People who crave alone time as they get older often share these 8 unique traits

When I was younger, I was surrounded by friends and family every single day. I’ve always been an introvert, but I actually didn’t crave as much alone time back then.

The reason is quite simple: I didn’t enjoy spending time with myself. After a whole day spent inside my own mind, I desperately wanted out. My friends offered a refuge from the war I waged on the inside.

As I’ve grown older, however, I’ve slowly shed this habit like a snake sheds its skin.

Nowadays, I absolutely adore my alone time. If I don’t get enough, I hunger for it. And when I finally get to enjoy some peace and quiet, it’s like a huge reward at the end of a tiring day.

What about you? Are you like me?

Let’s find out.

People who crave alone time as they get older share these 8 unique traits.

1) They have come to embrace the complexities of their minds

I’ve read countless self-help and psychology books over the years; worked on my insecurities and weaknesses; dreamed up different scenarios, jokes, and fantasies in my head; and finally come to realize that my mind is not a bad place to be.

On the contrary, my imagination never ceases to amaze me. There is always a new idea to entertain, a new problem to solve, and another way to look at the same issue for the hundredth time.

The ability to be fascinated by one’s own brain solves one major issue: boredom.

Even if I spend a lot of time on my own, I’m essentially never bored. There is always another book to read, another story to write, or another sweater to crochet.

Sometimes, when I’m very tired, I just lie down for half an hour and let my thoughts drift in whichever direction they please, curious to see where they take me.

If your mind is a fascinating place to be, why wouldn’t you crave alone time so that you can have some fun on your own?

If you agree, it’s the first sign you’re like me: alone time has become a kind of necessity for you (in a good way).

2) They recognize that their time and energy are valuable resources

Time is the most valuable resource we have, and yet it’s one we often squander away the most.

People who crave alone time as they get older have come to the realization that they only have a limited amount of both time and energy in a day and that they’d rather use it to recharge and relax than to hang out with people who don’t bring anything positive to their lives.

And you know what?

This is a very good mindset to have.

When you value your time, you won’t waste it on events you’d rather skip out on, friends who only ever complain, or romantic relationships that clearly don’t work.

What’s more, you will be more likely to have a healthy work-life balance, look after yourself, and take breaks so that you can perform at your best the next day.

Sounds perfect.

3) They prioritize quality over quantity

What the previous point boils down to is this: if you need more alone time as you get older, it’s because you’ve recognized that quality is so much more important than quantity in all areas of life that truly matter.

It’s better to read a few amazing, life-changing books than fifty three-star ones.

It’s better to have a small circle of friends who root for you, put effort into the friendship, and are reliable than ten friends who are always too busy right when you need them.

It’s better to enjoy one full day of guilt-free rest than five days of half-an-hour breaks that don’t properly recharge you.

I could go on and on.

People who can appreciate just how important quality is are more likely to spend time alone because they no longer squander it on experiences that don’t serve them.

Instead, they pour all their energy back into their own cup.

4) They no longer seek validation from others

One of the reasons I loved to spend so much time around my friends growing up was that they constantly provided me with validation.

From my political opinions to my outfits or jokes, my friends’ reactions to my behavior offered valuable feedback. And the more ego boosts I got, the better I felt about myself.

Of course, I didn’t do this on purpose. Most teenagers or young adults are constantly changing and growing, and as they’re coming into themselves, it’s completely natural for them to seek validation and approval from others.

At the end of the day, we all want to belong, and the way our friends perceive us helps us navigate the complexities of the social world.

As we get older, however, we slowly form a strong basis of who we are. And once you’re confident in your own skin, you no longer need a friend’s approval when picking an outfit or writing an email to your boss.

What’s more, you don’t require other people’s permission to be authentically yourself, which translates into more quality time spent in solitude.

pic2275 People who crave alone time as they get older often share these 8 unique traits

5) They feel they have outgrown many of their friends

The downside of personal growth is that many of the people you hold close to your heart may not grow alongside you.

While you’re quickly moving forward, they are left behind, failing to catch up.

At some point or another, you eventually realize you have to let those friendships go because they no longer bring anything of value to your life.

A friend who only ever complains and puts you down may stunt your growth and worsen your mental well-being.

A family member who always pokes at your wounds and refuses to respect your boundaries might need to be cut off.

Outgrowing the people you love is a very painful process, and making the decision to let them go is even worse. However, it’s also what may help you reach completely new heights.

Once you’ve outgrown your friends and reduced contact, it makes sense that you want to spend more time alone. All that energy you poured into relationships that didn’t serve you is now yours to claim.

6) They are in sync with their needs

Some people go through life feeling completely exhausted, and yet they refuse to “give up” and do what’s necessary in order to feel rejuvenated again.

They essentially work themselves into a complete burnout, and once they realize they need to take a break, their physical and mental health has already hit an extremely low point.

People who crave – and give themselves – alone time are different in that they not only understand and name their needs but also take active steps to fulfil them.

In other words, they are able to tell when they need to be alone and they choose to carve out a bit of time for themselves on a regular basis.

Of course, this isn’t always easy.

You may need to say “no” to an event your friend wants you to attend, shut off your phone and risk that your co-worker may not be able to reach you on your day off, or miss a family get-together.

But as long as you accept that some high-quality alone time is exactly what you need and deserve, it’s okay to let those experiences go with no guilt or FOMO attached.

7) They love mindfulness and creative hobbies

Being alone isn’t just about going on a walk and getting stuck in your head with your headphones on.

It’s also about being so deeply present that you feel at peace with who – and where – you are.

People who crave alone time tend to have very mindful hobbies, from painting and crocheting to gardening or hiking.

They don’t want to be alone just to scroll on social media for three hours; instead, they use that time to do something that feels fulfilling on a deep level.

Solitude isn’t just about being by yourself. It’s about doing something that makes you feel connected to the world at large.

It’s about embracing the Now.

8) They have learned to be their best friends

Remember when I said that I used to hate being alone because it meant it felt like waging a war inside my own head?

Yeah. That was because I didn’t like myself very much.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to get to know myself much better, and as a result, I no longer talk down to myself or sabotage my happiness.

It’s actually the complete opposite. I am now trying my best to do what’s genuinely good for me, from acknowledging and fulfilling my needs to prioritizing high-quality friendships.

And that is because I have learned to be my best friend.

If the same applies to you…

Jackpot. You’re part of the club.

Now excuse me, my best friend and I (that is, me and me) have some alone time to enjoy.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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