Female Loners

I never stop learning. When I become intellectually interested in a topic, especially if I’m interested in opinions on it, I head to a search engine and start reading. Lately I’ve been thinking and reading more about being an introvert, being shy and being a loner. It seems a lot of people don’t know the difference among these terms. The definition of an “introvert” is pretty involved, but it seems the simplest way it’s usually defined is a person who becomes drained by social interaction/people and needs some time away to get him/herself together or think afterwards. A lot of people don’t know this word exists or don’t know what it means, which means they use “shy” or “loner” to describe people who are actually introverts. But you can be an introvert and be a loner, too, for example, as is the case with me. And you can be a loner and be shy. I am not shy, though.

I’m writing about this because a couple of interesting things happened this week–1) my work friend Clara called me shy, and 2) someone pointed out something I’d never really thought of before, which is that loners are usually men and women who are loners are often mistaken for being shy. Well, what’s the difference? Being “shy” means you want to interact with people but you don’t know how to or are too scared. Um, this is not me. I have my moments where there are certain people–certain women–I want to talk to but I “can’t.” But that’s normal if you’re romantically interested in women. Shy people have issues with just about everyone. Loners are damn-near the opposite of shy people–they usually prefer being alone or prefer minimal social interaction. People often use “loner” to mean someone who is basically socially rejected, i.e. a loner against his will, and I can grant them that, although I believe the real definition is the one I gave and the definitions I have found so far support that.

In the course of my research, I have discovered that people don’t actually know what “loner” means, nor that females can be loners or what makes a female a loner (or why more men are loners). So, what I want to do here is another one of my response posts. What I do with these is I take stuff people have written elsewhere on the web and I respond to it.

Here is the first site where you’ll find some of the excerpts that appear here, to which I respond. Here are excerpts and my responses below, starting with the question “do you know any female loners” from the original poster:

It seems that it’s rarer for a woman to be a true loner than it is a man. Even shy women often seem to have at least a few friends, whereas I know a lot of guys on the internet who have no friends WHATSOEVER in real life.
It seems if a young woman has no friends whatsoever, she either travels a lot and just talks to strangers and stuff, has a really involved job where she still socialises and stuff, or works in some remote area. Otherwise she has some severe mental or physical handicap that prevents that.
I think it’s because it’s easier for girls to make friends and they’re more inclusive than a lot of guys.
I don’t really know any loners, or many women who would be considered ‘losers’ – no job, sponging off parents.etc, also no social life. I know they exist, but they seem quite rare.

I see a lot wrong with this person’s assumptions. First of all, there’s that equating “shy” with “loner.” Second, being a loner–and I see this assumption/belief time and time again–is not about having no friends. Again, it means you prefer to be alone. This belief is probably one of the biggest reasons why people don’t recognize female loners or why female loners are mistaken for being shy. But if you insist on believing this about having friends, by my definition of “friends” I don’t actually have any. I have people who think we’re friends, but emailing, texting and/or IM-ing every once in a blue moon doesn’t cut it, to me. And having people I don’t hang out with outside of work and will probably almost never communicate with once one of us finds another job is not friendship to me. And breaking up and you wishing me well from afar, talking about me with other people, thinking about me sometimes but never communicating with me doesn’t make us friends.

I’ve got to quote this person again here:

It seems if a young woman has no friends whatsoever, she either travels a lot and just talks to strangers and stuff, has a really involved job where she still socialises and stuff, or works in some remote area. Otherwise she has some severe mental or physical handicap that prevents that.

This is just pure…moronic…bullschitt. The end. To be honest with you, the average married-with-kids woman probably doesn’t have friends. She has her husband or her partner, and I have found that that’s all most of those women want. And you grow up, graduate, move away from people, work, have families…and then your “friendships” become that crap I described above–especially if you’re still single and your “friends” aren’t–which I don’t consider friendship.

I think it’s because it’s easier for girls to make friends and they’re more inclusive than a lot of guys.

See, men always think everything’s easier for women and women always think everything’s easier for men. I just have never seen how it’s “easier for girls to make friends” and certainly have never seen where women are “more inclusive.” In fact, over the years I have envied how easy it seems for guys to bond and not have drama or emotions in the way half the time. This is especially true when I think about sports teams–I don’t think women have anything like what male athletes have with one another, not even in their sports. I just think friendship between women is different from friendship between men, and that could be why a lot of men think it’s easier for women. Women’s friendships are more involved, more emotional and just closer…but that’s once they actually form. Most women don’t like to be alone anywhere, and they’ll use other women so that they won’t be. That doesn’t mean they’re friends. Women also like to run their mouths, and they will use other women for that purpose, as well.

I think it’s hard for women to truly become friends. Men have a fairly small group of general, stereotypical interests, and that makes it easier for them to find other like-minded men to become friends with. For example, I’d say you can say most guys either like sports, video games, science fiction, technology, drinking or some combination. I’m not saying guys aren’t or can’t be interested in other things, but these seem like the biggies that bind guys together. Contrary to popular belief, women don’t have a small group of biggies that can bind them together–women are more diverse. And even if we did all like some combo of hair, makeup, shoes, shopping…you can have so many things in common with another woman and still have her flatout dislike you or reject you, usually for some shallow reason that should have nothing to do with forming a friendship. A big one is physical attractiveness. So many women hate gorgeous women, but a lot of women also are drawn to pretty women who are less intimidating in some way (i.e. very friendly) and ignore less attractive ones or women who don’t subscribe their idea of how they should do their hair, dress, etc…and this is just talking about friendship. This is hardly being “inclusive.”

I also think this is why you see more male loners, though, aside from the fact that people mis-label female loners as “shy” or some other term. It seems like male loners either aren’t into any of the biggies I listed and, thus, can’t really relate to or have discussions with or be accepted by most men…or they are into some of the geekier biggies, like sci fi, but aren’t usually around other guys who are into that stuff. Guys who like sports are a dime a dozen, so if you’re a guy who isn’t into it but you’re always around guys who are you get used to being alone. There’s also the issue of defensiveness. Sometimes it can seem like being around other guys is halfway a “prove my macho” party, and some guys don’t want to bother, especially if they know they don’t have the requisite interests or the experience with women to win at that kind of game with other guys. They’ll look stupid, and they know it.

This response basically addresses things several others mentioned on that site, but I did see a couple of people who seemed to “get” what “loner” means.

Here is another site, where the discussion goes in a different direction. They are discussing whether or not to date loners:

…there is huge potential for this to be a red flag…
Someone who has no friends may have a hard time building and sustaining healthy relationships. Theymayalso be really selfish. Both my loner exes were selfish, and didn’t really like people. They were also clingy, as I was their only form of entertainment and only confidant. 
It’s best to bring up the subject with her to find out why she has no friends. If it is because she is super shy, then I think that is a more acceptable reason, especially if she really wants to make friends but has trouble. However, if she just doesn’t want to make friends, then that sounds like trouble.

I get some of this and not other parts. I don’t know why not wanting to make friends is “trouble” or a “red flag.” Not wanting to make friends doesn’t mean you won’t; you just might not be actively interested, but if someone who could be a good friend comes along you will be receptive. As I’ve written before, relationships are just tough. I think the majority of people are spoiled and/or selfish nowadays where they’re concerned and don’t want to put the work in. I don’t think that has ever been my problem, with respect to not wanting to build or sustain a relationship–if anything, I think other people I’ve been with have not wanted to build/sustain. Recently, I have looked back over my last relationship and have definitely seen where I was selfish at times, but I don’t think that’s the norm for me in relationships.

I am actually “clingy” in relationships, and I think that’s the problem. I don’t see the problem with wanting to be with someone whom you love and who says they love you all the time, but most people do and it kills the “love.” This is something I learned from my last relationship, and it is going to change how I act with the next woman, assuming there is one. I think one of the problems with my friendships is that most of my friends have tons of friends, whereas I don’t. I don’t know that you can be the kind of person who has 400 Facebook friends, 100 of them whom you actually do communicate with, and seriously be a good friend to any of them or have a “built” friendship with these people. Quality and [large] quantity often don’t go together. So, I always want to put in the work with a few select people and I have the time to do it, but they have 50 million other people they’re floating around and usually a serious romantic relationship/marriage, as well. And I don’t like people, either, but I have many exceptions. These friends with the 400 Facebook friends, unfortunately, are my exceptions. I like extroverts, because they approach me and they have all the right social skills, etc. But everyone else likes them, too. And extroverts like to be liked.

I probably need friends and romantic partners who are more like me in the social department, but how would two introverts/loners actually get to talking? 😉

Here is another discussion from a different site:

I think that part of it though is that women are less likely to be excluded due to problems with socialization, and shyness or anxiety may actually be seen as “cute”. Whereas the same traits in a man will often be perceived as weakness, and lead to stereotyping regardless of whether or not it’s deserved. Not to mention socially awkward men often end up taking on the dreaded “creepy” label, whereas you’ll almost never hear of a woman, regardless of what she does, referred to as creepy.

I don’t really think other women view women’s “shyness” as “cute.” Men might, but women assume the worst about other women who are to themselves. This is why I was surprised and kind of glad that Clara called me “shy.” I have never been called “shy” (not as an adult, anyway), but I have been called “anti-social” and “stuck-up.” And though no one has ever told me this to my face, I have been able to tell that black people don’t view me as a “loner” or “shy” or an “introvert”–they think I don’t want to be black because all they see is I don’t interact with black people as opposed to the fact that I hardly interact with anyone.

I basically agree about how loner men are viewed, although I did have a female co-worker who was creepy.

And this site has the dumbest discussion on female loners:

Yes there’s plenty, but most are ugly. Good looking girls loners? Nah

Funny, since one of the other sites above has people discussing how pretty women are loners. So, which is it?

I consider myself ugly, to be honest with you. I have been told by many people that I am attractive, but I definitely know there are others who don’t think so. And I have not really noticed any pretty loners–quite to the contrary, pretty women often seem to have lots of people for socializing. I have seen a couple of women who look okay who seem to be loners, but they could also be shy. Bottom line–I just don’t really think looks have much to do with it.

Females are naturally more social than males. It’s rare to find a female who is content with being alone.

They’re not the same thing. I already mentioned that I don’t think women like to be alone, but I wouldn’t say women are more social. If anything, you run into more quiet women than quiet men.

They exist and they usually smoke a lot of weed.

Haha. This.
I was just going to say.. probably a few drug addicts.

I’ve never smoked weed and never will. I don’t even know what the schitt smells like. The only “drug” I do is caffeine.

See? Dumb discussion.

Finally, a Psychology Today article discusses loners and introverts, and it profiles a female loner who grew up shy:

Matsuoka, for example, says she was “pathologically shy” as a child, which likely laid the groundwork for her current lifestyle, even though she grew much more confident in her 20s. 

What is that lifestyle?

She just strongly prefers not to socialize, opting instead for long baths, DVDs, and immersion in her art projects. She does have good, close friends, and goes dancing about once a month, but afterward feels a strong need to “hide and recoup.”

Ding, ding, ding.

I must admit that I was ridiculously shy for years and years, particularly when I was in elementary school. I also had an overprotective mother who wouldn’t let me do anything or go anywhere, which she still fervently denies was the case. Between those two things, I gave up on being able to socialize outside of school. Once I got home, it was up to me to figure out how to entertain myself at home. Somewhere along the way, I just got used to it and now that’s what I prefer–entertaining myself at home. Especially now that I’m an adult. My new job is incredibly physical at times, especially for someone like me who is out of shape. It’s Friday night/early Saturday morning as I type, but the last thing I want to do is go out. After my day at work, I can barely even walk, and I know I will probably have sore muscles all weekend.

One of the dumb comments I quote above profiles a “normal” loner female as one who just travels all the time. Well, I do like to travel. It’s just about the only thing I like to do away from home–I even shop via the internet most of the time. I’m going to Chicago next week, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to my trip to Michigan in September even more. If I had the money, all I’d do is go to different cities and countries–even my mother said that about me when we were talking about what I’d do with my money if I won the lottery.

Notice that Psychology Today points out Matsuoka’s “good, close friends.” Again, being a loner does not mean you don’t have friends, and it doesn’t have to mean you can’t sustain/build relationships. Personally, I do see myself growing old alone. As someone who doesn’t make an effort to meet people or to socialize with the people I do meet, and then makes too much of an effort with the people who get close to me, it makes sense that I’d be alone whereas it doesn’t make sense for most people. That doesn’t mean I can’t build something that lasts if there were someone out there for me.

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9 thoughts on “Female Loners

  1. Eq8 says:

    I was one of the pretty loners when I was young. Or do you think a model for a high-end designer clothes boutique won’t be pretty?

    Anyway, I spent years being in a rage over how I couldn’t go anywhere without men bothering me. Why couldn’t I have dinner out without them interrupting nearly every bite I was taking? Why couldn’t I go to the park to read a book without being interrupted so often that I didn’t even get a page read before leaving in disgust? Why couldn’t I go to the mall without men stalking me from store to store, and even out to the parking lot?

    Women hate you because you’re not interested in being one of them, thus you must think you’re better than them. And never mind how being pretty always makes women think you’ll go after their worthless scum men.

    Men think a beautiful woman alone must be “lonely” for male company or “depressed” about being without a man. When you burst that ridiculous bubble of theirs by refusing them, they hate you as much as the women do.

    Then it’s a good thing that you’re a loner, because if you weren’t, you’d break and become a sniveling little wimp, groveling to jerks to like that, to be accepted. When you’re a loner, you can go home and immerse yourself into something that cools off your anger about being treated like crap all the time.

    The point is that pretty loners DO exist, and it’s a hell all its own.

    • I’m not sure what the tone to this comment is (although, honestly, sounds a tad arrogant). I do know I never said pretty loners don’t exist; that seems to be something men (or boys) believe. I made an observation based on what I’ve seen, but I usually don’t see female loners to begin with. My main point was, as stated, I don’t think looks have much to do with it one way or the other.

    • Jack K. says:

      Eq8, you’re not going to get much sympathy. Most women would like to have your “problem.” And beauty fades with age, so there will be a day when heads no longer turn.

      It is actually easy for a beautiful woman who attracts a lot of attention from rude “players” to tone down her looks. Try NO makeup, some plain-style glasses (with no-Rx lenses if you don’t need them), loose top and loose slacks, plain low-heel leather shoes, a plain no-logo baseball hat, and a pony tail pulled through the back of the hat. Beautiful movie star do this all the time. That’s how they travel.

      • BB says:

        Jack K, you sound like a….. hmmm, where to begin with the nonsense that is your comment. I’ll take a wild guess and say that you are a male, based on your name. If you dont know anyone who has, or have never experienced what she is talking about, yourself, then please excuse yourself from the conversation. How simple-minded of you to think that all women want that “problem.”
        I know exactly what she is talking about, because I share the same “pretty loner” experience. I can relate to everything she said. I like to be by myself. I like to go out to eat, shop, hang out alone. Now it just so happens that i’m pretty. Trust me, there is no amount of toning down that you can do when you are naturally beautiful, to make asshats leave you alone. I’ve tried everything from gainning excessive weight, to dressing like a slob, and it doesnt work. Even trainning myself to have a “resting bitch face” doesnt work, and in fact it actually attracts them more. Actually, excessive weight gain has had the best results, but I no longer wish to risk heart disease and diabetes JUST to stop nasty mean and mean spirited women. So, miss me with your tone it down argument. Humans, whether attractive or not, like to look nice and presentable.
        Yes, beauty fades, but that wont be for a loooong time. Your “beauty fades/ heads wont turn” argument is quite similar to the anti-tattoo argument. You know it, it’s that, “you may think its cool to get a tattoo at age 20, but in 50 years, when your old it wont be cool!!!!111!” Again, that wont be for a long time, and until then, well……

        Oh, and beautiful movie stars dress like that so they wont attract a thousand screaming fans, creeps who want to harm them, and paparazzi. Most movie stars aren’t even beautiful at all. Lets not act like we were born yestarday.

    • Maria says:

      Hi, am also one… Have experiace almost the sme thing, guys try to disturb me, girls dislike me, people think am weried for being a loner, but when some do make an effort to talk to me, and really get to know me, they are surprise that am actually kind hearted, social and a nice person… So, just hang in there
      Sometimes I actually regret being pretty 😦

  2. ashlyn says:

    Reading this made me curious. I am a 20 year old female who is a huge tomboy and a big time loner. I deem myself an introvert to some levels because people who are just exploding with social energy just tend to burn me out.

    When I go out, I prefer to be alone. But being a tomboy (via not much make up and NEVER wear highheels) perhaps makes my image a little more socially acceptable because I am very boyish. But however I am hetetosexual, so even though I never get approached by many people, I have had a few boyfriends in the past (but I was the one who ended it with them)
    I find my loner situation oddly not similar. I do have friends, but I need a break from them as I feel better alone to write my books or think. I don’t like hanging out with prissy girls becaus they annoy me with drama, and due to my nature I do not gossip OR spread rumors.
    But however I do not like hanging out with to many boys either. Because guys have bigger egos and I hate listening to their immature shit. I just can’t stand it.

    I tend to eyeball the cute geeky guys or shy ones because I can relate to them. And I am never intimated by a prettier girl, I am more then willing to be kind- just as long as they don’t gossip about me.

    Every loner has a different situation. We can’t label all of them because we are all so different. (Sorry for grammar errors, hard to type on mobile)

    • From the little bit that you’ve written, you sound more like an intolerant introvert than a loner. Don’t take “intolerant introvert” the wrong way, either, because I am very intolerant of people, myself. But, for me, it goes far beyond, “I have friends, but I need a break sometimes,” which sounds very introvert-like, or “I relate to certain types of people, i.e. cute geeky guys.” I don’t necessarily relate to anyone, but I most certainly can’t have convos about makeup, fashion, guys, personal info and not liking this or that chick (not to say every other female is like this). I can have convos about sports and technology, which leads me to socialize with guys more when I am in forced social situations. Still, all in all, I’d rather be left alone, unless you’re really special. And I am in my 30s; guys in their 20s are not like guys in their 30s. So of course 20-yr old guys are going to have more immature conversations.

  3. eric says:

    Very interesting and quite a thourough read. Not really sure to reply here because of the age of the article and some of your insights might have changed. Still here goes. To some things i can relate in this article to some others i cannot really, though bias and defensive mechanisms can kick in quite fast when getting confronted. I myself am more of a forced loner, yet with introverted traits or should i say where the expression now relies more on introverted traits as i am in such a state/situation. Nowadays i seem to have trouble connecting with people outside of the work-sphere. What started with anxiety and “super-shyness” at college has transformed itself over the years in a more apathetic state, where i don’t really feel like putting in effort anymore to try and reach out to connect with people. Too many times in the past me trying to start conversations and make friends end up on a bitter/sour note of disassociation of each-other. Some times this happened after the first occasion, other times after some weeks. And even when i try with all my might in being casual , friendly and sometimes funny the people I try to build a relationship with start to distance themselves from me. It’s probably the “trying” part that already make it feel unnatural and only puts oil on the fire. At work i can be quite social, but this also depends on the colleagues around me. I tend to have less affinity for people who see the world black and white and show not much patience for other people. Also I do feel like I’m quite a attractive guy. At work it’s not hard for me to get the attention of the women around me. Still language and age difference are quite the barrier for me to go on with them. I work in a greenhouse with lots of polish workers. I myself am dutch with some Indonesian blood from my mother’s side. I’m mentioning this since sometimes i feel like it has something to do with my genes also. In my country assertiveness, boldness and a “big mouth”/outspokennes seem to be the respected traits here, whereas in Indonesia humbleness, reservation, good manners and well-spokennes seem to be more respected. And i associate more with the latter. Of course its all in the eye of the beholder.

  4. Toni says:

    Interesting article. I have always considered myself a chatty loner. I am VERY social at public gatherings, not a shy bone in my body and recognized as an extrovert by all of my life long friends and others who I have known just a short time. It is very easy for me to do public speaking when needed, as I am a natural at it. I will start up a conversation with just about anyone – also very easy to do. However, I am completely drained after spending more than a few minutes with just about anyone. I much prefer being and living alone. I love to hideout in my home and freak out when I feel invaded or when friends drop over unexpectedly. I crave my alone time. I have never experienced what is to be lonely. I think I could easily live on an island with no human contact. Yet, when I am around others they are drawn to me and often become clingy or want to be my friend after just getting to know me for a very shot time. UGGG. I hate that. I just jump into a conversation within seconds, but that is not an invite to be friends or talk again. Not sure what my personality traits analysis or diagnosis would be. I love to go for rides, to concerts, restaurants and much more by myself. I prefer to be alone vs being in a relationship. I am very giving and serve others who are in my life. But every time I spend time with others I have to refuel and spend time alone to nourish my needs. I don’t think I fit into any of the above described category’s.

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