Have you mastered the art of being alone in life?
You may have a great social life but, at the same time, live alone or spend loads of time all on your own.
And you’re happy about that. You don’t find it to be a negative experience or something that makes you worry.
A surprising number of people find that they’re really cut out for alone time and even yearn for it when they find themselves surrounded by others.
Some people have just settled into this kind of life with ease.
If you think you’re one of them, I’ve got eight signs you’ve mastered the art of being alone in life to help you see just how well-adapted you are.
Solitude vs. Isolation
Before we get to that list, I just wanted to clarify what I mean by “the art of being alone.”
I’m referring here to solitude, which we can define as being alone by choice or design. Solitude has a pleasant and positive connotation that speaks to peace and relaxation.
Isolation, on the other hand, is a very different kind of being alone that isn’t intentional but happens due to circumstances out of a person’s control.
Isolation is generally regarded as negative because it’s often imposed on others or induced through things like economic status and mental or physical health conditions.
It can lead to depression and feelings of hopelessness. So if you find yourself in this sort of situation, you should look for help.
8 signs you’ve mastered the art of being alone in life
1) You can eat at a restaurant by yourself.
Of all the tests out there, this one has to be the best.
I can’t count all the times I’ve heard someone say, “I’d never go out to eat alone.”
Why is this such a frightening situation for so many people?
I think this comes down to empathy. Restaurants are social spaces where people go to eat but also socialize.
For most people, sitting alone in such an environment is so public and awkward. When they see other people doing it, they project their own feelings onto them and expect them to feel sad and lonely.
But this isn’t the case for everyone.
Many people are perfectly comfortable going to a restaurant by themselves, ordering, and eating without company. What’s more, they might not even need a crutch like a phone or a book to help them relieve any embarrassment.
They don’t feel embarrassed or awkward because they’re perfectly fine being alone.
2) You’re comfortable going to watch a movie in the theater alone.
You might think that watching a movie is actually a very anti-social activity since this form of hot media demands all of your attention and leaves no space for socializing.
But this isn’t the way the experience is normally seen by most people. Instead, going to a movie is often thought of as a shared experience.
You share excitement before the feature film. You share a bucket of popcorn. You make comments and jokes throughout the movie, and you definitively debrief at the end, right?
In actuality, that’s just one way of experiencing a movie in the theater.
The other way is to give it your full attention and allow yourself to truly be immersed in the narrative you’re led through.
Some people are much happier with this type of experience and don’t feel at all like they need someone else to go with them.
In fact, they might find watching a movie with someone else really distracting.
3) You’re a great solo traveler.
I was in Spain last year for a holiday with my partner.
At one point, I left her at a little tapas bar while I hunted down a specific souvenir the city we were in was famous for.
When I returned, I saw that she was chatting with a woman of about 60 who looked very friendly. We had to go catch a train so we took our leave of her.
But as we were walking back to our hotel, my partner explained that she was really in awe of this woman. It turns out that she’d retired two years before and had set out traveling immediately.
She’d been to 17 countries and enjoyed each one more than the last. But on her whole trip, she traveled alone.
When my partner asked her why, she’d answered, “My dear, when you get to my age, you will, too, and you’ll love it!”
This woman was clearly totally comfortable with being on her own and, in fact, relished the experience. At the same time, she was obviously friendly and spent time with others.
She wasn’t a hermit!
But she was having a great time as a solo traveler making her own way around the whole world.
4) You like to sleep alone.
I remember once, at the age of about 11 or 12, going to a friend’s house and making a startling discovery.
Her mom and dad each had their own bedrooms!
I really found this fascinating since it was unlike my own experience or anything I’d seen before.
When I got older, I found out just how common this actually was.
Sure, it’s not for everyone. Lots of couples love sleeping together. Many others do it out of habit or expectations.
But some people really like to sleep alone.
Sure, they may have partners who snore like chainsaws, but that’s not usually the reason.
Some people really enjoy solitude and find it hard to get to sleep when there’s someone else in the room. They might also have their own pre-sleeping routines or activities that really don’t mesh well with others.
They’re just happier sleeping alone.
5) You love being on your own in nature.
I’ve got a friend named Raj whom I used to do a lot of outdoor adventuring with.
You know, hiking, paddling, rock climbing, that sort of thing.
But it’s been a while, and not just because we live far apart.
One day, Raj told me all about a trip he planned to hike into a remote mountain area and scale a difficult peak.
I thought he was inviting me, but he quickly made it clear that this was a solo trip.
He said he needed to get his head straight and decompress, and this was the best way to do it.
While it sounded a bit dangerous to go it alone, I wished him well. He went out on this adventure, braved bad weather and bears <gulp!>, and made his summit.
After that, he started to do all of his trips solo.
I guess some people are just wired that way.
6) You can easily ignore your phone.
These days, any buzz, beep, or (shock of shocks) ring from a phone perks our ears up immediately.
But that’s only for those of us who are looking to socialize constantly. If you pursue a social life through your phone, you’re guaranteed to get it. In fact, you’ll likely find that you’re soon completely consumed by all of your phone’s demands.
Pick me up! Look at this! Answer me!
Unless you’re very happy being alone.
If you are, you may find that you can turn your phone off or simply ignore it for long periods. You might even find that you forget where you put it until you suddenly need it for something important.
It’s incredible, but people who’ve mastered the art of being alone are somehow able to stay masters of their own lives.
7) You’d rather be alone than with people who bore you.
Oregon rock band Modest Mouse has a lyric that really encapsulates how some people feel in social situations:
“I’m lonesome when you’re around / I’m never lonesome when I’m by myself”
Yes, it’s true for some people that they really prefer their own company to that of many others.
Have you ever been in a conversation and felt bored, thinking, “I’d rather be by myself right now!”
If so, you may have already mastered the art of being alone.
8) You don’t feel lonely on your own.
Maybe the most crucial sign that you’ve mastered the art of being alone is that you don’t feel alone when you’re by yourself.
Instead, you find yourself to be great company and more than enough to stay entertained and stimulated. And you certainly don’t feel sad and lonely like most people would think.
Do you recognize these eight big signs you’ve mastered the art of being alone in life?
If you do, you’re probably comfortable and even happy to spend a great deal of time by yourself. Not only does it feel right, it’s an integral part of who you are!