Saturday, 7 November 2015

Me myself I

I do like my privacy. I like being able to think or emote or plan or just be totally vacant without other people intruding on me and obliging me to interact.

I want to be able to choose when I mingle with other people and when I don't. There are times when I love socialising and crave other people's company. But there are also times when I want to be on my own and the slightest hint of conversation makes me want to flee.

I would hate to live in a household so full of other people - children, grandchildren, parents, neighbours - that you never have a moment to yourself unless you actually leave the house and vanish for a while.

Luckily I've spent most of my adult life either on my own or with one other person (Jenny) who is often elsewhere and allows me plenty of privacy. I once spent a month in a shared flat that turned into a chaotic multi-person squat. That was enough communal living for a lifetime.

Some people appreciate the idea of social privacy, which is helpful.They understand that even if you're in a public place or in  a social gathering, you don't necessarily want to chat ad nauseam. If you look as if you're enjoying a moment of quiet reflection, they'll pass you by and approach someone else.

Of course the main downside of privacy is loneliness. Too much privacy can easily become chronic loneliness as thinking your own thoughts stops being a pleasure and turns into a tiresome albatross. Fortunately my thoughts are so sparky and so fertile that I seldom want to escape from them. The more the merrier in fact.

Oh, sorry if I've intruded on your privacy. I'll stop now and leave you alone....

26 comments:

Z said...

I'm more sociable than I used to be and now realise that I could seem a little stand-offish when I tended to vanish from company. But I'm still perfectly happy by myself and sometimes have to make an effort to seek out people, because I know it's good for me.

Bijoux said...

Most people seem uncomfortable with being alone in their own thoughts. Hence, the immediate pulling out of their cell phone.

Nick said...

Z: I don't make any special effort to seek people out, as I meet a lot of people in the course of my work. But if ever I give up work, I might have to stop myself from becoming a bit too reclusive.

Bijoux: They do, don't they? There's an awful lot of fiddling with mobile phones over here as well. I think a lot of women like to give the impression they're in contact with someone, for reasons of personal safety.

Helen Devries said...

I'm quite sociable...but i like to choose when I'm sociable.
People here tend to just drop in without calling ahead which can drive me up the pole if I'm in the middle of something or just wanting to chew things over in peace, but I grit my teeth, bring out the coffee and cake and just go with it.

Nick said...

Helen: People dropping in at any old time would drive me nuts! Luckily people don't tend to do that round here. But as you say, what can you do but just bite your tongue and go with the flow.

Grannymar said...

There were four people already in my family when I arrived and that doubled within another eight years. Visitors were always welcome and came by the car load unannounced, they had no bother staying for meals. Some offered help with preparation or clearing up, but others didn't. It took a long time for me to get used to the ways of people here in Norn Iron, no cold calling, just wait until you were invited at a certain time for a certain time! Plenty of 'We must have you over' or 'We must get together' suggestions were offered but seldom followed up. Now I come and go as I please and enjoy my own company. As for intruding on my privacy Nick, you never do, I enjoy your company.

Nick said...

Grannymar: I'm used to the English and Northern Irish custom of never just dropping in but always arranging a visit in advance. I'd go bonkers if people were just waltzing in whenever they felt like it! And yes, that habit of suggesting a meet-up but not actually meaning it is infuriating.

Thanks for that compliment - good to know I'm not boredom central!

CheerfulMonk said...

The nice thing about blogging is we never intrude on someone's privacy. They get to choose if they want to read us, and if so, when it's convenient for them. So we can write about anything we like without worrying.

CheerfulMonk said...

PS I do love your sense of humor. :)

Nick said...

Jean: Absolutely. You can go blogging if and when you want, and people can read your stuff if and when they want. Same goes for email and Facebook (except that work emails can often turn into a never-ending burden).

And there were all those dudes saying I didn't have a sense of humour....

tammy j said...

are you sure we're not twins? lost somehow at birth?
although...
i can honestly say i truly never get lonely.
i think i did right after bob died. but that was missing HIM. not just people in general.

i'm even okay with being without him now. it's been so many years.
i would NEVER have a roommate(s) unless forced into it.

and what i dislike are people who simply cannot or will not believe that you don't mind being ALONE on a holiday!!!

it's always a stressful time coming up because it's hard for them to take "no thank you" for an answer! it's just not my life.
and it hasn't been for a long while. and i don't miss it.
so thank you but ... NO.
please just leave me alone!
wow. i guess that sounds really ungrateful and bad. but it is what it is.

Wisewebwoman said...

Well, I'm the original "gregarious loner" and am perfectly content with my own company. I like more of it than most people as been my observation. I don't like large gatherings but more intimate smaller ones and conversation is not superficial as I fail badly at small talk.

I interact well, I think, as I don't view myself as boring but throw out a little controversy to pepper things up.

For instance, interacting with a 6 year old today I asked her if she liked her name and she said "no" and I said what would you like to be called and she told me. And the conversation rocked between the two of us after that.

But then, I'm glad to be home, to the lovely silence and the insides of my head.

XO
WWW

John Gray said...

Privacy and being lonely are very different
I prefer being alone 3/4 of my day
But i dont really releih privacy

Nick said...

Tammy: We have enough room in our house for a lodger, but like you we'd never look for one unless we were really desperate.

I often go wandering around on my own when I'm on holiday. I don't understand why anyone should think that odd.

Nothing wrong with wanting to be alone. There's nothing ungrateful or bad about it. I would say that whoever wants your company is being pushy and demanding.

Nick said...

www: Like you, I prefer small gatherings to larger ones because as you say the conversation gets deeper and more interesting.

That's a good topic to raise with a 6 year old. I imagine most kids have strong opinions about their name and whether they like it or not.

Nick said...

John: They're very different things. Of course you're never really alone because all your four-legged friends are never far away!

tammy j said...

i had to laugh.
we both supposedly speak the queen's english.
but then once in a movie somebody said "the americans haven't spoken it in YEARS!" true enough. LOLOL.
i meant... not "vacation" but holiday DAY as in thanksgiving and christmas. that's funny. because the truth is...
i wouldn't relish going on a vacation holiday alone really.
your word for it is so much more festive than vacation. that actually has always sounded like a disease to me that needs inoculation.
i might have gone alone though in my younger days.
i guess i've never actually done it!

Nick said...

Tammy: Indeed, the Queen's English is open to misinterpretation on different sides of the Atlantic! We actually use "holiday" to mean public holidays like Christmas and Easter as well as vacations, so it's a little ambiguous. It would make sense to refer to extended holidays as vacations and avoid the confusion.

I still think though that wanting to spend some time alone on a vacation seems normal enough to me. Even if you love someone to bits, you don't necessarily want to be with them 100% of the time.

Rummuser said...

Wild horses will not be able to disturb me when I am in my privacy mode. Unless it is a matter of life and or death, people around me know enough to leave me alone. I switch off my phones and simply shut myself away to attend to whatever it is that I wish to handle. Since I am a widower, I don't have the problems that my friends have!

Nick said...

Ramana: You've got the right idea. You're happy to switch off all external communication and concentrate on the matter in hand (or nothing in particular). I feel sorry for those people who have to be permanently contactable just in case something really really important comes up.

John Gray said...

Wow

Nick said...

John: Wow????

Jenny Woolf said...

Difficult getting the balance between privacy and loneliness. I just get a bit crowded in if I see too much of people, and need some space to breathe.

Nick said...

Jenny: Me too. Other people can be fascinating for a while, but then I want to retreat and digest what I've seen and heard.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Introvert that I am, I definitely need some alone time. But I'm a sociable introvert - I enjoy gatherings but then need to decompress afterwards.

Nick said...

Agent: Sounds a bit like Wise Web Woman's "gregarious loner"! I'm the same, I can socialise for so long and then I need a break to assimilate it all.