Do you enjoy solitude? It might be surprising to hear, but a growing number of people are starting to enjoy their own company.
So what is it about being alone that we find so appealing? Is there something about it that draws you in and makes you feel good? Is it the quiet time to reflect or the chance to do what we want without interruption?
According to experts, here are reasons why some people like to be alone:
Licensed Clinical Social Worker | Certified Life Coach
You have a lack of trust in others and a history of trauma
You are finding natural peace by yourself. The serenity of being alone brings you comfort, particularly if you’ve experienced trauma and are still processing your thoughts and emotions from this event.
Some of us prefer being alone for unfortunate reasons. These reasons include a lack of trust in others and a history of trauma.
When you’ve experienced trauma, there’s a lack of safety, a change in perception of who other people are, and an overall different outlook on the world in general.
When you don’t feel safe around others, you create your own sense of safety by yourself. Even if you are in a public setting, you still retreat to being by yourself.
It’s not until you work through your trauma and develop more security around others and in crowded places that you feel comfortable and genuinely enjoy being around other people.
You work at your own pace
Your productivity is greater when you are alone. You are an introvert; therefore, you find yourself accomplishing tasks at a higher rate due to not worrying about setting boundaries with other individuals.
From a professional and productive standpoint, being alone allows you to work at your own pace. By yourself, you can work 10-12 hours straight or even longer without feeling the need to slow down to help others, or oppositely you can work in short bursts and take longer breaks without someone else regulating your schedule.
You may have a personality that does not respond well to authority and being told where to be, how long to be there, and what you will do while you are there.
Thus, being alone allows you to tap into your creativity and increase your productivity because now you have the autonomy and freedom to work at your leisure.
You find solace in being alone
You process your feelings in solitude without needing to take care of others. You may be a naturally highly sensitive person; therefore, you are impacted by others and their emotions.
There are times when we surround ourselves with other people all of the time because we’re not comfortable being alone with our own thoughts.
Being alone forces us to:
- Listen to ourselves
- Listen to our thoughts
- Feel our feelings
- Deeply analyze our own behaviors
When we are alone, we don’t have the influences of other people, and this can be a positive thing. Now we can explore our values, our purpose, and what truly makes us happy.
Doing this type of work can be intimidating yet rewarding when we are accustomed to being surrounded by what everyone else is doing.
There are many reasons why we like being alone; however, we must be aware of the challenges of being by ourselves and the willingness to embrace our own company.
Related: How to Be Happy Alone?
Dr. Jaclyn Gulotta, PhD, LMHC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Choosing Therapy
People may like being alone as it allows for self-reflection and growth. When people have time to themselves, they begin to feel more secure and confident, and feel more independent rather than feeling they need to depend on someone to make them happy.
Finding out what you enjoy and engaging in some alone time can help make you feel more refreshed and recharged.
You feel overstimulated
For some, life can be hectic between work, school, and social life. Some people may prefer some alone time to unwind and decompress from the day.
If you are more introverted, you may also need this time to just feel more at ease and calm. Most people feel the pressure to engage and be social in their daily routines, and this allows them to be themselves and do what they want.
You may be going through a tough time
If you are going through a life transition or adjustment like separation or grieving the loss of a friend or family member, you may need time to process your emotions and thoughts.
Having some time to yourself may allow you to be more mindful of your emotions and work through this time to find a way to heal and have closure.
You feel secure in who you are
Some people feel confident in who they are and find comfort in being alone.
For some, they may not seek validation from others to know they are doing life right. They may feel complete with where they are regarding their work and social environments and that they are not seeking extra connections from others.
Being alone is more of a gift they get to give themselves rather than thinking they are missing out.
Ileana Arganda-Stevens, LMFT
Program Manager, Thrive Therapy & Counseling
Solitude can be a way of turning down the volume of the noise in your life
We’re given a lot of mixed messages in U.S. culture about what it means to be alone. We value “independence,” but we also value the approval of others and being among friends.
We can feel guilty about taking time for ourselves because we feel like we’re being “antisocial” or “unproductive.” However, I’d like to make a case for solitude.
In today’s world, we’re bombarded by messaging constantly streaming from multiple media sources, whether it’s social media, the news, ads on the radio, or tv.
All of this creates a certain amount of “noise,” which can cloud our thoughts and keep us from knowing how we feel, what we think, and what we need. No wonder, so many of us feel lost and distressed.
Solitude can be a way of turning down the volume of the noise in your life. When we’re alone, we can tune in to our own voices and put down the pressures of our lives to pursue what we find most fulfilling. Many people enjoy being alone for this reason.
Other reasons you might like being alone include:
- You get to go at your own pace. When you’re alone, you decide how you’d like to spend your time.
- You get to pursue what interests you. There’s no pressure to convince others to do something you like when you’re on your own. The fact that something interests you is reason enough to spend time on it.
- You get to experience life in your own way. Sometimes when we’re with others, we can feel pressure to subdue our honest reactions. When we’re alone, we have a chance to experience our honest, unfiltered reactions.
There are many more reasons people enjoy their solitude—it can be restorative and centering. It can help us to connect to ourselves more deeply, which benefits us and our relationships.
In fact, I love providing therapy for people who crave alone time but struggle to get enough of it due to guilt or feelings of obligation. It can be deeply healing to work through feelings of guilt so we can have the solitude we need to live a fulfilling life.
Ellie Borden, BA, RP, CPP
Registered Psychotherapist | Certified Life Coach | Clinical Director, Mind By Design®
It’s because of your personality
We all have our own unique personalities that influence our behavior. There are five cardinal personality traits known as the “Big Five”:
The last one, extroversion, is most closely related to whether someone has a preference for solitude or not. People who are low in extraversion are known as introverts and are more likely to enjoy being alone.
Introverts usually have a small group of very close friends, feel drained by social interactions, and are energized by having time to themselves. They may appear distant or hostile to some people, but this can simply be the result of wanting to be left alone and not a result of personal dislike toward others.
On the plus side, a German study found that introverts may generally be more intelligent, reflective, and insightful than extroverts, so you’ve got that going for you!
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Some people who enjoy being alone may be on the autism spectrum. People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) vary in the variety and degree of their symptoms, but some of the features of ASD include the following:
- Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, for example, failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.
- Deficits in nonverbal communication, for example, failure to maintain eye contact or change facial expressions.
- Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understating relationships, for example, difficulty making friends or a lack of interest in making friends.
Schizoid Personality Disorder
People with schizoid personality disorder (SPD) are usually relatively isolated and detached from social relationships. They can lack emotional expressiveness and tend to pursue vague interests.
Some of the symptoms of SPD include:
- Neither desiring nor enjoying close relationships, including with family members.
- Almost always selecting solitary activities.
- Appearing indifferent to praise or criticism of others.
Further complicating SPD is that many people who suffer from it rarely request treatment, except because of a crisis such as extreme depression or circumstances leading to job loss.
While there is nothing wrong with your choice to keep to yourself, if you feel that you may be beginning to have a hard time being alone or you are self-isolating, it is vital to reach out for help.
A mental health professional can assist you with improving your social skills and seeing the value of social relationships.
Mental Health Specialist, Healthy Minded | Professional Psychology Writer and Trainee Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist
You have difficult early relationships
Difficult early relationships can make subsequent interactions with people, even in adulthood, anxiety-provoking, making us want to spend more time alone.
Although we’d all love to have faultless relationships with our parents, that isn’t a reality. Some parents, for whatever reason, may struggle to respond to their young children with empathy and understanding. While this is rarely intentional, young children depend on their parents to attend to their needs.
The first two years of life is a critical window of time where children form relationship templates in their minds—this means they base their ideas about how all relationships function on their interactions with their primary caregiver.
If their parents attend to their needs and respond to their emotions with empathy, children will learn, “I am good enough” and “I can depend on others.“
In contrast, children with unresponsive or even abusive parents will learn “others are untrustworthy” and “I’m not good enough.” This is an insecure attachment style, which can impact all future relationships.
An insecure attachment style can make interacting with others feel like a minefield.
You may struggle with a lack of self-confidence, or think that people aren’t trustworthy, which can make depending on others feel virtually impossible.
Because of this, you may be more inclined to spend time alone, as you don’t have to worry about what others are thinking or feeling and whether they’re untrustworthy—this might give you some much-needed respite from constantly navigating uncomfortable social interactions.
Related: How to Not Care What People Think
You may also dislike who we become in relationships—perhaps you cling to your partners, become very sensitive, or fear their rejection. This can make romantic relationships exhausting and evoke uncomfortable feelings of shame and guilt, making spending time alone a welcome break from those difficult emotions.
Healthcare Business Consultant | Keynote Speaker | CEO, The Fresh
There are a few reasons people like to be alone, and they all have to do with the fact that we’re social animals.
Being alone allows you to recharge
One of the most common reasons for wanting to go solo is that it allows you to recharge. When you’re in a group, there’s a lot of pressure to keep up with everyone else—to say something interesting or funny, or just to participate at all.
This can be stressful, especially for introverts who need time away from people and stimulation to feel fully recharged.
It allows you to focus on one thing at a time
Another reason people like being alone is because it allows them to focus on one thing at a time. In groups, there’s always so much going on that it’s hard to focus on any particular topic or person for more than a few minutes before being interrupted by something else.
Being alone gives you the space and time you need to really dive deep into whatever it is that interests you most.
Productivity and Stress Management Coach
Being alone allows you to take care of your mental health
Mental, emotional, and physical health are linked. When you are mentally unwell, it has consequences on your body and your emotions. The more you take care of yourself, the more prepared you are for life’s daily challenges and the greater your potential for success.
The essence of a rewarding life is our mental well-being! I like being alone to take care of my mental health and practice the following:
- Get clear on what my purpose is.
- Daily journaling to increase self-awareness and to process daily challenges.
- Daily meditation to disconnect with the outside and connect with the inside.
- Daily practice of breathing exercises to relax and live the moment.
- Clearing off my mind for redundant thoughts that are not serving me.
- Reflect on my energy leakage factors.
- Put in place new habits that will serve my purpose.
Founder and CEO, Britannia School of Academics
Do you prefer books to parties and meaty conversation to light chitchat? Do you like solitude over social interactions? Do you love your own company? If yes, then you definitely like being alone.
It’s great to have time for yourself because it allows you to reflect on yourself and explore how you will live your tomorrow.
Now, keep in mind that there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. For example, suppose you find it satisfying to:
- Eat alone at restaurants.
- Watch a movie alone.
- Take out time for yourself on a Sunday.
- Dress up and look good for yourself.
- No longer find the need to engage in shallow conversations.
In that case, you definitely enjoy yourself on your own.
Here are a few of the many possible reasons people like being alone:
You perform best or feel the healthiest when you are by yourself
The brain of an introvert processes stimuli differently than the brain of an extrovert. You perform best or feel the healthiest when you are by yourself because this is when you renew and rejuvenate.
It is therefore understandable that you would spend a lot of time alone. The neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which promotes a soothing sort of happiness, causes your brain to respond favorably, which is why you find your alone time to be very gratifying.
You work best when alone
You don’t work well with others. You prefer to work alone and on your schedule in accordance with your guidelines. Getting things done on your own is more effective. Not on a personal level. Or maybe it is, but for the most part, you just find working alone to be more productive. And that’s all right.
Related: 12 Best Jobs for Introverts
You prefer peace and solitude
The presence of people may make you feel overstimulated or overwhelmed. You can recharge and feel like your best self by spending time alone with your thoughts or engaging in activities that make you feel physically or mentally relaxed. When you’re sitting in silence, your soul is at rest.
However, the peace you cherish disappears as soon as people are present.
You are content with your life
Simply put, you don’t feel the urge to fill your days with activities and interactions with others. You’re content working alone and enjoying yourself.
You couldn’t imagine loving other things as much as you enjoy being alone, so you can be sure you don’t have FOMO (fear of missing out). You will find it simple to decline invitations from others as a result.
You have low energy levels
Maybe social engagements exhaust you faster than other people do.
- It’s also possible that you have limited energy reserves because of chronic sickness or bad health.
- You’re unsure about the source of extroverted people’s energy. You can’t decide if you should be impressed or merely irritated by it because it appears endless.
- You lack the mental, emotional, and physical stamina necessary to deal with other people’s problems.
- You get worn out by your own stuff.
Senior Editor, Tandem
Humans tend to be social creatures. Due to this, society often expects us to want to gather in groups, party, and be festive. But what if we don’t feel like this? What if you just want to be alone?
Everyone is different, and everyone enjoys different things. If you feel very different, you might wonder, “Why do I like being alone?“
You can gather your thoughts
When you are alone, it’s easier to hear yourself think. You don’t need to worry about other people because other people aren’t there. This is a great time for self-reflection, which might be why you like being alone.
You like it quieter
If you have children or work in a loud or busy office, you might be forced to listen to continuous noise throughout the day. When you are by yourself, even if you listen to music, you can control the volume and feel more at peace.
You’re more introverted than others
Some people are more introverted than others. Not everyone has to have the desire to be on stage or the center of attention. It could just be that being extroverted isn’t you.
When we aren’t confident in ourselves, we might want to be alone instead of being around other people and possibly exposing our faults.
Remind yourself that no one is perfect. True friends won’t judge you for your faults. Let go of your insecurities and enjoy being you.
You don’t want others to rely on you
Being the only person around means you are responsible for making all the decisions. What do you want to eat? Where do you want to go? If you are by yourself, it’s less likely others will rely on you.
You prefer to skip the gossip
Gossip leads to drama, and drama leads to, well, usually, more drama. Once you are alone, you can often avoid gossip and drama.
Just because other people like being social doesn’t mean you need to. Whether it’s something that happens regularly or sporadically, it’s okay to like being alone. Don’t let others sway you and make you believe you need to do things any other way than what makes you happy. The most important person you need to impress is you.
Head of Growth, Yotta
You get to live life on your own terms
There is a line from a famous movie from the 1990s. Robert DeNiro’s character in “Heat” hears his love interest, whether he ever gets lonely due to his nomadic lifestyle.
He tells her, “I’m alone, not lonely.” That’s a healthy way to look at it.
The general way of thinking is that the benefits of being married, close to family, or having a large circle of friends has many more benefits than downsides. I find that to be true.
Furthermore, according to various studies, those who are alone have shorter life spans than those who don’t. That’s another factor to consider.
Single people don’t have others to lean on and help them through periods of crisis or anxiety. However, being alone (as opposed to being lonely) does have some benefits.
For starters, the dollars you earn aren’t being spent on others besides you. You are probably less likely to be financially strapped if you’re on your own.
Additionally, you get to live life on your own terms. People aren’t getting married as early as they used to, and more people are choosing not to get married. It’s not as though all of them are living lives of misery and depression.
Many of them do fine. They take trips wherever and whenever they want. They have fewer commitments to wake up early for. They have more time to devote to the passions in their lives.
There is a fundamental difference between being alone and being lonely. If you feel more of the latter, then it’s time to rekindle some of your old relationships or establish new ones. Otherwise, make the most of your independence.
Cryptocurrency and Digital Asset Investment Management Expert | CEO and Co-founder, American Crypto Academy
Being alone suits you perfectly
I listened to an interview with a famous comedian, who told his interviewer why he chose never to get married.
The mid-60s comedian said he always preferred living without restrictions. He became famous, so he had wealth. He was never selfish with his money—he often gives to various charities—but he always was selfish with his time. He didn’t live lavishly; he just liked living the life of a single person.
He didn’t have the parental instincts that many of his friends had, and he also didn’t see any reason why he had to be monogamous. He prefers to date women who aren’t insistent that he spends all his time with them.
He also said something else that struck me. He didn’t have a lot of expensive hobbies. He didn’t have a hangar full of planes, a recording studio with hundreds of cars, or a drawer full of shiny gold watches.
He’s responsible without someone around telling him to be responsible. Those are the types of people who do well being alone.
He also mentioned that he likes being able to stay up and sleep in late. He’s always been a night owl, something else that a parent can ill afford to do.
Being alone suits him perfectly. I came away respecting him more for how he lived his life. He’s been hugely successful, so God knows being a loner hasn’t disrupted or stunted his personal growth in any way.
If you’re happy being alone, don’t waste your time second-guessing yourself. Maybe it’s better that way, at least for a while. Live your life on your own terms, and don’t try to force yourself into lifestyles that don’t suit you.
Most importantly, don’t let anyone stigmatize you for how you choose to live your life. You’re free to be alone for as long as it makes you happy.
Founder and CEO, Boat Biscuit
Being by yourself helps you focus more intently on your own inner thoughts and feelings
Being alone can provide an opportunity for introspection and reflection that may not be possible when surrounded by others. This time can be used to process experiences and emotions and gain a better understanding of yourself.
The act of simply being by yourself can help you to focus more intently on your own inner thoughts and feelings. This can lead to greater self-awareness and clarity about personal values and goals.
I grew up in a boating family, so I’m very comfortable being alone at sea. I understand the value of alone time, and I use it to reflect on my life and what’s important to me.
Being alone at sea helps me appreciate nature’s beauty and the peace that comes with being away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s a wonderful way to reset and recharge.
People like being alone for many different reasons. Some people find it empowering to be independent and self-sufficient, while others find it peaceful and calming. Being alone can also help people to focus on tasks and avoid distractions.
Some simply enjoy their own company more than being around others and see it as a great opportunity to enjoy activities that they love without having to compromise with others.
Whatever the reason, there are many benefits to spending time alone, not least it can help you to understand yourself better and allow you to figure out what you want in life!
Founder, ParamountQuote Insurance Advisors
You have fewer things to worry about
The reason someone likes being alone is that there are just less things to worry about.
Having someone live with you or having a partner is not always easy. You can run into money problems taking care of an extra person; their problems become your problems etc. If you have a roommate, they can invite over potential people you dislike, which disrupts your peace.
Being alone can be a very peaceful thing knowing you do not have to worry about anyone but yourself. All your time belongs to you, so you can do whatever you want without worrying about someone else who lives with you. Being alone presents many of these advantages, which is why someone would like it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I communicate my need for solitude to others without hurting their feelings?
It’s important to express your need for alone time in a clear and empathetic manner. Here are a few tips for discussing this topic with others:
Be honest: Share your feelings openly and let others know how solitude benefits you personally.
Use “I” statements: Focus on your experiences and emotions rather than making generalizations or assumptions about others.
Offer reassurance: Make it clear that your desire for solitude does not reflect your feelings towards them but rather a way to recharge and maintain a healthy mental state.
Be open to compromise: Work together to find a balance that meets both your needs for solitude and their needs for connection.
Can I still maintain healthy relationships while enjoying solitude?
Absolutely! It’s essential to strike a balance between socializing and enjoying solitude. Communicating your needs to friends and family can help ensure that your relationships remain strong.
It’s also important to remember that everyone has different social needs, and being understanding of these differences can foster healthier connections.
Can too much solitude be harmful?
While solitude has its benefits, too much of it can lead to feelings of isolation or loneliness. It’s important to find a balance that suits your individual needs and to maintain connections with friends and family to promote overall well-being. If you’re struggling with finding this balance, consider seeking professional guidance or support from loved ones.
How do I know if I am spending too much time alone?
Here are some signs that you might be spending excessive time in solitude:
• Persistent feelings of loneliness or isolation
• Difficulty maintaining relationships or connecting with others
• Neglecting responsibilities or commitments
• A decline in overall well-being or mental health
If you recognize these signs in yourself, consider reaching out to friends, family, or a mental health professional for support and guidance. Remember, finding a balance between solitude and social interaction is crucial for overall well-being.
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