Socializing is as exhausting as giving blood. People assume we loners are misanthropes, just sitting thinking, ‘Oh, people are such a bunch of assholes,’ but it’s really not like that. We just have a smaller tolerance for what it takes to be with others. It means having to perform. I get so tired of communicating.

— Anneli Rufus

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We care. We feel. We think. We do not always miss the absent one. We cannot always come when called. Being friends with a loner requires patience and the wisdom that distance does not mean dislike.

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Loners, if you catch them, are well worth the trouble.

Not dulled by excess human contact, nor blasé or focused on your crotch while jabbering about themselves, loners are curious, vigilant, full of surprises. They do not cling. Separate wherever they go, awake or asleep, they shimmer with the iridescence of hidden things seldom seen.

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The loner who looks fabulous is one of the most vulnerable loners of all.

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After what others would call a fun day out together, we feel as if we have been at the Red Cross, donating blood.

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Loners live among the mob, so the mob mistakes us for its own, presuming and assuming. When the mob gets too close, the truth is revealed. Running or walking away, chased or free, any which way, we tell the mob in effect I don't need you.

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Not that I was incapable of friendship.

'Don't be shy', the teachers coaxed. I was not shy, only extremely choosy. And Denise shone like a diamond. If you had to ask me to define paradise, I would have said a desert island which Denise could visit, on a boat.

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The whole world is a personality cult.

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Writing is done alone. People do not talk about the things they do alone.

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We do not require company. In varying degrees, it bores us, drains us, makes our eyes glaze over. Overcomes us like a steamroller. Of course, the rest of the world doesn't understand.

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And as experienced as I am, it still summons an act of bravery from me, and I like that. I like the idea of setting an example - proving that it is acceptable to be alone in a public place where everyone else is in groups, and to just be sitting there eating, not having to be engrossed in anything else.

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We believe that whatever feels at first like joy is not.

Or is, but will not last. Or should not last. We feel so sure of this that we will undermine our own inklings of joy, blunting the pain we think awaits.

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