A neologism coined by a friend of awakeness to describe the way loners feel when we've had enough of people and want to get away. In a sense, the opposite of loneliness, or the introvert's equivalent of loneliness in terms of suffering.

In my case, this tends to manifest as a form of social overload. I spend a bit of time around people -- usually under an hour -- and all I can think of is how nice it would be to be anywhere else. The people are loud, distracting, and confusing. Their words blur into each other and start sounding like meaningless nonsense syllables. My head starts buzzing and humming with the complexity, speed, and abstraction of human social life.

I find myself longing for somewhere quiet and peaceful. Somewhere where I can relate to the world slowly, without language and chatter to mess things up. Without the constant emotional push and pull of human social interaction. It could be somewhere picturesque, but it doesn't have to be. Holing up under the bed for awhile for the dark and quiet or just doing things alone can be just as pleasant. Just as necessary.

After spending enough time around people, this need for solitude becomes an obsession. Being alone is all I can think about. Even nice people are an irritating intrusion. I begin to feel uncomfortable and disconnected until I can get back to where I belong, alone. Many people use other people to satisfy a sense of disconnectedness from the world. I mostly use solitude. I am at my most connected to the world at the times when others assume, based on my social distance, that I am disconnected.

This is not because I am selfish, depressed or afraid of people, nor because I feel superior in some way. I'm not, and I don't. I care about people more than many would know, but I'm not a people person. I'm a hermit by nature, and this drive for solitude is lonerlust.


Further reading:

Rufus, Anneli. Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto. New York: Marlowe & Company, 2003.

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