Is it healthy to enjoy being alone?
No matter how many friends you’ve made or how well you get along with family, you’re just one of those people who prefer to be alone.
And you feel perfectly healthy.
But were you always this way?
And if not, what reasons for your solitary nature come to mind?
We found 15 worth considering.
Is It Normal To Want To Be Alone?
What do you call someone who enjoys being alone?
The word “introvert” comes to mind, but even classic introverts are as likely to crave good company as anyone else; they just prefer to balance that with some needful time alone.
And with introverts, those alone times tend to last longer and be more frequent. And to a large extent, that’s due to important chemicals, dopamine and acetylcholine, as Dr. Martin Olsen Laney explained in his book, The Introvert Advantage.
Some folks prefer to be alone most, if not all, the time. If you’re one of these people, the reasons described in this post might sound familiar.
So might the loner tactics listed below:
- You come straight home after work to spend your evening alone.
- You avoid social engagements and frequently decline invitations to hang out.
- You do some if not most of your shopping online to avoid people (and save gas).
- You prefer solo hobbies and avoid group projects.
- You prefer making donations to volunteering in your community because — well, people.
I Like Being Alone: 15 Reasons Why You Prefer Your Own Company
Not all reasons for preferring solitude are negative, nor are they all positive.
But if you’re comfortable with the word “asocial” and see nothing wrong with wanting to be alone, chances are good you’ll relate to at least some of the following reasons:
1. You think of yourself as an “extreme” introvert.
Maybe it’s something you’re proud of. Or perhaps it’s just something you’ve come to accept about yourself. It’s just who you are. And changing that doesn’t seem worth the trouble.
You might still ask, “Why do I like being alone?” Because most of the people you know are less inclined to live a solitary life.
Maybe you try to mix it up and spend some time socializing. But before long, you’re anxious to be alone again. Why fight it?
2. Your energy levels are low.
Maybe you just get drained more quickly than most by social interactions. It’s also possible you’re running on low energy reserves due to poor health or chronic illness.
You don’t know where extroverted people get their energy. It seems inexhaustible to you, and you don’t know whether to be impressed or just really annoyed by it.
You don’t have the energy — mental, emotional, or physical — to deal with other people’s stuff.
Your own stuff wears you out.
3. You like doing your own thing (most of the time).
It seems like whenever you do something with other people, you end up having to do whatever someone else wants.
You don’t mind the occasional compromise, but the only time you get to do what you want is when you’re alone. When you’re with others, you just don’t have the energy or the will to argue for something you’d rather do.
You’d rather just excuse yourself and do your own thing. And you find that, when you do, that’s when you feel happiest.
4. You find social situations more stressful than rewarding.
Much as you’ve been told how rewarding it is to spend time with friends and family, you find yourself ready to leave far sooner than anyone else.
Even if you love the people you’re socializing with, you feel a strong need to get away and recharge as well as process what you’ve heard.
And the peace and quiet of that alone time feel more rewarding than the time you spent socializing.
You finally have both time and space to think and to focus on what’s important to you.
5. You prefer peace and quiet.
What’s more, you might have a real need for it. You get overwhelmed easily and need time alone to declutter your mind and decompress. You need quiet. You need calm.
Being around people feels noisy, even when no one’s talking. And sometimes (especially when your energy is low), it’s more than you can handle.
So, whenever possible, you opt for spending time alone, especially if your work involves being around and working with other people. You need alone time to recover.
6. You do your best work alone.
According to your rules, you prefer to work your own way and keep to your own schedule.
Other people tend to bring their rules and work styles with them. And adapting to those differences slows down your workflow.
You get things done more efficiently on your own. It’s not personal. Or maybe it is sometimes, but mostly you just find working alone the best way to get things done.
You are not a team player. And you’re okay with that.
7. You’re experiencing social burnout.
You’ve spent so much time trying to do and say the right thing to support others, but far too often, it seems, your efforts only make things worse.
You feel responsible for helping the people you care about feel better. But you can’t make them feel anything.
You can’t fix their pain or switch their focus to something more hopeful or constructive — or, at least, true.
And you’re left feeling exhausted and unnecessary. You think maybe everyone would be better off if you just kept to yourself. So, you decide to do just that.
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8. You have no tolerance for drama.
You overhear enough drama when you’re outside the quiet and safety of your home, and you’d rather avoid it during your free time.
You don’t want to hear gossip or listen to anyone complain about their lives and the people in them.
It’s boring. You have better uses for your time and attention. Other people’s drama is their business. It has nothing to do with you.
And you’re good with that. The less time you spend around other people, the less drama you expose yourself to, and the less likely you are to say something insensitive.
It’s a win-win.
9. You’re averse to small talk.
Your idea of hell is being stuck in a large room full of people, all of whom want their turn exchanging small talk with you.
You don’t see the point in any of it. You can’t think of a single meaningful relationship that began with an exchange of banalities. Or maybe you just forget. In any case, you’d rather avoid it as much as possible.
You’ll have real conversations with authentic people — or none at all.
10. You’re emotionally independent.
You don’t need other people’s interest, attention, or validation to feel good about yourself.
You love yourself just as you are. You like your own company and don’t see a need to add to it. It doesn’t mean you dislike other people, in general. But you’re in no hurry to hang out with others just to avoid being alone.
You’re more likely to do the opposite because you recognize the value of solitude to your emotional health and well-being. Why endanger that just to please other people?
11. You feel burdened by other people’s emotional baggage.
You’re done trying to be someone else’s emotional sponge. You’ve tried to help people in your life feel better about themselves or their lives, but it’s no use.
And you feel used up and shrunken on the inside. You have your own emotional baggage to deal with, after all. And while you might readily empathize with others, you won’t carry their load for them.
As it is, you need a break to recover from your wasted efforts.
12. You’re content with a minimalist social life.
It doesn’t make sense to your more sociable family members, friends, and acquaintances, but you’re happiest when you don’t try to be more social than you are.
You’re perfectly fine with socializing as little as you can get away with. Maybe you can’t avoid it all the time, but you do your best to maximize your alone time and minimize your social interactions.
You’ve found your sweet spot, and you intend to stay there.
13. You think most people aren’t worth getting to know.
Yikes. On the flip side, you might also consider yourself not worth the trouble of getting to know. And writing off other people is more comfortable than risking frequent, painful reminders that you’re just not great at socializing or maintaining relationships.
For a while, you might be okay with the isolation this brings. If you miss good company even a little, though, you’ll come to question this agreement with yourself.
Because all people, at their core, are worth getting to know. And that includes you.
14. You feel anxious around other people.
You can be a zen master when you’re alone. But when other people are around, your body betrays you, and you show all the signs of social anxiety.
- Sweaty palms
- Racing or irregular heartbeat
- Dry throat
- Stuttering or stammering
- Panic attack (or the beginnings of one)
And you don’t see a compelling reason to put yourself through any of that. Maybe sometimes it’s necessary, and you can get through it without permanent damage. But for the most part, you’d rather avoid what causes such distress.
15. You dislike getting close to people.
You like your personal space, but this goes deeper. You don’t want to risk forming an emotional attachment with someone.
Because, if you do, there will be expectations. And you fully expect you’ll be either unable or disinclined to meet them.
It’s so much easier just to keep people at a safe distance. No one has to be disappointed when they get to know you better. No one has any reason to feel burdened by your company or concerns. You and the world are better off when you’re alone.
Is It Okay to Want to be Alone Forever?
Your introversion is not the problem. Introverts are as capable as anyone of mutually satisfying relationships.
Fear is what will keep you on the outside of society. If you truly enjoy your own company, you should be able to enjoy someone else’s.
You can’t love yourself if you hold all other humans in contempt.
And much as you might enjoy your own company, a life well-lived involves a community (however small) of people who care about each other and are willing to sacrifice some comfort to give love and to keep learning.
You deserve (and need) that as much as anyone.
Do you like being alone?
Now that you know the 15 most common reasons for preferring a solitary life, which of them stood out for you? Which ones sounded a bit “extra”?
You don’t mind saying, “I love being alone,” but maybe there’s a line you won’t cross.
You do have some favorite humans. You get along. And you don’t want to lose them. Even for you, some things are worth stepping outside your comfort zone.
What are those things for you?