6 traits of people who genuinely enjoy being alone, according to psychology

Are you someone who gets excited at the thought of spending time alone? 

Maybe you live alone and your Friday night plans got canceled at the last minute so now you’ve got the evening to yourself. Or you live with your partner but they’re out of town for the weekend and you haven’t got much planned. How exciting, right? 

There are plenty of people out there who genuinely enjoy being alone and there’s nothing wrong with that. But let’s be honest, they get a bad rap. There’s a stereotype that people who enjoy solitude are ‘loners’ or weirdos. 

The thing is: these stereotypes are based on nothing and are more than a little unfair. As someone who enjoys spending time alone, I’m here to set the record straight. 

Today I’m sharing 6 traits of people who genuinely enjoy being alone, according to psychology so that we can put these stereotypes to bed once and for all. 

Let’s get started.

1) They’re self-reliant & independent

Are you a self-reliant and independent person who also happens to enjoy being alone? 

You’re one of those people who’s not afraid to carve your own path. Maybe you’re naturally independent, something you’ve had since you were a kid. Or perhaps you found your independence through experiences later in life.

Regardless of how it came to be, it’s no coincidence that you possess these traits and also enjoy being alone

Turns out: being self-reliant and independent are typical traits of people who enjoy solitude. According to a recent study that aimed to uncover traits of people who find alone time peaceful and enjoyable, self-reliance, independence, and even confidence were common traits.

Bill Gates is a prime example. He seems to be a confident, independent, and self-reliant man, right? He’s also well known for having a quiet nature and he’s famous for his ‘think weeks’ where he spends a week totally alone to read and focus on strategic thinking. 

People who enjoy being alone are usually also self-reliant and independent. 

2) They don’t find socializing rewarding

It’s probably no surprise that people who genuinely enjoy alone time don’t find socializing rewarding, right? 

Some people thrive on social interaction, but not those who enjoy being alone. They just don’t value it as much. 

That’s not to say they hate people and never want to be around them. It just means that they don’t get as much from it and therefore are more drawn to being alone. 

Interestingly, Bella DePaulo Ph.D. explains that in one study “People who like spending time alone were not any more or less extroverted than those who do not, but they did score as less sociable”. 

If you don’t get much reward from being in the company of others, there’s a good chance you genuinely enjoy being alone

3) They’re emotionally intelligent

People who love alone time, tend to be emotionally intelligent, which is all about being able to recognize, understand and positively manage emotions. 

One study found that people who enjoy being alone are prone to engage in introspection which simply means they like having time to reflect on their feelings and experiences.

They use alone time to process emotions, allowing them to become more self-aware and better able to self-regulate in moments of high stress which helps to foster emotional intelligence.

In her book ‘Becoming’, Michelle Obama talks openly about her life journey and her career. Through these stories, she reveals how important self-reflection and solitude were for her in becoming who she is today. She demonstrates emotional intelligence and an appreciation for solitude. 

If you genuinely enjoy alone time, you’re probably also emotionally intelligent, as they often go hand in hand. 

4) They’re open-minded 

What does being open-minded mean to you? 

My friend Kevin springs to mind. He’s the kind of guy who isn’t closed off to any experience. He’s completely non-judgmental and very curious. He’ll try anything once, he’ll befriend anyone and he’s always up for learning more and developing his views. 

Does this resonate with you?

If so, it makes sense that you enjoy alone time too because being open-minded is another typical trait of solitude seekers. 

As outlined by Psychology Today, ”People who like spending time alone, are also more likely than others to be open-minded”.

People who embrace solitude have no desire to follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing. Instead, they are open, curious, and very imaginative people. 

5) They’re less likely to feel anxiety and self-doubt

One of the stereotypes associated with people who embrace being alone is that they’re shy, anxious, and have a lot of self-doubt. In reality, the opposite is true. 

Negative emotions like anxiety, self-doubt, and depression are all signs of a personality trait called neuroticism

And get this: research suggests that one of the common characteristics of people who love alone time is that they’re “especially unlikely to be neurotic” as noted by psychologist Bella DePaulo PhD.

To understand neuroticism a little more, think about comedians like Amy Schumer and Kevin Hart. They lean into their neurotic side for the benefit of their shows, regularly using self-deprecating humor to make the audience laugh. 

When a comedian uses it, it’s funny but feeling self-doubt and anxiety is anything but fun.  

But don’t worry: if you genuinely enjoy being alone, you’re not very unlikely to be neurotic. 

6) They’re highly productive

Do you think you’d be more productive in an enclosed private office where you’re alone and distraction-free or in an open-plan office surrounded by colleagues? 

A recent study found that people working alone in private enclosed offices were happier and more productive than those who were constantly interrupted by noise and chatter in more social offices. 

The only problem is, a lot of people crave community and social interaction at work, so they don’t want to spend all day working alone, no matter how productive it is. 

This is where people who enjoy being alone are different. They don’t crave much social interaction. They’re actually happy to work alone all day. And they’re also highly productive because they’ve got no distractions to pull them out of their work. 

It’s not surprising that people who genuinely enjoy being alone also tend to be highly productive. 

Final thoughts

How many of these traits do you recognize in yourself?

I know from experience it can sometimes be tough being someone who loves alone time. Most people don’t get it so you end up trying to explain it and they just think you’re crazy. 

But the most important thing is to remember despite the stereotypes out there, It’s a wonderful way to be. Embrace it and enjoy it. 

Cat Harper

Cat is an experienced Sales and Enablement professional turned writer whose passions span from psychology and relationships to continuous self-improvement, lifelong learning and pushing back on societal expectations to forge a life she loves. An avid traveler and adventure sports enthusiast, in her downtime you'll find Cat snowboarding, motorcycling or working on her latest self-development project.

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