12 signs you genuinely enjoy being alone, according to psychology

Enjoy your alone time? But how do you know you really do? That it hasn’t just become a habit, or you’re not stuck in a rut?  

It’s an increasingly busy and connected world. And yet, a recent American Time Use Survey found that people are spending more and more time alone. A bit of a paradox and not necessarily a bad thing! Some of us adore being alone, whereas others, not so much. 

According to psychological research, certain behaviors and attitudes can show whether being alone is something you do for the right reasons, i.e. because you love it! 

So, let’s explore 12 signs you genuinely enjoy being alone.  

1) You don’t get FOMO (fear of missing out)  

Imagine your ideal Saturday night. What does it look like?  

Cocktails in a nice bar with some mates? Or snuggled on the couch watching a great series or movie (cat or dog optional)? And, if you opt to stay in, do you end up feeling left behind or isolated?  

If your answer is no, you’re someone who genuinely enjoys being alone. The introvert in you finds socializing hard work and exhausting (sometimes even boring if you’re honest). However, spending time in your own company leaves you feeling calm and energized. 

Fear of missing out is an alien concept to you. And yet…  

2) You love people-watching  

Although you tend to avoid socializing, you are still fascinated by human nature and social dynamics. 

You could easily spend hours sitting outside a café watching the world go by, observing how people interact with each other. You probably even imagine their conversations, what’s being said and what’s not being said.  

Psychology says that people-watching is a way of gathering information about others… What they like, how they’re feeling, and how much you think you would like them.

It’s a way of learning through spectating (as opposed to doing), which is the introvert’s preferred way. Your people-watching has probably rendered you someone with meaningful insight to share, someone considered wise beyond their years.  

Now we’ve established you’re a people-watcher, the next point may seem a bit contradictory… 

3) You take little interest in the lives of others 

OK, but hear me out because it’s about to make perfect sense… 

Except for your close family and friends, you don’t want to know the ins and outs of other people’s lives. You’re just not interested. And not because you don’t care, but because you value your own privacy so much and give others the same consideration.  

To you, gossip and speculation about a colleague, an acquaintance, or a celebrity, are boring and meaningless. You see these activities as a waste of valuable time and energy.  

Which explains why…  

4) You have a “less is more” philosophy  

When you genuinely enjoy being alone, you choose quality over quantity when it comes to relationships. And when deciding who to let into your weird little world, you prefer a small and select circle of friends.  

Maybe that looks like three ride-or-die friends scattered around the world. Or perhaps you have an amazing bond with a few family members. Either way, you are selective about the company you keep.  

Why? Because as an introverted person, you would rather have fewer but deeper connections than dozens of acquaintances and different friend groups. Nor do you have time to waste investing in the wrong people.  

Ultimately, you’re a “less is more” type of person, and this can also extend into the same preference for experiences and possessions. Which leads to our next sign. 

5) You don’t try to impress  

Your goals in life are personal to you so you’re not concerned about the opinions of others. You’re self-motivated and don’t feel the need to impress others with your achievements, style, car, (insert other “measures of success”), etc.  

This is because you don’t rely on external validation. You honestly don’t care if others are impressed or not.  

What is meaningful to you is all that matters, your goals are intrinsic and self-determined.  

6) You march to your own beat 

You value your individuality and independence.  

Having the freedom to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, is important to you. And having to constantly compromise makes you feel trapped and suffocated.  

Your self-reliance demonstrates just how much you really enjoy being alone. You’re a lone wolf who adores your autonomy. So… 

7) You rarely ask for favors

you wont be alone for very long 12 signs you genuinely enjoy being alone, according to psychology

Now, be honest. What would it take for you to call on someone for help?  

Some people would do this at the sight of a lone cockroach, but my guess is nothing short of a grizzly bear in your bathroom would make you consider asking anyone for anything!  

And it’s not because you don’t want to be seen as vulnerable or put people out (well, perhaps that a little). It’s because you adore solitude so much, you are reluctant to impose on the solitude of anyone else. You are simply treating people as you would like to be treated.  

Now, the next sign may annoy you… 

8) You come across as unfriendly to others

Because you are! But not in a bad way…  

It’s just that you despise small talk and refuse to engage in it. For you, it is tedious. And because you don’t fake anything, you can often come across as cold and unfriendly. At least when you first meet somebody.  

Now don’t get caught up on this (we know you don’t care what people think anyway), because you’re going to like the next sign.  

9) You’re full of ideas and creativity 

If you love being alone, you are likely bursting with creativity and imagination.  

According to studies by psychologists Csikszentmihalyi and Feist, the most creative people across many different fields are more often than not introverted. This works in two ways:  

  • Naturally, many imaginative people prefer solitude to focus on their creative aspirations
  • Time alone is required for the deep and complex thought that gets the creative juices flowing

10) You would rather listen than talk 

Talking about yourself doesn’t appeal to you; you listen more than you speak. This is because your natural open-mindedness makes you curious about diverse opinions and experiences. You’re a natural empath.  

So, although you often try to avoid people, you probably find that once they get to know you a little, they like being around you.  

And you only have yourself to blame!  

11) You like other low profilers

You are drawn to others who share your values of discretion and privacy. Your close friends are likely to be chilled, unpretentious, and open-minded.  

Consequently, attention seekers repel you like the plague. As do loud and obnoxious people and flashy displays of wealth, affection, and success. You are also careful to avoid drama and people who zap your time and energy.

But be warned, just because you’re a low profiler doesn’t mean you escape other people’s radars, it just means you’d like to. 

Which leads us to our final sign… 

12) You’re more self-aware than most

Or at least trying to be!  

Research shows that introverts spend a lot of time learning about themselves and trying to improve self-awareness. So, it’s safe to assume that self-understanding and improvement are hugely important to you.  

And this is something that grows through focus and limited distractions, in other words, being alone.  

Final thoughts 

When you genuinely enjoy being alone, you thrive in quieter and less stimulating surroundings.  

As an introvert through and through, you are inner-focused, self-reliant, and prioritize your time according to your interests.  

Now, enjoy your solitude. 

Picture of Niamh McNamara

Niamh McNamara

A freelance writer fascinated with human nature and social dynamics, Niamh read literature, history, and philosophy at university before spending time in journalism and PR. Armed with a passion for words and ideas, and a healthy appreciation of the ridiculous, she tries to make sense of it all. Connect with Niamh on X @NBMcnamara123

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