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A loner is a person who avoids or does not actively seek human interaction. There are many reasons for solitude, intentional or otherwise. Intentional reasons include being introverted, spiritual, mystic and religious considerations[1][2] or personal philosophies. Unintentional reasons involve being highly sensitive, extremely shy, or having various mental disorders.

The modern term "loner" can be used with a negative connotation[3] in the belief that human beings are social creatures and those that do not participate are deviant.[4][5] Being a loner is sometimes depicted culturally as a positive personality trait, as indicative of being independent and responsible.[6]


There are different types of loner, including individuals that prefer solitude and are content to have very limited social interaction. The second type includes individuals that are forced to be isolated because they are rejected by society. This individual typically experiences loneliness. Another type is an individual that is social, likes to be social, and has lots of social interactions but prefers solitude without feeling lonely. The first type often does not feel lonely even when they are alone, at least, not in the same way as would a social person who found themselves isolated.[7] However, these are very broad generalizations and it is not uncommon for loners to experience both of these dimensions at some point. The term can overlap with personality traits or a psychiatric diagnosis such as introverts or an anthropophobe.[8]

Possible characteristics

While expressing a desire to be alone, loners may not reject human contact entirely. An example would be the person who shuns any social interaction with colleagues beyond what is necessary for fulfilling his or her job description (mainly for practical reasons and to avoid further complicating one's professional relationships) but who is highly charismatic during parties or social gatherings with people outside work or school, or vice versa.[9]

Somebody who can be a loner would also fit the criteria for introversion. This may be due to both innate personality traits as well as life experiences.[10] Loners often attend movies and other public events alone, exhibiting their strength and inward focus on enjoying life without needing others.

See also


  1. Platt, Paul (2005-07-26). "Neighbours describe bomb suspect as devout loner". The Times. Retrieved 2010-05-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. http://www.forewordmagazine.net/reviews/viewreviews.aspx?reviewID=3975
  3. http://spectator.org/archives/2009/05/14/a-defense-of-quiet-loners
  4. http://baywood.metapress.com/index/JNQKAMHTF63FQ8PX. pdf
  5. http://mothershandbook.net/2009/01/26/youre-not-alone-youre-just-a-loner/ Archived May 5, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  6. Enriching The Sociological Imagination, p 124 Rhonda F. Levine - 2004
  7. http://www.nysun.com/new-york/loners-vs-loneliness/52703/
  8. Berry, John (1997). Handbook of Cross-cultural Psychology: Social behavior and applications. p. 468.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  10. Svoboda, Elizabeth (March–April 2007). "Field Guide to the Loner: The Real Insiders". Psychology Today Magazine.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links