Anneli Rufus, Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto

If you’re on the introverted side – if, like me, you enjoy quiet libraries better than crowded parties, and have shied away from free hugs – it must have happened to you that others have not really understood why. If you’ve turned down a dinner invitation because you preferred an evening at home, you must have been criticized as antisocial. I’m probably not an extreme loner, but my inborn temperament is way out there; it is only thanks to a good degree of conditioning and practice that my behavior – I’ve been told – might even, on occasion, seem that of an extrovert.

That’s why I have immensely enjoyed reading Anneli Rufus’s Party of One, a book that (1) confirms that there are others like us out there, (2) makes it clear that such preferences are largely imprinted in our genes, and (3) argues passionately that a loner is just a loner – not necessarily a sociopath, a pervert, or a serial killer, as lazy media and inaccurate police profiling would have us believe. If you have someone who loves you but doesn’t understand you, give them this book.

Author Anneli Rufus, a loner herself, will take them on a rather exhilarating ride through popular culture, movies, advertising, friendship, love and sex, art, literature, religion, sanity, crime, fashion, travel, childhood and more. The lightest chapter is the one on technology, which does not probe all that deeply in the impact that the Web has had in opening up lifestyle choices for loners (hey, I suspect even the gregarious Tim Ferriss might be a loner, deep down), but gets one thing absolutely right: “The Internet is, for loners, an absolute and total miracle”.

I read the book while sunbathing on a crowded beach. My body was displayed for all to see, but I wasn’t there. I was hiding behind big dark sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. Thanks to noise-canceling Bose QuietComfort 3 headphones, which I discovered thanks to my colleague Paolo, I didn’t hear any of the ambient noise. And I was listening to the moody songs of Jason Molina, which my friend Claudio first recommended to me. I was a loner on a beach. It was a perfect day.

8 thoughts on “Anneli Rufus, Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto

  1. ahhh…

    there are more like you and me in the world…we simply don’t step out of our internal monologue often to make small talk with one another as strangers on a street, and that is just fine with me. i do not think you strange/sociopathic/criminal…but rather, more than likely, kindred. thankyou for sharing.

  2. Just picked up a copy and found it remarkably insightful and helpful. Unfortunately, being a loner myself, I’m not exactly inclined to shout it from the rooftops.

  3. Hi Paola,
    Followed your comment from M.Varsavsky’s blog to here. I totally identify with what you wrote. Fits me to a T. 😀 It’s very annoying how people who are naturally extroverted and who gravitate to be constantly surrounded by other people are hailed as having “healthy” relationships while those of us who enjoy and appreciate our own company are pitied or seen as “missing out” on life. Not true.

  4. Pingback: Too social « Live from Planet Paola

  5. Ah! How I like this point of view!

    Another way of looking at this is through the lens of the MBTI personality tests… I remember how we were two of this type of personality (ISTJ in MBTI terminology) in a group of 15 people many of whom were extrovert sociopaths (yes you can be in pretty bad psychological shape while being an extrovert with vibrant “social” life, which is in fact more a way to feed on others as opposed to having balanced relationships…)

    It was real relief to find someone else in the room that was of the same type especially because introverts tend not to make themselves too visible and are rather discreet.

  6. Good to find fellow ISTJs through blogging. By the way, two out of 15 is actually a lot (given that there are 16 types…) – did you mean “a group of 150 people”?

  7. Pingback: Caring for Your Introvert by Anon User - Quora

  8. Anneli Rufus has done a magnificent job telling about life from a loner’s perspective and making it all sound capable and NORMAL. She writes chapters on the loner in community, popular culture, films, advertising, friendships, love & sex, technology, art, literature, religion, sanity, crime, eccentricity, clothes, environment, solo adventures and at last childhood. The words are a true manifesto for a loner’s hungry soul, finally another person who understands.

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