

The thing about being alone is that there are no bonds to break, no relationships to keep up with, no people to try to keep happy, and it generally is a lot less painful. Hateful acts from strangers can hurt you physically and mentally at the time it happens, but one broken bond with a friend can hurt you emotionally for a lifetime. Even the insecurities that come with friends can deeply penetrate your heart. I used to, and still often, doubt whether a certain person I know is actually my friend. As of now, I feel that our relationship is pretty awkward, and although I feel like I want to fix that because I really like this person, I also feel that I want to completely avoid this person. These mixed feelings of mine tends to be really confusing, causing my mind to go absolutely nuts. Even if I were to ask if we were friends, with his/her attitude, tone, and tendencies, it is almost impossible to tell whether he/she is lying. Also with the things I have observed so far, there is no way to get that relationship back to what it was a like a few years ago. This person was a lot of fun back then, but now it is just frustrating. Recently I have been so pissed off at the things that happened that I have given up on that case. I do not want him/her to consider me as a friend and I do not want to consider him/her as my friend. This ends in the fact that I am extremely heart broken and hurt. Which then makes me go back to the question, “who needs people?” Why is society so hooked up on the idea that people need helping hands? If we never interact with each other, there will be no bullying, murdering, hate crimes, emotional breakdowns, or anything. How did the normal thing become something that can become so painful? How can something that is seen as a necessary, every day thing cause so much pain? Human interaction is a must in society, but if it is like this, I do not want to be part of society.

In the end, human interactions may have brought some good times, but the way I look at it now, those good times do not compensate for the amount of work needed. We work to keep up appearances and relationships just to get rid of the fear of loneliness. This fear should not really exist, but because of social norms and many other institutional powers, it does. Because of how society portrays human interaction and how it is needed to survive in life, people live in fear that if they do not have interactions, they will not be able to survive. I personally want to break this fear and bring up the point that it is a part of life, and society should not influence you to choose something that you may not want.



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HaileyS This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 5, 2012 at 12:15 am:

I think this is a very interesting idea, and that you have a highly perceptive view of society's influence on the individual psyche.

But I think the underlying problem here is that most all High School students have absolutely no idea how to maintain a healthy relationship. Teenagers tend to have very superficial and super-saturated ideas, and very few are globally minded. (I am a teenager myself so I’d obviously argue that there are exceptions to this, as well.) The average 15-y... (more »)

 
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