lonely or antisocial?

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lonely or antisocial?

Postby dimeo » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:47 pm

Much of the teachings of Buddhism appear to be about finding solitude, seclusion and quietly meditating in a location remote from social gatherings. It appears that Buddhism encourages a way of life that distances oneself from being overly 'social'. Are most Buddhists typically loners? Do most of us deal with loneliness that is self imposed? Any of my anonymous dharma forum mates have any wisdom, thoughts, sutra verses or comments on this topic?

During the christmas season there's all kinds of parties. I was invited to a big celebration the other evening and it's interesting to see how so many people are naturally inclined to party, drawn to it - they love dancing and drinking, chatting at the bar, milling around person to person, all night long. So many people are having tons of fun, big smiles, lots of laughter.

I find myself in the middle of it all...not quiet at home there, making an effort to make connections, smile and enjoy. I wasn't out there dancing up a sweat, chugging beer all night, and went home alone early before the party was over. Yet somehow I know that I should make a bigger effort to make some more friends in my life. The pretty, handsome, fun, and energetic people attract lots of friends. The unpopular quiet ones slip out unnoticed. :thinking:
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby reddust » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:27 pm

dimeo wrote: I find myself in the middle of it all...not quiet at home there, making an effort to make connections, smile and enjoy. I wasn't out there dancing up a sweat, chugging beer all night, and went home alone early before the party was over. Yet somehow I know that I should make a bigger effort to make some more friends in my life. The pretty, handsome, fun, and energetic people attract lots of friends. The unpopular quiet ones slip out unnoticed. :thinking:


Don't worry your probably an introvert. It's totally natural for us to enjoy our own company and like solitude. We prefer small gatherings and talking to one person at a time. We process more data than extroverts, we are more aware of external and internal data, our brains are wired totally differently. Meditation comes naturally to us. We can party and be very social if we understand how we work. I can be the life of the party for about 2 hours and then my batteries are exhausted. I never feel comfortable at large gatherings but I am okay with that. It's just my nature and I can work with that. How to Thrive in an Extroverted World

I bet dimeo, you are an introvert too! There are tricks you can learn to function and excel in an extrovert world. There is no need to worry something is wrong with you. :heart:
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:40 pm

Lately i've been striving to make genuine connections with people, even if it's just a few words here and there, to a few people here and there. In some cases it's really worked out, and i've ended up being able to do things like help sick friends who I never would have been able to help in the same way without overtures of friendship..rather than just one-sided notions of charity.

If you think about it, so much socialization is a waste, it's almost like people are talking to themselves using another person. I'm not that outgoing, i'm a homebody really, but I've taught a class for years - which involves public speaking of course, and occasionally get the gift of gab, so i've decided that now it's best to engage people in stuff that's meaningful to them if you can suss it out of them..get them to talk about what they are interested in, and add some positive remarks, or sympathy, or whatever it is they might need. This is a good thing to practice at a party, where 90% of people will just want to talk about whatever trivial thing.

That way you're guaranteed that your socialization is more positive than negative at least..and when there's a chance for you to really connect with someone, they will do this same thing with you, be interested in what makes you tick.

It's also possible to be less of an introvert if that's what you want, it requires getting used to being uncomfortable though, just use the parties as practice.

It's true that popular good looking people get the most attention, but I think that the people you want to meet will respond to you simply being genuine..people respond to being genuine, it's like a pheromone or something heh, not always nicely, but surprisingly, a lot of the time they do.
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:53 pm

interesting thread. i wonder, im a loner, i lost almost all my friends and the ones that i am still a distant friend i have some aversion due to lack of trust.
i dont know if it is the buddhas teaching to be a loner but it certainly is helpful if you dont have close, warm and truthful friends or relationships if you want to make the most out of practice or life for that matter.

my question is and i dont want to hijack the thread i just want to hear opinions or experiences that do you really make your friends on your teen years or do people form close and better relationships even when adults? i guess i just want to hear experiences, even though i have some sort of an answer to my self.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby philji » Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:32 pm

Konchok asked whether we form most of our strong and lasting relationships during the formative years of our adolescence and young adult life... Maybe this is so. But due to life experiences, marriage, moving from home to find work etc many people lose touch with such friends.
Personally , now I and my wife are fairly reclusive but most of our friends are dharma friends. friends from dharma centres and also from travelling in Nadia and Nepal. Our interests are similar and our outlook is the same.....earlier friends I rarely see, if I do bump into them then we share some time together, usually talk about where is so and so , what are you doing now etc and then part ways...
Such is life. :cheers:
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:38 pm

By definition, the Buddhas teaching was not about being a loner in the sense being talked about here. He spent his whole life teaching others, by all accounts he would talk to nearly anyone.

On the friendships thing:

Generally you have more time for close friends in your 20's, because no kids, and usually no set career path..at least here in America. Once in your 30's or so the circle of friends doesn't change as much without effort, moving, etc. I think though that (just a general statement of my own experience) often you don't have the emotional maturity to live and let live with relationships until after your 20's, for myself and most people my age I know (late 30's to 40's), earlier in life relationships (romantic and not) were much more tumultuous. Of course all the standard qualifiers apply here, just my experience, wide deviations etc.

It's really easy to get isolated today. For this reason, I think from a standpoint of basic mental health, actually forcing yourself to socialize is sometimes the best option, weirdly enough.

I'm glad that during my depressive 20's the internet was fledgling enough that I was still forced to go socialize with people in person, I would have been very isolated otherwise. We also had BBS's for online socialization during my early 20's, which were local.. if anyone remembers those!
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby Punya » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:47 pm

dimeo wrote:Much of the teachings of Buddhism appear to be about finding solitude, seclusion and quietly meditating in a location remote from social gatherings. It appears that Buddhism encourages a way of life that distances oneself from being overly 'social'. Are most Buddhists typically loners?


I don't know but I think it gives you a head start. I think of introverts as people who enjoy their own company.

dimeo wrote: During the christmas season there's all kinds of parties. I was invited to a big celebration the other evening and it's interesting to see how so many people are naturally inclined to party, drawn to it - they love dancing and drinking, chatting at the bar, milling around person to person, all night long. So many people are having tons of fun, big smiles, lots of laughter.

I find myself in the middle of it all...not quiet at home there, making an effort to make connections, smile and enjoy. I wasn't out there dancing up a sweat, chugging beer all night, and went home alone early before the party was over. Yet somehow I know that I should make a bigger effort to make some more friends in my life. The pretty, handsome, fun, and energetic people attract lots of friends. The unpopular quiet ones slip out unnoticed. :thinking:


Maybe parties just aren't your thing, they aren't the kind of people you feel immediately comfortable with or you lack confidence in social situations. Unpopular is just a label. I would have described myself as shy in my teens but I visited lots of bars and pubs in my twenties with friends and I now find I can talk to pretty much anyone. I think of it as social training.

A few years ago I ran a social group based on brunches. Members would complain to me that they didn't get to talk to me or some other group members because of where they were sitting but what I learnt most from that group was to enjoy the company if whoever I was with. Since then I have used this experience as a kind of buddhist practice. I often go to teachings by myself and prefer to sit with people I don't know. When my local buddhist group holds a public event I make a point of talking to whoever is by themselves. In this way I've got to meet lots of interesting people and I feel like I am helping them too. I've found this useful in work and general social situations too.

Socialising in a situation where you have a common interest, whether it's bike riding, the local chess club or whatever also works well. As I said, not everyone is the partying type.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby Seishin » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:48 pm

One of the three jewels is "sangha" ie a community of like minded people. This says to me that Buddhism is not a lonely religion at all. Coupled with how, even in the Buddhas times there were massive monasteries with monks and nuns living together as a community. Meditative seclusion is indeed part of the path, but not the only part :smile:

Gassho,
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby Qing Tian » Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:07 pm

If you go to the parks in China early in the morning you will see a lot of people exercising together, chatting and having fun. They are often not friends, in the usual sense of the word, but for that time, in that place, they are.

I agree with some of the stuff in this thread. I have always been perfectly at ease with my own company. However, I do not shun the company of others, and will enjoy that also when the opportunity arises - though I do not necessarily seek it out. Personally, when I read/hear people say that Buddhism encourages seclusion or isolation I tend to think that is a misunderstanding of the need for the quiet seclusion that lends itself well to meditation. Overall though, and as judgmental as this will no doubt appear, I think that the people who do criticise Buddhism in this way are fearful of what happens when the party stops.

Over the years one of the things that continues to irritate me is people who try to force me into their idea of fun, and when I resist take the automatic assumption that I am some sort of killjoy. Peer pressure is a truly terrible thing.

Well, I guess we all have our issues. I actually really enjoy dinner parties - the semi formal types where you sit around the table and eat and talk together. Discos and such, not so much. YKMV :smile:
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:33 pm

I agree with most of what has been said already but I thought I would just throw in a few general reminders ...

"Most Buddhists" are lay people living in Asia. If you visit Bangkok you will be standing in the middle of ten million of them. Look around - or just close you eyes and listen - and you will never again think of them as either quiet or loners!

"Most Western Buddhists" are a different story. Many are attracted to Buddhism because they already don't fit comfortably in society. Would it be surprising if they already have somewhat loner/antisocial habits? Also, many attempt a quasi-monastic approach to Buddhism. That's not a feature in lay Buddhism in Asia.

Finally, (d'oh!) we're on an internet forum, a traditional home of shy, geeky, anti-social, introvert and just plain weird people :tongue:
That reason alone is enough to guarantee that DW will have more than the usual percentage of "lonely or antisocial" people.

Relax! Buddhists don't have to be extroverts or introverts, and there's space in the world for all kinds of people.

:namaste:
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby reddust » Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:51 pm

Kim, I know lots of introverted Asians... lol...we are not antisocial, we process data differently, how we expend and recharge our energy is different.

Introverts are not loners! :thumbsup:
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby Qing Tian » Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:07 pm

Agreed. I think we need to drop the term 'antisocial' as it implies that a person is actively against social stuff rather than simply not being interested in it. 'Asocial' might be more appropriate.
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby theanarchist » Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:55 pm

dimeo wrote:Much of the teachings of Buddhism appear to be about finding solitude, seclusion and quietly meditating in a location remote from social gatherings. It appears that Buddhism encourages a way of life that distances oneself from being overly 'social'. :



The problem is more the quality of the relationships than the quantity. For example a lot of the socializing we do is not overly wholesome or in some other way propagating a samsaric lifestyle/samsaric opinions.

And obviously you can't meditate really well when there are constantly people around you, with the associated gossip, emotions, worldly concerns etc. So for the time that you meditate (unless you are quite advanced) it is obviously advised to go to a place where noone disturbs you. Which means, if you want to spend the greater part of the day meditating you have to live as a hermit or in a monastery style setting and radically reduce "social gatherings". Not because these people are bad or you can't handle social situations, but because they distract you from what you want to do.
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby Roland » Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:07 am

I used to be extremely introverted and "antisocial"... I had some underlying problems, lets say. I'm not saying I think introversion is a problem, but practicing dharma actually made me less isolated, less introverted. I think the idea of bodhicitta is responsible as well as the idea of engaged Buddhism. I still love to be alone most of the time. I like to exist on the edges of society. I don't enjoy the typical societal activities so much, but I'm not here boiling in aversion of society (not anymore, at least). Now, I love being around people, but I will still get exhausted quickly in social situations when someone is overbearing or I'm around a lot of people, like a party type setting.

I like to engage with people from time to time, especially standing in the middle of big crowds and just opening up... really interesting in comparison with how I used to exist, sort of shutting myself off from everybody... now I'm more social than ever. I think it's important to engage in conversation, although it often doesn't go anywhere. I'm in circumstances which I don't have much in common with people around me, so that's why I'm on the internet talking to people who possibly do. There are some local centers I attend, and that's great. But the difference is that now I rarely get lonely and enjoy introversion but also enjoy engaging, when in the past it was a totally different experience.

I think my point is, that I was attracted to the dharma initially because it focused on suffering and the isolation or seclusion aspect fit as well with how I existed anyways. But later I settled into a different experience of what the seclusion part means to me.

I've also never really accepted many societal standards. I care not about social status, or number of friends, or what people think about where I live, or judgements born out of the habitual patterns of society. I'm completely happy just sitting here by myself. Before, I was sort of programmed, like everyone else, to think there is something wrong with me if I didn't accept these things, which is probably where a lot of problems came from.

Here's a TED talk on introverts that I enjoy and usually share with others who I think can relate:

http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the ... verts.html

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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:04 am

reddust wrote:Kim, I know lots of introverted Asians... lol...we are not antisocial, we process data differently, how we expend and recharge our energy is different.

Sure. I was just trying to point out that there is no necessary connection between Buddhism and introversion.

reddust wrote:Introverts are not loners! :thumbsup:

Sure, but there is some overlap, as Roland's comments (which I can totally identify with) affirm.

:namaste:
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby reddust » Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:07 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
reddust wrote:Kim, I know lots of introverted Asians... lol...we are not antisocial, we process data differently, how we expend and recharge our energy is different.

Sure. I was just trying to point out that there is no necessary connection between Buddhism and introversion.

reddust wrote:Introverts are not loners! :thumbsup:

Sure, but there is some overlap, as Roland's comments (which I can totally identify with) affirm.

:namaste:
Kim


Okay, I gotcha! :namaste:

EDIT: When I told my boss I was an introvert he didn't believe me because I am so social, easy to tease and get along with. He gave me a list of what introverts are and all negative. I have to defend us introverts, to this day my boss still thinks the introvert personality is not a positive.
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby dharmagoat » Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:04 am

reddust wrote:When I told my boss I was an introvert he didn't believe me because I am so social, easy to tease and get along with. He gave me a list of what introverts are and all negative. I have to defend us introverts, to this day my boss still thinks the introvert personality is not a positive.

I am an introvert too. I choose to spend most of my time alone, but I am definitely not shy or socially awkward. Nor is my outlook in any way negative.

:cheers:
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby Jainarayan » Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:54 pm

dimeo wrote:Yet somehow I know that I should make a bigger effort to make some more friends in my life.


Why? Do you feel the need for more company and more friends, or is it because it's what society expects and the media portray? Or are you happy with your own company, with limited social interaction? I have a problem with what we "should" do according to other people and media. I see tv and print ads with beautiful young women and handsome fit young men laughing it up over dinner at Red Olive Seafood Garden, or some such place. It's fantasy, nothing more. Of course, this comes from a man who also prefers to keep to himself. I avoid work functions at all costs; they are co-workers, not friends or family (even family is pushing it :tongue: ).
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby uan » Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:42 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Lately i've been striving to make genuine connections with people, even if it's just a few words here and there, to a few people here and there. In some cases it's really worked out, and i've ended up being able to do things like help sick friends who I never would have been able to help in the same way without overtures of friendship..rather than just one-sided notions of charity.



:good:


Kim O'Hara wrote:
"Most Western Buddhists" are a different story. Many are attracted to Buddhism because they already don't fit comfortably in society. Would it be surprising if they already have somewhat loner/antisocial habits?
:namaste:
Kim


:good:
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Re: lonely or antisocial?

Postby Roland » Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:27 am

I'm sure it also has something to do with western cultures being dominated by Christianity and abrahamic religion, therefore more judgement from society (ex: in the movie "Dhamma Brothers" one woman says "I don't believe in witchcraft or Buddhism or anything like that.") versus eastern countries dominated by totally different religious paradigms, therefore more accepting and having more in common with those who have similar views. Would a Christian feel isolated in eastern countries?
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