The Mindful Survey: All By Myself

Answers from our reader survey on solitude

Do you identify as an introvert or an extrovert?

42% of respondents say they’re primarily introverts, compared to just 10% extroverts. 38% identify with both introverted and extroverted qualities. The last 10% don’t identify with either type.

Do you enjoy being alone?

What do you do when you’re by yourself that you wouldn’t do with company?

  • “Raid the fridge and watch trashy TV.”
  • “Talk to myself.”
  • “Kayak.”
  • “Work in my garden and flower beds, walk my dogs, and play with my cats.”
  • “Most of my work is solitary.”
  • “I meditate, do yoga, and curl up to read a great book.”
  • “Cook something wonderful and eat it!”
  • “Wear only my underwear.”
  • “Dance under the stars on warm summer evenings, and in the living room on cold winter nights.”
  • “Take the time to be with myself. It’s really tough to do that with company.”

What’s your favorite thing about being alone?

  • “It helps me reconstruct my world.”
  • “The ability to control the level of noise.”
  • “No pressure to be ‘on’ or polite.”
  • “It makes me feel independent.”
  • “No drama!”
  • “I don’t have to cook.”
  • “I can feel sick and not worry about feeling that way in front of others.”
  • “That ‘ahhhhh’ feeling.”
  • “Noticing that I’m alone but not lonely.”
  • “The peace. The sweet hum of life. Resting my body.”

Are you afraid to be alone?

What’s your least favorite thing about being alone?

  • “No one to cuddle.”
  • “When everyone is at a social function but me, I suffer from FOMO.”
  • “Wishing I could share a beautiful experience with a friend or loved one.”
  • “I’m not always motivated to keep a schedule.”
  • “I hate when people question my preference for being alone.”
  • “When I’m alone, I can’t always be bothered to do special things just for myself.”
  • “Anxiety can creep in.”

If you’re on social media, do you consider yourself to be alone?

What activities do you like to do alone?

The most popular solo activity we included is meditation, which 80% of respondents report doing by themselves. 63% also like spending time in nature, and 59% like to unplug from technology. 53% get their shopping done, while 49% watch TV and 40% do work. Only 32% enjoy eating alone.

How much of your time do you spend alone?

Where do you go to be alone?

  • “My bedroom, or I stay up late in common areas when everyone else is in bed.”
  • “The bathroom, to have a relaxing bath.”
  • “My man cave.”
  • “I have two little kids, so I run and work out before they are up in the morning.”
  • “If at work, I go in an empty office and put a Post-it on the door that says ‘Conference Call.’”
  • “I don’t need to go anywhere: It’s a feeling and with me wherever I am.”
  • “Urban nature trails.”
This article appeared in the February 2018 issue of Mindful magazine.

The Power of Solitude

How to Be Alone, Mindfully (video)