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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fitting In

I never had it part of my personality to "fit in" with people around me. I remember that when I was a little kid I would do things on purpose to show that I am distinct from other people. And I still retain that, I like being different. I never cared for fitting in and looking normal around other people.

I do not own a cell phone. When the cell phone first started to come out I said to myself, "the cell phone is going to be a popular thing in a few years, I am not going to buy one as a statement that I want nothing to do with people". I never owned a cell phone and do not plan to get one. I simply do not need it, but moreover I needed to make a statement. It makes me feel good when people ask me for my cell phone number and I say "I do not have one". In a same way I do not own iPods and MP3 players. It is true that I do not need them and so I do not buy them, but it is also a statement of dissatisfaction with people.

I dress strangely for people my age. I dress very conservatively and I wear suspenders. But that is a typical mathematician stereotype - that they wear suspenders. And I could not care less. I dress the way I want to dress. I dress the way I dress because I like to. Everyone else can go kill themselves, I do not care. I do not care what other people think of how I dress, not in the slightest.

I also like to take positions that no one else takes. When I was a little kid in school I used to disagree with my whole class for the sake of disagreement. I sometimes think that if the world was atheist I would be a theist just so that I can enjoy myself in being different (though that was more a joke, I will not simply pick a position to be different, I must be able to defend it and defeat my opponents position, I just have utility in uniqueness). When I was in college I told a girl that I am against laws that prevent businesses from discriminating based on race. She never asked me. I just said it when we were discussing racism together. I wanted to tell her something that makes people uncomfortable. It just makes me feel good. And saying what I said is heresy in a place like college, so I had to say it, in order to scare the people around me.

Evolution made people be group animals. People need to be like their group to survive. It is understandable why people form groups and follow what their group does. So when people in college get themselves a FaceBook or a MySpace, or wear designer jeans, the humans, as a group, follow the same trend. But I never had this part of my personality. I never felt a need to have people share something together with me. In fact, I was the opposite, I like having something distinctly my own, not shared with anyone else.

But there is a price to pay for individuality. That price is loneliness. I am a very lonely person. I hardly ever see anyone. I like people, people are interesting and awesome. They just probably do not like me. Not because I am a bad person, not because it is hard to get alond with me, but I guess it is just that they cannot relate to me. I am so different from them and so they stay away from me. They do not stay away from me because they despise me but really because they cannot connect with what I am.

When high school was over I was really sad. Because I knew that I would not see my friends again. I had people to speak to and do stuff with in high school because I saw them on almost a daily basis for an entire day. But when high school was over I knew that I will soon start living a life of loneliness. And indeed this is the case. Four years after high school finished I remained the same with my relationships with other people. Very lonely. I see people at college but it is not the same as high school. I believe this loneliness will only get worse. I do not see myself being a social person and I do not see myself being in any kind of relationship. But that does not depress me. I am not depressed at all. I am a happy person. I am just lonely. For me people are like chocolate. If you have no chocolate at home you are not going to be depressed, but it is nice to have some chocolate around. I do not need people, my life is not based on being social, it is just nice to be social. I sometimes fantasy about doing things with other people but that is just because I like them.

The internet is my savior here. The internet made it possible for me to communicate with other people and relieve my loneliness. There are people online that speak with me. That provides me with a way to be social. Of course not real life social, but cyber-social. I find it much easier to find people online because the internet is filled with a lot of interesting people.

But maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am confusing correlation with causation. I think my lack of interest in fitting in is what caused me to be lonely. But maybe that is just unrelated to that and I am missing something a lot more important. But I cannot see it. This is the only explanation I can think of. The explanation that I am a terrible person and so others do not want to be around me does not agree with my actual personality, so the only remaining explanation I can think of is my lack of interest in fitting in, and sometimes outright violating social norms.

If the price of individuality and attempting to pursue the truth is loneliness then so be it, it is worth it.

There is a video I seen some time ago and I love it very much. The ending of this video is superb but very depressing. Somebody described exactly how I was feeling for a long time. Here


  1. I had a great college experience (once I left the religious schools) but I was very lonely for the first half-decade or so following college. I'm introverted and I'd just left the Orthodox world and so I didn't really have many friends, especially locally. I was also somewhat depressed.

    I did make one good friend at work and that was great, but the thing that really helped me was online dating. I was able to get at least a first date pretty much whenever I wanted and a few developed into lasting relationships. Finally I met my wife and since she is extremely extroverted, she basically takes care of our social lives. Now I'm never lonely -- if anything I have to purposely guard my alone time, which I need a lot of.

  2. But I am not depressed. Depression and loneliness are different for me. Loneliness does not make me sad.

    I have also, just recently, decided never to be in any kind of relationship, even if the opportunity presents itself. There is just something about all relationships which I realized that is just so repulsive to me, and so I do not want to be part of that experience. I rather stay alone.

  3. Mr. Spinoza,

    I know how you feel. We're in the same boat

  4. getting a job and working with others can help with loneliness especially if you like what you're doing

  5. When I was lonely, it was nice sometimes to just go be near a bunch of people like at a bookstore or movie theater. Also, it was really great to get a massage every now and then for the human contact if nothing else. (It wasn't sexual for me, but it felt good to be touched. And massage is awesome anyway.)