We live in a connected world.
And in a society that in many ways judges us by how many people we know, how big our circle of influence is, how many likes and followers we can rack up, people who prefer being by themselves can often seem out of place.
But it would be a dull world if we were all the same. And people who enjoy being alone have plenty to share with the rest of us.
They also have some unusual personality traits. Check out these quirky signs of someone who is happiest in their own company.
1) They don’t like small talk
Small talk’s a funny thing. Most people claim to dislike it. So why is it so popular?
Talking about the weather or the local sports team may seem like a huge snooze. But often, the purpose of small talk is not so much what is said.
Instead, the goal of small talk is to let other people know that you are unthreatening and approachable.
But for people who prefer to be alone, small talk can be excruciating.
It’s not that they don’t like talking to people. It’s just that usually, they would prefer to say something meaningful rather than just saying something to fill the silence.
And in many cases, these people would rather say nothing at all then engage in the kind of small talk that doesn’t need to be said.
2) They get energy from being alone
Let’s talk about introversion.
The idea of introverts and extroverts goes back to the work of pioneering psychologist Carl Jung, and because the concept has been around for a century or so, it has become part of popular culture.
That means it is often used by people who don’t fully understand what it means.
Being an introvert does not mean being shy. It doesn’t mean you don’t like other people. It doesn’t mean you can’t be social, charming, and engaging.
Fundamentally, what it means is that you recharge your batteries by spending time alone, while extroverts get their energy from being around other people.
As psychologist Kendra Cherry puts it, “Introverts tend to be more quiet, reserved, and introspective. Extroverts gain energy from social interaction, while introverts expend energy in social situations.”
Introverts like their alone time because it allows them to recharge. It’s as simple as that.
3) They don’t care what other people think
Humans are social animals, and none of us are immune to social pressure.
But people who are happy spending time alone are much less influenced by what other people think.
That’s because spending lots of time alone allows people to free themselves from the influence of others. When you spend a lot of time with your own thoughts, you become less interested in the thoughts of others.
I’ve certainly found this in my own life. I’m what you might call a classic introvert, and most people who know me would agree that I don’t spend much time wondering what other people think about me.
Not because I don’t care about other people. Because spending time by myself has taught me that the opinion that matters most about my life is my own.
4) They don’t gossip
Like small talk, gossip is an important part of human social interaction. And like small talk, gossip can often irritate people who like to spend time by themselves.
I’m not saying that introverts are in some way morally superior to extroverts, and would never gossip because they are simply better people.
It’s more that introverts don’t care that much about what other people do with their lives.
They certainly aren’t interested in talking about others behind their backs.
5) They are emotionally independent
Spending time alone can do all kinds of great things for you. And one of the most important is that it builds emotional independence.
“Emotional independence is the ability to manage your life and your stress levels, even under difficult circumstances,” writes psychotherapist Ilene Strauss Cohen. “This kind of independence is accomplished by building who you are from the inside out, not the outside in.”
That’s something you do by yourself, and one of the gifts solitude offers.
Being emotionally independent means that you don’t get drawn into the drama of other people. It means you can maintain your own serenity even when others can’t.
And it means you don’t rely on anybody else to make you feel good.
6) They struggle with other people’s emotions
One of the downsides of being a solitary person is a difficulty in dealing with the emotions of other people. Often, this comes from a high level of empathy.
Being around other people in heightened emotional states can sometimes start to impact your own emotions, causing you to soak up the emotions of other people.
This can make dealing with other people’s emotions exhausting.
Sometimes, that may be why a person prefers to spend time alone. Often, life is easier and less stressful when they don’t have to deal with the emotional lives of other people.
7) They are more intelligent
I’m not trying to claim that introverts are smarter than other people.
However, there is some interesting research on the effect intelligence has on a person’s desire for social interaction with others.
The savanna theory of happiness, developed by researcher Satoshi Kanazawa and others, takes as its starting point the idea that the things that would have made our ancestors happy living on the savannas of Africa still have the power to make us happy today.
But where the theory gets even more interesting is in the finding that this effect was less pronounced the more intelligent a person is.
For most people, spending more time socializing with friends is an important component of happiness. But “more intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends.”
In other words, smarter people prefer spending more time alone.
8) They prefer fewer, more meaningful relationships
As I mentioned earlier, being an introvert doesn’t mean you don’t like people or that you don’t want any human relationships at all. It just means that you tend to be more selective in the relationships that you form.
In fact, people who are genuinely happy being alone tend to choose their friends very carefully, and often enjoy much deeper relationships with fewer people, rather than having a broader network of more shallow acquaintances.
After all, if you like to spend a lot of time alone, it’s not easy to maintain a lot of friendships. Better to focus on a few and make them more meaningful.
9) They make up their own mind
People who enjoy time alone aren’t just emotionally independent. They often tend to be very independent thinkers, too.
Most of us don’t realize just how big an influence on our thoughts the people around us are.
You don’t have to be a big conformist to take on, at least in part, the views of your family, friends, and other people in your social group.
But people who spend lots of time alone are immune to this pressure. Instead of getting their views from others, they tend to weigh up the facts and come to their own conclusions.
Often, this means they have unusual views that go against those of everyone around them.
You can guarantee that they will have given those views lots of thought and will have good arguments to back them up.
10) They are loyal
Because they tend to cultivate fewer, deeper friendships, people who are more comfortable being alone are often fiercely loyal.
Instead of having lots of friends that they don’t know all that well, they will usually have only a few friends that they are intimately close with.
That means they will often stick by those friends through thick and thin.
11) They know themselves really well
Finally, people who spend lots of time alone get to know themselves really well.
It’s hardly surprising. After all, when you spend a lot of time by yourself, you get to know your own thought processes and emotional patterns exceptionally well.
This can show itself in a number of different ways.
For example, people who know themselves well are aware of their own destructive patterns, and can often stop themselves from going down a bad road because they know their own weaknesses.
It also means they have a good grasp of their own strengths. Often, this makes people who are comfortable being alone come across as extremely confident.
The solitary type
As you can see from this list, there are many advantages to being someone who genuinely enjoys spending time by themselves.
Whether it’s getting to know yourself better or learning emotional independence, spending time by yourself has all kinds of gifts to offer.
So embrace these unusual personality traits that come from spending lots of time alone. They’re part of what gives us introverts our superpowers.
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