Reflections on 1 year of Socially Distant
It’s been a year since I launched Socially Distant.
I set up the site because, whilst a lot has been written in recent years about introverts, INTJs and highly sensitive people, far less has been said about more ‘extreme’ introverts. My aim with Socially Distant was to draw some attention to the loners, the schizoids and the solitaries amongst us, those who call into question the seemingly irrefutable idea that humans are a social species.
Things got off to a pretty good start. I had lots of ideas for articles and I managed to set down my thoughts on some topics I had been grappling with for a while; the most significant being, ‘Humans are a social species’ – but what do we mean by ‘social’ exactly?
However, over the winter I fell into a funk, and my interest in the project wavered. As I explained in this article, I realised I’d become a bit too solitary, and that my loner life was contributing to my slump.
This wasn’t the only reason I was finding it hard to write, though. I also found myself questioning the very premise of Socially Distant: which is that some people just don’t need close relationships or social interaction.
I’ve been wondering: Am I okay with not having friends? Maybe some social connection would be nice? Maybe I do get lonely? Might a solitary life be preventing me from becoming all I could potentially be? Maybe I do have the ability to love ‘someones’ and not just ‘somethings’?
All of which is to say – some ambivalence has set in! – and consequently snuffed out some of the spark I had going into this project.
This is a recurring theme in my life. I’ll set out on a project, full of gusto, but there’ll always come a point when I start questioning everything. I lose confidence, and interest, in what I’m doing. So I just end up abandoning the project. How I envy those who have a ‘purpose’ in life; who’ve found their ‘calling’; their ‘passion project’! There have been a few times now where I *think* I’ve happened upon ‘my thing’ – but it’s always fizzled out, come to nothing. (I sometimes wonder whether this inability to stick at anything, to stay motivated, could have something to do with my schizoid personality?)
I don’t want to quit on Socially Distant though. Despite the quibbles and questions that have been cropping up for me these past few months, I do still believe that some of us ‘don’t need other people that much’.
However, it’s the ‘that much’ I’m increasingly interested in exploring. What sort of connections / relationships might solitaries and schizoids actually desire? What would ‘love’ look like for a schizoid? Is it possible to live a solitary life whilst also maintaining some meaningful interpersonal connections with others? And so on.
Actually answering these sorts of questions feels like an incredibly daunting task though, given it would require me to peel back layers; face ‘truths’. And I don’t feel able to take that plunge right now, at this particular point in my life.
What’s also putting me off is that I’m about to take up a 9 to 5 office job after three and a half years spent self-employed working from home. I fully anticipate this life change to leave me with less time and energy to write and feeling even more disinclined to tackle those tough questions.
With all that being said, I do intend to continue with Socially Distant.
My plan at the moment is to publish at least one new article each month. Right now, it’s hard to know exactly what direction this future content will take – whether the articles will cover similar ground to those published in the past 12 months, or start to touch on the ambivalences. It could also be the case that my new job provides me with some ideas. Working in an office alongside other people again will require me to navigate a number of social challenges. A discussion of these would be well-suited to Socially Distant. I don’t know, we’ll see!
In the meantime, thanks for reading.
Highlights from Socially Distant’s first year: