One Direction’s Unlikely Fraternity: Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis, And Niall [Opinion]

One Direction Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan

One Direction’s Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan unlike most bands went from rank strangers to brothers overnight via Simon Cowell’s TV magic. It worked because, at their age, that sort of bonding came naturally. It was not that different than if the boys had gone to college and joined a fraternity, well except for the paparazzi, and the money.

Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Louis Tomlinson had almost nothing in common. They didn’t like the same kinds of music. They didn’t come from the same kinds of households, and they all had vastly different interests.

One Direction’s Harry Styles was friendly, outgoing, and charismatic. Zayn Malik was artistic, wildly creative, and highly introspective. Niall Horan was athletic, energetic, and folksy. Liam Payne presented himself as responsible and compassionate, while Louis Tomlinson was sweet, unassuming and genuine. But, there was a lot more to each of them than was readily apparent.

One Direction fans fret that there won’t ever be a One Direction reunion. Is One Direction over? Will Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan come together again? What about Zayn Malik?

Are Harry Styles’ and Zayn Malik’s solo careers going to break up the One Direction fraternity? Aren’t Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan, their brothers and members of that magical One Direction fraternity for life?

Can One Direction’s Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan equal or exceed the excitement surrounding the amazing accomplishments of their brothers Harry Styles and Zayn Malik? Just how great are Harry Styles’ and Zayn Malik’s solo accomplishments?

Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson’s solo singles were also exemplary. Liam Payne’s Solo album is set to come out soon, so fans await that music, as well as albums from Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson. Could Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson or Niall Horan top Harry Styles solo success?

The One Direction brotherhood was never what the fans were told, not that there was some dark secret. Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan were just a lot more complex as human beings than the stereotyped characters presented in the media.

Zayn Malik could have been the main heartthrob, just based on looks, notes Complex, had he not been so shy.

“Except Malik was shy, deathly shy. Harry Styles, on the other hand, possessed a special charisma from the very beginning.”

Perhaps shy though doesn’t quite explain Zayn Malik correctly. Zayn Malik is a true artist, complicated, deep, and introverted.

Of course, in One Direction each boy was a heartthrob for some girls. Niall Horan had a strong appeal to girls attracted to his athletic energy. Liam Payne attracted girls looking for a responsible father like beau. Louis Tomlinson had his share of teen girl fans as well.

Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, and Niall Horan each captured the hearts of millions of fan girls, but Harry Styles and Zayn Malik probably made a deeper impact on the most fans.

One Direction’s Harry Styles took on the role of heartthrob because of his charisma and friendly outgoing nature, as well as his gorgeously perfect face and beautiful hair. Zayn Malik became the mysterious one, and at times the bad boy.

One Direction When They Started

The work Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan did and the pressures they felt were also a lot harder than their fans could imagine. Being on the road nine months out of the year is extremely stressful, and at the end of five years, all the One Direction boys were exhausted.

Harry Styles recently confided to The Rolling Stone he was the one to first suggest the hiatus, months before Zayn Malik left One Direction behind.

“I didn’t want to exhaust our fan base. If you’re shortsighted, you can think, ‘Let’s just keep touring,’ but we all thought too much of the group than to let that happen. You realize you’re exhausted and you don’t want to drain people’s belief in you.”

Zayn Malik and Harry Styles

Zayn Malik impulsively fled One Direction’s seemingly never-ending tour, in what could only be called an act of instinctual self-preservation. Exhaustion, stress, and anxiety hit Zayn Malik a lot harder than Harry Styles, Liam Payne, or Louis Tomlinson.

Niall Horan, however, was experiencing severe acid reflux disease, which could have been due to chronic stress and anxiety. At the same time, Zayn Malik wasn’t eating for days on end and staying up all night according to his autobiography Zayn.

Harry Styles was ready to call for a break. Harry Styles was exhausted, Zayn Malik couldn’t eat and couldn’t sleep. Niall Horan was getting sick. Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne were tired out as well.

The One Direction fraternity thus hit graduation day, not too long after Zayn Malik had to drop out. The Alumni moved on to rest, get married, take care of their families, and build careers, but that doesn’t mean One Direction is over and done. The One Direction alumni will have a reunion. Niall Horan and Liam Payne have guaranteed it.

It is, however, unrealistic for One Direction fans to believe that Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan would ever go back to making an album together every year and touring nine months out of that year. No one does that other than very young bands, and even they can’t keep it up forever.

One Direction was one of a kind or at least a once in a half-century kind of band. Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, and Liam Payne either matched or exceeded the fame of The Beatles, in terms of fan enthusiasm, record sales, and popularity.


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Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan will not let One Direction just slip away. They may even return with Zayn Malik, but on a more relaxed schedule to prevent exhaustion and allow for more creativity, as well as making time for more solo work.

Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, and Zayn Malik will always be One Direction, but also so much more than One Direction.

[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]