As a child, it was obvious to my parents that I was free-spirited (much to their dismay). As a teenager, it became obvious to me that there were certain things I did and felt that were different from everyone else.
But it wasn’t until I was an adult that I could put a name to it.
Perhaps you feel the same way, that familiar feeling of restlessness, of wanting to explore the world, live life to the fullest, and break out of the box.
Some people, like me, are born that way. Others develop these traits as they grow up. But either way, being free-spirited is incredibly fun, and at times, incredibly frustrating.
So, read on to find out if you suspect you too are a free-spirited individual – here are 10 traits of people who can’t be boxed in:
1) They value independence
Free-spirited people value autonomy more than anything else because being dependent on others often feels restraining.
It’s not that we’re arrogant, but we like to navigate life on our own terms.
I remember being desperate to travel, so much so that as soon as I was old enough to get a part-time job, I did so. That bought me my first solo travel ticket to visit a friend in Egypt.
It also allowed me to use my own money on whatever I wanted, instead of asking someone else for permission. This was an incredibly liberating moment.
Does this sound like you?
If you are fiercely independent and prefer to carve your own path in life rather than follow the crowd, there’s a good chance you’re a free spirit too!
2) They are nonconformists
Being a non-conformist, in my mind, signifies you can think for yourself.
You don’t blindly do what you’re told.
And it’s not that free-spirited people are criminals who disrespect others, but more that we think about societal norms and reject the ones that don’t align with our values.
For example, I always found it odd that schools banned any form of self-expression. That’s probably why at 14, I made a stand…and won my case.
At the time I wasn’t afraid, I was angry that as young people we weren’t able to express ourselves.
Ultimately, some societal norms are there to ensure safety and order, but others make very little sense when you really think about them.
And if you’ve felt the same, there’s a good chance you’re a free-spirited soul who isn’t afraid to swim against the tide.
3) They are open-minded
Do you give new ideas a chance? Are you interested in learning about different things, even if they make you uncomfortable or nervous?
This is another common trait of people who can’t be boxed in.
I tend to find that free-spirited people have a broader worldview – they aren’t afraid to delve into the unknown and explore different cultures or ways of living.
I’ve often found myself being the odd one out when in a group of people who all say, “That’s strange, I’d never try that”…I’ll usually be the one saying, “Where can I sign up?”.
You see, being open-minded is an incredible trait to have. You meet people, try new things, and explore different ideas, without fear holding you back.
In other words, you get to really enjoy everything life has to offer!
4) They are passionate
Free-spirited people are passionate – there are no two ways about it.
Whether it’s about their hobbies or relationships, they pour 100% of themselves into the things they love.
If you’re a free spirit, you’ll probably relate to this point.
You aren’t afraid to show your excitement. Or your love. You feel an immense appreciation for the good things in your life.
And you tend to avoid giving too much importance to the negatives – you don’t deny them, but you prefer to give your attention to the things that bring you fulfillment and joy.
If that’s not the definition of a free-spirited soul, I don’t know what is!
5) They are adventurous
All this passion for life has to go somewhere, and that’s why people who can’t be boxed in tend to love adventures.
Even if they can’t afford expensive trips to the other side of the world, they find fun in the smallest of things. A road trip at 2 am to the coast. Building a treehouse in the backyard.
Even going to the store can be an adventure when done with the right people!
As a free-spirited person, you’ve probably found yourself daydreaming of being spontaneous and throwing yourself into new, exciting experiences.
I know, I’ve been there. My family thought that my trip to 10 countries in 6 months would wear me out, but a few weeks after returning home…I was off again!
Put simply, we have an insatiable thirst for exploration, and the world is our playground!
6) They appreciate simplicity
I’ve often said, “Give me a sunset and a view, and I’ll be perfectly content.”…This is something I’ve seen time and time again in my free-spirited friends, too.
They don’t need extravagance or luxury to enjoy life.
In fact, most out-of-the-box people tend to lean more toward minimalism.
Perhaps there are signs of this in your lifestyle too – think about the things you enjoy doing.
Do you tend to go for options like a hike, swimming in the ocean, or meeting friends in the park rather than spending tons of money on fancy experiences?
Don’t get me wrong, just because we’re free-spirited doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the finer things in life once in a while.
But in general, we tend to prioritize activities that feed our souls.
7) They are flexible
Free-spirited people are usually flexible…I mean, the clue is in the name, right?
Free from restrictions. Free from constraints and norms. Free from judgment.
This is another common trait amongst people who can’t be boxed in – they adapt themselves to whichever environment they’re in.
For example, I remember going for dinner once with friends on holiday. The restaurant didn’t have the “safe” food they’d normally go for (chips and burgers).
Half of the group proposed to leave and find somewhere else, while the more free-spirited amongst us decided to stay and test out the local cuisine – we’d traveled to do just that, after all.
So, if you’re also adaptable and flexible in different situations, my bet is that you’re free-spirited too!
8) They are led by intuition
Do you listen to your gut before making decisions?
Do you reject other people’s advice and warnings if it doesn’t feel right to you?
Free-spirited people march to the beat of their own drums.
They don’t let the opinions of others sway them, especially when they’re got an idea in mind!
I remember being told that it wasn’t safe for me to go to Barcelona by myself when I was young. I had read up on the risks, which are the same anywhere, and decided to go with my intuition…
It ended up being a brilliant trip. Yes, I still took precautions, but I didn’t let the naysayers stop me from a transformative experience.
9) They are optimistic realists
I touched upon this earlier, but it’s worth exploring in a bit more depth…
Free-spirited people aren’t unaware of the trials and tribulations of life. We go through them too.
But we choose to focus on what we can control, and of course, the good things in life.
So, while we try to stay positive, we are realistic too.
We have big dreams and enjoy making the most out of life, but we know we have to balance that with work, family, and other responsibilities.
Do you consider yourself an optimistic realist?
Do you go for the things you want in life, fully aware that there’ll be challenges to tackle?
If you aren’t put off by hardship because you know the struggle will lead to great things, you, my friend, sound like a free-spirited person.
10) They are authentic
And finally, free-spirited people are always themselves.
They don’t have the time nor the desire to put on a fake mask and pretend to be something they’re not.
Some try, perhaps to fit in temporarily, but struggle to maintain this. I know I did the same when at school, I tried to suppress my style, and ideas and do everything possible just to “blend”.
It didn’t last long and caused me great unhappiness and conflict during it.
If being authentic is a priority for you and you accept yourself for who you are, it sounds like you’re someone who can’t be boxed in either.
So, now we’ve covered the 10 traits that signify you’re a free spirit…if you’ve always wondered why you’re slightly “different” from everyone else, this should confirm it!
You allow your soul to live freely, enjoying the beautiful world we live in. You live life in a way that aligns with what makes you happy, and you do so unapologetically…Good for you!
Go forth and be free.