Recently I had an email conversation with a friend which originated with me sending her an article on introversion that I came across in the Flipboard app for the iPad. The article, An Open Letter From Introverts To Everyone Else was a short one with several main points about the typical characteristics of a person with an introverted personality. I merely sent the link with no added comments of my own.
A day later, my friend who is also more introverted than extroverted replied with a single statement:
That’s a good article. It explains us perfectly.
Happy with the acceptance of the article by her, I was also slightly puzzled because she often derides me for refusing to go to parties. She, and everyone else who knows me understands that I don’t like parties of any kind and almost always refuse to attend them. I replied back in a lighthearted way asking her why, if she understands me as an introverted person, she always pressures me to attend parties.
Another one-liner reply came back from her.
Because I wish you had someone in your life to share it with, and you won’t meet anyone unless you go places.
This blog post isn’t so much about introversion, but about single people, such as myself, who enjoy our single status.
I wrote back to her a nice reply explaining how I viewed her statement which is not unlike anyone else who says the same things when talking about singles and couples. Below is what I wrote, slightly edited, but within full context.
Have you considered that perhaps I am happy being single, that I don’t need anyone in my life? Projecting your wishes for what you perceive will make me happy is audacious and selfish on your part in my opinion. Isn’t one of the main goals in our lives to be happy? It’s even written in the Declaration of Independence; Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Instead of making that statement of what you wish for me, why not ask me what my wishes are?
Happiness isn’t the same for everyone and it’s not a clear definition or set of circumstances that creates it. It cannot be a cookie cutter situation of the traditional nuclear family for us all. What makes you happy is unique to you, whereas what makes me happy is unique to me. I’m a single person and that makes me very happy. I look forward to and enjoy coming home to a place where there is no one, except Puma (my cat). My home is quiet and stress free; it’s a place for me to recharge after being out at work all day and interacting with others. I not only want that time alone, but I need it too. Solitude is not the same as loneliness.
Several years ago I came to the conclusion that I do not want children. That is a hard fact that I am not willing to waver on. As far as being with a lady, married or not, that door is still open, but I am perfectly content being single. I have no desire to actively seek anyone out, but if I meet someone, someday and things work out, then great. Until that happens, I wish to remain single and very happy.
I believe in your statement you must truly wish for me to be happy, which is the underpinning, unstated desire behind you saying that you wish I had someone to share my life with. Brass tacks, I am happy without someone in my life. Happiness is the ultimate goal here, wouldn’t you agree?
One other thing I recall now from Bella DePaulo’s book Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After was a counter argument, hypothetically, to the common saying from a coupled person to a single person, which goes something like this: “Don’t worry, I hope that someday you’ll find someone to complete you and make you happy.”
Bella’s counter argument to that, and I thought it was brilliant, is this from a single person to a coupled person, doing an equal and opposite role. “Don’t worry, I hope you get divorced someday and then you will be so happy.”
On it’s own, that sure sounds like a mean and insulting statement to tell a married person isn’t it? Well, it is the exact opposite of saying the same thing to a single person who likes being single. Imagine how we feel when people tell us they wish we’d find someone when we’re not interested in looking? It’s kind of a slap in the face and just as insulting as wishing they would get divorced.
Bella try’s to promote the idea that being happy doesn’t always include being coupled and that being single doesn’t mean a person is unhappy and incomplete. I feel the same way as she does and explains in her writings.
Download the pdf version with pictures here.