Being alone doesn’t always mean feeling lonely. Just because we don’t like being around other people doesn’t make us any more pathetic or needing of attention. We’re alone because we choose to be. Sure, there are times when we don’t want to socialize due to the fact that we overthink the situation and we’re afraid to screw things up, but more often than not we don’t socialize because we really don’t want to.

The warmth of the bed beckons us more than the company of an old or new acquaintance; we gravitate towards the stories of our books and music and away from somebody’s trip with their friends out of town; and the thought of being alone simply comforts us more than being surrounded by people. We’re the people you don’t regularly see at all — introverts.

Everybody has their own preferences on how they want to spend the rest of their day. Introverts like me have loads of ways to entertain ourselves without having to get out of the house and into the jungle that is the outside world. Some like to read books, play music, play video games, sleep, watch movies, and so on. There’s a myriad of ways to kill time. As an introvert and knowing other introverts, we’re hardly ever bored.

However, what connects us all together is our preference for isolation and the way we feel about staying at home. In my opinion, my house feels like a fortress built not to protect me but to protect others from my crippling awkwardness. I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way about how they’d rather coop up in their own nest than go out and socialize.

This doesn’t mean we don’t have any friends. I’m sure there are introverts out there with a dozen friends yet there are also others with a handful. It doesn’t matter because either way, we end up not hanging out with them on some days. Though we introverts simply prefer to be away from people in general, we have our pet peeves. These little things that get on our nerves give us enough reason to shut ourselves off the outside world. One of the worst things about it is that they can be caused by our friends. We love them but we do have limits.

Hence, here is a short list of things I’m absolutely tired of hearing about being an introvert from my friends:

1.) You should go out more – Maybe you should stay in more.

2.) You should meet new people – Why I don’t go out in the first place.

3.) You should get a boyfriend/girlfriend – As if getting a love life will instantly make me more sociable. I’m alone because I like being alone. Hell, even if I’d get a girlfriend, I’d still find time to be with myself.

4.) Why don’t you hang out with us? Are you avoiding us?- Such a dramatic phrase when the only reason I don’t go out with you people is because I just don’t want to. This phrase ends up becoming my reason for missing other outings.

5.) Are you sad? – I do get sad from time to time, and when I do I like being alone. But one shouldn’t equate being alone with sadness all the time.

6.) You’re alone because you don’t go out – Correction: I’m alone and I don’t go out. What’s it to you if I enjoy my own company? I’d marry myself if I could.

7.) You’re awkward because you don’t go out – I will admit this is a vicious cycle. I’m awkward because I don’t go out and I don’t go out because I’m awkward. If I wanted to disappoint a handful of people at the same time, I’d go to dinner with my family (just a joke, of course). I’m fine with a few good friends.

8.) You’re too lazy/you should be more productive – Lazy to go out, yes. But to read a book? Listen to new music? Play an instrument? Finish the level in the video game I’ve been playing? Learn new recipes to cook? Watch movies and series? Develop a skill? Write? Exercise at home? Sleep? Draw? I could distribute all these activities over a week equally. I should be more productive? Please.

9.) Go out and get some air – If this is your way to get me out, I will literally take two steps outside my house and breathe for five minutes then return to my cave. If this is your idea of luring me to go out, you might as well leave a trail of food that would lead me to a cage like what they do in cartoons.

10.) It’s not good to be alone – It’s not good to take drugs or pollute the Earth either. Welcome to life, my friend.

11.) Opportunities won’t come knocking on your door – I consider opportunities for success to be more like fruits than door-to-door salesmen. Sure, they’ll eventually fall off and rot. But I’ll pick them when I feel that I can reach it and when the fruit is ripe. I’m not gonna get a ladder, pick the fruit and find out my tummy can’t handle it. New opportunities come and go each day. We fail and succeed. So for now, give me the day to read, sleep, and what not.

As I’ve said earlier, being alone doesn’t always mean feeling lonely. Just because we value time with ourselves doesn’t mean we think less of others. So it’s best to leave us introverts to our own devices when we want to be alone. We tend to bite — literally.