I’ve always wondered what kind of person I would be if I wasn’t an introvert. Would I have more friends? Would I join more clubs? Would I be happier? That last question always sits in the back of my mind each day when I walk into school and take a seat by myself. A lot of people confuse introverts as misanthropists, people that simply do not like other human beings. That may be true for some, but it is not my case. My case consists of overthinking and being paranoid that people don’t actually like me. But rather, that they are forced to interact with me and I’m bothering them if I’m the one to start conversation. So I started living by the words, “Don’t speak unless spoken to”.

As a kid, I never joined any sports team or extracurricular activity. It wasn’t because I wasn’t sociable. It was because nothing truly interested me. Leading up to fifth grade, I had a group of friends, but only two people I really considered “close”. Then the 2015 school year started, and classes had both students that took French and students that took Spanish. Aside from a new student, I was the only girl that took Spanish in that class. I didn't know anyone and no one knew me. I was lonely. And I had the mindset that people wouldn’t want to be friends with me because they already had their own friend group. If I kept to myself or joined someone else’s group of friends, I would be an outcast either way. After school, I would cry to my mom that I didn’t know anyone in my class, that I had no friends. She only told me to make some. And I cried even harder because she doesn’t understand how difficult it is to “just make friends”.

It’s a constant struggle of mine to feel like I belong somewhere, whether it’s in school or out. I’m not trying to fit in or be the most popular girl in the world, but I feel like everywhere I go, no one really accepts me. It’s not even the kind of feeling where people are purposely trying to exclude you; it’s the kind that you just know that you don’t belong anywhere, and so you don’t make much of an effort to. I’m not athletic, or artistic, or the next Albert Einstein. I’m just an outlier. Just there. Just miscellaneous.

Sixth grade was a blur for me; it was the sequel to fifth grade, and definitely not the way I intended to start my middle school years. A lot of the time when people talked to me, I would reply with short, one word answers. It wasn’t because they wanted to start a conversation; they would need my help, I would give it to them, and then we would both move on. Sometimes people would talk to me just because they wanted to; they would be the ones to initiate the conversation. But during those times, my mind was always elsewhere. I would laugh if people made jokes, smile if they complimented me, and say, “Hi” if they greeted me. But none of it was truly genuine from my perspective. I never knew how to keep the conversation flowing or how to keep thinking of things to say. To simply put it, I didn’t know how to socialize.

Then seventh grade happened. I actually made new friends. Actually, scratch that, I made one friend. The rest I would rather consider acquaintances. But it at least made my year liveable. I had people to sit next to and talk to. I had people that I could be partners with instead of silently hoping that the teacher would assign us partners so I didn’t have to work by myself. I had people that didn’t make me feel lonely and antisocial. I liked having the company of others, and I thought that--just maybe--they enjoyed my company too.

But sometimes, I enjoy the company of myself more than I do with other people. It’s less awkward when I do my own thing. I don’t have to worry about saying the wrong words or having uncomfortable silence settling between whoever I’m talking to because we don’t know what else to talk about. I don’t feel like I’m bothering anyone with my existence and it’s refreshing not trying so hard to fit in.

However, that is not how my family understands me. All they know is a girl that stays in her bedroom all day because she has no other plans. My mother says I’m too antisocial. Too shy. Too introverted. My sister always taunts me, saying that no one likes me and that she has more friends. My father, he doesn’t really care. And to be honest, I don’t really either.

Even now, in eighth grade, I’m still alone for the time my friends aren’t with me. I don’t try to go out of my comfort zone and make new friends or talk to new people. When people call out my name, I usually ignore them the first time. I would never understand that they are trying to talk to me, and not just calling out another name or saying something that just sounds similar to my name. I don’t believe that people would want to talk to me. I just assume that I’m as well as invisible to them.

But being a wallflower can come with its perks. No one expects too much from me and I can just do what I want without attracting attention. I like to be surrounded with my thoughts more than I do with physical people. It’s strange, I know, but that’s just it. The people that are supposed to care for me can’t accept the fact that I can survive without having so many friends. I’ll admit, having friends can be a great thing and can come with an unbelievable feeling of euphoria, but sometimes being alone can be even better.

And that is what I know is true: there is a distinct difference between being alone and being lonely. Loneliness is feeling miserable because you don’t have company. Being alone just means being by yourself.

So to answer that last question that sits in the back of my mind everyday, no. No, I would not be happier, because I’m happier when I’m alone.

Hey everyone! So this is my personal essay for writing class. I decided to just post it because I’m honestly very proud of it and wanted to share it with you guys. It’s a little different from what I would normally post, but I really hope you like it. I haven’t gotten a grade yet, but so far my teacher only gave me advice for one little bit and said the rest was good so hopefully it is (lol). I didn’t change anything to the article from the original essay (besides the title - she gave us the title) so it might read weirdly in certain places because it doesn’t make sense without background information. But anyways, thank you for reading, and I’ll see you in my next article!