Do you want to be alone most of the time?
Do you prefer solitude to social interaction?
You’re certainly not the only one. And it’s totally okay to feel this way.
But have you ever wondered why you enjoy your alone time so much?
Here are some potential reasons.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist if your desire to be alone is affecting your life, your relationships, and your mental health. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
1. You’re an introvert.
You might have heard the term ‘introvert’ before, or you might already identify as one, but it is almost certain that you are a highly introverted individual.
The crux of the matter is, you find social interaction far less rewarding than an extrovert might.
This is because your brain is very sensitive to the neurotransmitter dopamine, which leads to overstimulation with prolonged social exposure.
At the same time, you find your alone time to be very rewarding.
That is because your brain reacts positively to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which provides a calming type of happiness.
There’s far more to it than this, of course, and we’d highly recommend that you read our full article on the subject: What It Really Means To Be An Introvert
2. You’re a low energy person.
Some people seem to have an endless supply of energy.
Others, like yourself, have more limited supplies.
This is not quite the same as being an introvert versus being an extrovert, but there may be a link.
You aren’t an overly active individual and your favorite place in the world is the nice comfy chair or couch you sit on.
This doesn’t have to mean you are unfit or unhealthy – you can still do regular exercise, but you then have to ensure you have time to rest and recuperate.
Whereas some people seem to feel more energized by activity, your mantra after anything physically strenuous is: “And relax….”
Hence why you end up spending – and enjoying – plenty of time alone.
3. You get to do the things you want to do.
Many social situations require an element of compromise.
With two or more people, you aren’t always going to be able to go to your favorite restaurant or see the movie you want to see.
And as much as you can compromise when necessary, you simply prefer not to when given the choice.
Being alone means you can choose precisely what you want to do at any given moment.
And that’s the way you like it.
4. You prefer peace and quiet.
Partly due to your introverted nature, you are quite happy to be in silence.
But silence is a rare thing these days. As soon as you add another person to the mix, the peace you enjoy is shattered.
The other person doesn’t even have to talk to you for their presence to affect you.
The very fact that they are in close proximity means you don’t feel able to completely relax or immerse yourself in an activity.
Only when you are completely alone can you get the peace you long for.
5. You’re a deep thinker.
The peace and quiet you often seek allows you to sit and really think about things.
And this is something you actually enjoy doing.
Whilst many people don’t like to be alone with their thoughts, you find a little introspection quite relaxing.
Likewise, you get a bit of a buzz from trying to find answers to those deep and meaningful questions about life and the universe.
You are a philosophical thinker, and like all the great philosophers of the past, you need your alone time to do your best thinking.
You certainly can’t do it around others.
6. You do your best work alone.
As with deep thinking, you need your time alone to concentrate on your work.
You are far more productive when holed up in your home office (or alone in whatever your place of work is) than you are when other people are close by.
You find it difficult to zone out from all the distractions around you – the people talking, the questions others ask you, the sounds of people working, the general hubbub that is created when a number of people are together in one space.
You prefer to be alone. You can concentrate on what you are doing and reach that flow state where you do your best work.
7. You don’t do drama.
In your mind, too many people spend too much of their time engaged in unnecessary drama.
They argue and gossip about who did what, who insulted who, why so-and-so is a bad person, and how they are the righteous party.
This sort of thing just doesn’t interest you… at all.
Other than perhaps at school, you don’t do drama.
It’s just a waste of energy.
So, to avoid drama, you tend to avoid people – at least, most people.
8. You dislike superficial interactions with people.
There’s something very unsatisfying to you about those surface-level interactions other people seem to enjoy.
Small talk, conversations about random things of seemingly little consequence, even the gossip and petty arguments described above.
You just feel that your time is better spent on other things.
Not to mention how awkward it can feel to have to pretend to be interested.
When conversations enter the realms of deeper and more thought-provoking topics, you can certainly enjoy the company of others, but this, you find, is a fairly rare occurrence.
9. You are very emotionally independent.
You don’t feel the need to be around people all the time.
You are your own source of happiness.
You don’t experience the wild rollercoaster of emotions that many others do. It’s more of a gentle up and down for you.
You are quite capable of working through your own problems and getting out of a less than positive mood. You don’t need someone else’s help.
You love yourself and that is enough for you much of the time.
10. You feel burdened by the emotional baggage of others.
Despite being so emotionally independent, you actually find the negative emotional expressions of other people to be quite challenging.
It feels like a weight has been placed upon your shoulders to try to help them feel better.
This is especially the case if you are an empath. Then, the emotions of others are easily absorbed and difficult to block, and so spending time alone can be the easiest way to preserve your emotional balance.
11. You feel quite content with your life.
You simply don’t feel the need to spend all your time doing things and seeing people.
You are quite happy doing what you do by yourself.
You certainly don’t suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) because you can’t imagine enjoying other things as much as you enjoy being by yourself.
This makes it easy for you to say no to things that others invite you to.
12. You simply don’t like a lot of people.
You spend a lot of time alone because, for you at least, most other people don’t seem like they are worth knowing.
There are many reasons why you might not like most people, but some of the common ones are:
– a bad experience from your past.
– you think people are shallow, self-absorbed, and selfish.
– you can’t look past their flaws.
– you see people making bad choices all the time and it frustrates you.
13. You feel more at ease in your own company.
This is where things move slightly toward social anxiety rather than just enjoying your time alone.
Being ‘at ease’ literally means that it is easier to be alone than it is to have social interactions.
Because there is no pressure on you to act a certain way, conform to social etiquette, or wear a mask.
And because you don’t have to worry about what other people think of you and whether they are enjoying themselves.
When you do have to interact with others, you get sweaty palms, your heart beats a little faster, and you feel tense.
These are common physical signs of anxiety.
If this is something you experience, it might be a sign that there is an underlying issue that you would benefit from addressing.
14. You dislike getting too close to people.
Another side to social anxiety is the fear of becoming too emotionally close to another person and the risk that poses.
After all, it is only when you feel a lot for someone that they can really hurt you with their actions.
Contrary to a previous point, if you have social anxiety, you may actually prefer to keep conversations superficial because this allows you to keep your guard up and prevent a true emotional connection from forming.
It is worth repeating that this sort of feeling is something that you might like to work through, probably with the help of a counselor.
Do you worry that your wish to be alone borders on the unhealthy?
Speak to a therapist about it.
Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours.
They can help you to explore why you like to be alone, whether or not it is healthy, and what to do if it’s not.
BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address.
And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Online therapy is actually a good option for many people. It’s more convenient than in-person therapy and is more affordable in a lot of cases.
And you get access to the same level of qualified and experienced professional.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it normal to like being alone?
Whether or not it’s normal to like being alone really depends on the reason behind why you choose to be alone.
Are you alone because you enjoy your own company, need time to decompress, or recharge? Or are you choosing to be alone because you feel inadequate or self-conscious around others? Are you afraid of social settings?
If you choose to be alone because you’re an introvert and need alone time to refuel, or perhaps you enjoy being in your own company, then it is perfectly normal to enjoy that ‘me time.’ The brains of introverted people are sensitive to the neurotransmitter dopamine. This causes them to feel overstimulated when they’re in social situations for a long time. Being in social situations quite literally saps them of energy. For them to recharge, they need to spend time by themselves.
Perhaps you are one of those people who doesn’t identify as an introvert, but you’ve discovered the joys of spending time alone. Maybe you’ve realized that you concentrate better and reach a flow state – where you do some of your best work – when you’re alone.
Or as you’ve grown older, you’ve learned that people bring drama. The more people you surround yourself with, the more likely drama will ensue. Because you hate drama and try to avoid it at all costs, you find yourself spending more time alone.
In these two scenarios, it is perfectly normal to enjoy spending time alone. Some might even argue that what’s not “normal” is disliking spending time by yourself. Solitude allows us to reflect on our day and even helps us regulate our emotions. If you have no time for retrospection, you can miss out on the many lessons life brings your way throughout the day.
However, if you choose to be alone because you are self-conscious or uncomfortable around other people, then that is not “normal.” It might be a sign that you suffer from social anxiety.
Is it ok to have no friends?
According to a survey conducted by YouGov in 2019, it’s pretty common to have no friends. In that survey, 16% said they hade no acquaintances, 15% hade no friends, and 21% hade no close friends. It’s not surprising that respondents also felt always (7%), often (14%), or sometimes (32%) lonely.
As much as we may like our personal space, most of us crave connection with other people. Human beings were never designed to be solitary creatures. We function best in groups, whether tight-knit groups like nuclear families or large groups joined by culture. But as we age, one of the unfortunate lessons of life that we learn is that it becomes increasingly difficult to make new friends. It becomes harder to make connections with other people as we rush through our daily grinds.
As we get enmeshed in building our careers, starting our families, and the general challenges of life, it gets more difficult to find the time to maintain old friendships and develop new ones. Suddenly, we wake up one day, a friendless, middle-aged adult who is struggling with loneliness.
While it’s common to not have any friends, it’s not an ideal situation, as you’ve probably already realized. As an adult, you must put in concentrated effort to find and connect with your tribe. You have to make time to do things you enjoy, as this will put you in a great place to find people who share your interests.
There’s also a need for you to reach out to your friends regularly because they’re most likely as busy as you are. If neither party keeps in touch, the relationship will eventually die.
You must take deliberate steps to make friends as an adult, much like when you’re dating and looking for a life partner. Relationships need attention in order to be sustained and grow.
What is Isolophilia?
Isolophilia simply means a strong affection for solitude. The word is a combination of two terms: isolo (isolation or solitude) and philia (love or inclination).
Isolophilia is not a disorder or a phobia. In fact, it doesn’t have a positive or negative connotation. Isolophilia just specifies a preference, or inclination, for solitude.
The following are signs you may have isolophilia:
- You don’t enjoy crowded, overly stimulating environments
- You don’t enjoy hanging out in large groups of people
- The average person doesn’t spend as much time alone as you do.
- You retreat to quiet environments where you can be alone to rest and/or gather your thoughts
- You hate small talk but enjoy conversations that revolve around deep subjects
- Though you are alone, you don’t necessarily feel lonely
- In solitude, you find that you’re better able to adjust to change
- You prefer to be on your own
- You routinely like to go out by yourself to grab a coffee or eat or watch a movie
- You feel much more comfortable when you’re by yourself
Though people who have isolophilia tend to be introverted, a person may be predominantly extroverted but still have isolophilia because they love spending time alone.
Is solitude addictive?
With the way our society pushes people to mingle and interact with others, you might wonder if your love for solitude or your own company is normal or if you are addicted to being alone.
Friday night has come around again and everyone in the office is going to the local bar for some drinks. Everyone seems excited to start the weekend off with drinking and socializing. It’s been a stressful week, after all. They want to blow off some steam by hitting the dance floor.
But you can’t think of a worse way to spend the evening. You just want to go home and veg out in front of the television or read a good book in front of the fireplace or get lost in the virtual world of video games. Your brain has been suffering through overstimulation all week and you’re operating on fumes. All you need right now is some quiet time to refuel.
People who don’t understand the nature of introverts may wrongly interpret your need for solitude. They can make it seem unnatural as if you hate people. Some will even try to convince you that you’re just shy. But deep down, you know you’re not shy. Certainly, you don’t hate people. Social interactions just need to be closely regulated for you to find them pleasant.
The more people force you to socialize, the more you withdraw to spend time alone, recovering from the overstimulation. So, because you’re going out more, you’re also spending more time recharging. You may not be addicted to solitude, you’re just using it more frequently to refuel and recharge because you’re being socially overstimulated on a more frequent basis.
While there is a strong correlation between isolation, loneliness, and addiction, that refers to people who are suffering from addictions to substances, such as drugs and alcohol. They turn to drugs or alcohol because they feel lonely and they need something to help them connect with other people. Or their addiction causes them to isolate themselves.
But as introverts know, being alone does not mean you feel lonely. If you’ve ever experienced loneliness before, you know you can be in the middle of a bunch of people and still feel that way. Enjoying your own company is not a good or bad trait. It’s just different from what is deemed normal or acceptable by society.
Before you convince yourself that you’re addicted to solitude, check to see if you’ve been spending a lot of time in social situations. Are you surrounded by people who don’t understand the allure of solitude and make you feel guilty for enjoying it?
What happens when you are alone for too long?
Human beings are social creatures and long periods of isolation can have negative effects on our minds and bodies. Like most animals, we don’t do well by ourselves, especially for a long time.
People who are socially isolated can find it difficult to handle stressful situations. They tend to become depressed more easily and can even experience problems with processing information. This can lead them to have difficulties with decision-making and memory storage and recall.
People who are in physically isolating environments, such as solitary confinement, can experience significant increases in anxiety and panic attacks, increased levels of paranoia, and decreased ability to think clearly.
It’s true that psychologists suggest engaging in solitude allows us to order our own emotions, adjust ourselves to changes, and be more creative. But too much of a good thing, as they say, is also bad. Research shows that when our need for social relationships is not met, solitude can quickly change into loneliness. According to Psychologist John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago, spending too much time alone increases the risk of suicide for young and old people.
We must maintain a balance that allows us to enjoy the benefits of solitude (time to rest, physically and emotionally) while enjoying the joys of connecting with people in a meaningful way.
It is a good idea to seek professional help from one of the therapists at BetterHelp.com as professional therapy can be highly effective in helping you to address anything that might be causing you to withdraw from people and the world in general.
You may also like:
- If You’re A Loner, You’ll Understand These 9 Advantages To Being One
- 24 Important Things You Learn When You Spend Time Alone
- 10 Reasons Why You’re Scared To Be In A Relationship
- Fear Of Intimacy: Causes, Signs, And How To Overcome It
- The 9 Hidden Powers Of Introverts