Why You Like Being Alone: Research, Benefits & Why It’s Normal
There are significant and science-based reasons why some people enjoy spending time alone — and it’s perfectly normal if you do.
- According to research, up to 75% of the world’s population are introverts who prefer to spend time alone.
- People who spend time alone for positive reasons experience healthy psychological effects and a higher sense of well-being.
- A person’s solitude is a choice 86% of the time and can be embraced without cause for concerns of loneliness, depression, and/or anxiety.
It’s just me, myself, and I — and that’s okay.
As an only child, many of my friends have asked if it was lonely for me growing up since they all had siblings and couldn’t relate to my experience.
Why Do I Like Being Alone?
The truth is that there are many reasons why a person might prefer spending time alone — and they are all valid to that individual.
It’s important to understand that being alone does not necessarily equate to loneliness!
Loneliness is defined as the discrepancy between the amount of social connection one desires and how much social connection the person perceives they actually have.
If you find that you don’t desire socialization with others when you’re by yourself, you’re likely quite content being alone — and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
One study found that highly-intelligent people experience a lower degree of life satisfaction when they spend too much time socializing with others.
In plain speak: they’re simply happier being alone.
That isn’t to say that people with high intelligence don’t need social connection, of course — everyone does, at least to a degree that meets their own desire for human interaction.
Some people experience loneliness because of their high intelligence — so some highly intelligent people may not necessarily desire a great deal of time alone.
Introversion is another reason why some people like being alone.
One research paper considered several studies and found that the data showed introverts make up between 30-75% of the world’s population.
As anyone who is introverted well knows, too much social interaction can be mentally exhausting.
For such people, ample time spent alone allows them to rest and recharge — and that’s something they need to do for their overall well-being.
Another study focused on the motivation for solitude as it relates to general outlook, finding that those who spend time alone for positive reasons (like focusing on hobbies or introspection, for instance) experienced healthy psychological effects — and the decision has a positive correlation with well-being.
A person might prefer to be alone because they:
- Are perfectly happy being alone
- Are naturally introverted and find themselves “drained” after too much socialization
- Are emotionally independent and don’t crave much in the way of socialization
- Enjoy solitude on a regular basis
- Have a limited supply of energy
- Struggle with social anxiety (although that can lead to loneliness when one desires connection with others)
- Need quiet to focus, particularly on creative pursuits
- Prefer less stimulation and are not much of a sensory seeker (such as in the case of autism where sensory overload can be common)
- Love the peace and quiet it brings
- Enjoy doing things on their own time
- Do their best work while alone
- Need to have time to unwind if their lives are exceedingly busy
- Are empathic and easily “absorb” the emotions of others in social settings
- Would rather not deal with drama from strained social relationships
- Want to connect with their own deep thoughts
- Lack meaningful connections with others and do not want to “waste time” on surface-level interactions
- Simply do not want to get close to others
I greatly enjoy spending time alone by myself and I love being alone.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love socializing and interacting with my family and friends.
Most of all, I love being and sharing my life with my husband because he sparks so much within me and is the light of my life.
However, there’s a powerful feeling that comes with finding yourself in the special sanctuary of solitude that you experience when you are at peace — alone.
I believe that when you achieve this space as an individual, then growing as a person with another person can become absolutely electric.
If you find that you personally thrive from spending time alone, there is nothing wrong with embracing that side of yourself whenever you need to.
Is It Normal To Like Being Alone?
Yes, it is completely normal and there is nothing “wrong” with people who prefer to be alone.
One study found that among those surveyed, a person’s solitude was a choice 86% of the time — meaning they desired to spend time by themselves.
Having grown up an only child, I now find that I am absolutely happy to be alone — but that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment I experience from being around other people.
Every person has their own level of social need, whether they require little in the way of interaction or a lot.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to how much time is too much.
If you do not feel like there is a discrepancy between the amount of socialization you desire and what you currently receive, there’s no reason to avoid spending time alone if it makes you happy.
As sociologist Eric Klinenberg stated:
“After all, living alone serves a purpose: It helps us pursue sacred modern values — individual freedom, personal control, and self-realization — that carry us from adolescence to our final days.”
The Benefits Of Spending Time Alone
Spending time alone gives you a chance to identify your feelings and explore more of yourself, but that isn’t the only benefit of this activity.
Practicing mindfulness and gratitude — and even keeping a notebook handy to jot down reasons why you prefer being alone — can help you figure out why you like this feeling if you don’t already know.
The benefits of being alone include:
- The freedom to do what you want
- Gaining peace of mind
- Being able to talk with yourself
- Having no one to answer to
- Achieving a greater sense of independence
- Entering a state of flow
- Having time to recharge
- Finding more enjoyment from socialization
1. Freedom To Do What You Want
When you are alone, there are no expectations for your time and you can exist in an entirely judgment-free zone.
You are free to just be.
Modern life can be so busy, that it’s easy to forget what a gift that is.
You can use this time for anything your heart desires — whether that’s working on a creative pursuit, reading a book you’ve been meaning to read, or even just taking a nap.
When was the last time you took a nap?
If you can’t remember, it’s probably been too long.
2. Peace Of Mind
It is easier to relax without worrying about pleasing people or spending time with those you just aren’t that into.
As we talked about earlier, many people prefer to spend time alone rather than deal with drama within their social groups or “suffering” through superficial interactions.
While alone, you’re given a valuable opportunity — one that allows you to feel more at ease in your own company.
The ability to quietly reflect and concentrate on your own time during mindful solitude provides a feeling of satisfaction and peace.
3. Time To Talk To Yourself
Although the state of being alone offers time for your own thoughts, you can also talk to yourself.
Yes — out loud.
Many of us talk to ourselves when we’re alone (and sometimes even with others present).
Known as external self-talk, this activity brings its own set of benefits — including increased cognitive ability and boosted motivation.
When you’re alone, you can talk to yourself all you want to work through problems, give yourself a pep-talk to improve confidence, or even provide a sense of companionship if you need it.
4. No One To Answer (Or Apologize) To
Being alone means you’re by yourself and while that gives you both the freedom to do what you want and some peace of mind, it also means you have no one to answer to — aside from yourself.
In this way, spending time alone means you don’t have to censor your thoughts or your words (especially if you talk to yourself), but you don’t have anyone to apologize to, either.
Your time is your own, entirely — it belongs to no one else, nor is it constricted to their demands.
5. Gain A Better Sense Of Independence
When you’re completely alone, the only person you have to turn to is yourself.
In this way, a stronger sense of independence — and the confidence that comes with it — can develop as you spend time alone more often.
6. Enter A State Of Flow
Similar to deep thinking, time alone can make it much easier for you to concentrate on doing your best work.
You might find that you’re more productive and comfortable in your home office or other private spaces compared to when you are with other people.
During my studies as a recreational and occupational therapist, I learned about the state of flow.
As described by the Hungarian-American psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, flow is the state of mind where one is able to find and create experiences for themselves that are truly enjoyable and hypnotic.
Flow is the state where people are so deeply immersed and focused in an activity — that nothing else matters.
Csikszentmihaly explains it best in his TED presentation below:
During a state of flow, you can lose yourself in complete bliss, and feel enlightened and inspired to do anything.
7. Time To Recharge
Being around people can be exhausting — especially if you consider yourself to be an introvert — and our brains need to recharge, particularly during times of burnout or when we’re feeling emotionally drained.
When you have time to yourself, you have the chance to clear your mind, focus, and think clearly.
Your creativity and productivity will boost as a result — improving your mood and general outlook on life.
Not only that, but when you feel refreshed, you’re able to gain higher levels of self-awareness and develop a healthier relationship with yourself too.
8. Enjoying Socialization More
It might sound counterintuitive, but spending time alone can make you enjoy moments of socialization more.
As the saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
By spending time by yourself — regularly — you’re able to recharge your “social battery” and get more enjoyment out of the time spent with others.
There are many positive reasons for one to be happy alone.
It gives people an opportunity to know themselves on a deeper level, and gain a greater appreciation of self, personal growth, and the world around them.
It is totally fine (and perfectly normal) to enjoy being alone as well without the risk or concern of feeling lonely, anxious, or depressed.
Seeking solitude is a treasure in itself when you understand the true value that can be found in it.
Find Help Now
If you’re struggling with loneliness as a result of spending too much time alone (and not by choice), we’ve put together resources to meet you wherever you are — whether you want someone to talk to right now, or are looking for longer-term ways to help.