Yes, it does. Even if you are not an introvert. Spending time alone has advantages. I’m not talking about being lonely, or sitting around wishing you were with someone doing something interesting. I’m talking about relishing the delicious feeling of being alone.
1. You get to set the pace. Like to rush? You don’t have to wait for someone else to keep up with you. Like to be deliberate? No one to rush you along so you forget things.
2. You get to do your favorite things. Not that you can’t do your favorite things in a group or with someone else, but sometimes those favorite things are simply not what your partner, friends, or drinking buddies love to do. Reading alone is wonderful. Reading with someone else who doesn’t enjoy it as much is, well, not enjoyable.
3. You are smarter on your own and you have better ideas. I was never a fan of brainstorming in a group. “No idea is bad,” the facilitator would say. “Quantity is better than quality.” Nonsense. There are plenty of bad ideas, often from people who don’t understand the topic fully and say the first thing that comes into their head. Quantity of ideas is fine, but the best idea is an idea that is ripened with quality. And groupthink just doesn’t allow for that.
According to an article in the Washington Post, “Alas, the evidence strongly suggests that brainstorming is not effective, at least at generating good ideas. (It can still function as a morale booster.) Study after study has shown that groups engaging in brainstorming come up with fewer good ideas than people working by themselves.” So brainstorm on your own and then have a meeting to gather ideas.
4. You are more creative on your own. For much the same reason as above. Remember all those group projects in grade school and middle school? Were you one of those nerds (like I was) who always did the work for the slackers, just so the group’s outcome would be OK? And didn’t you always feel a little irritated, a little peeved, when the group got praise, and everyone beamed? What? Are you shaking your head? You are a better person than I am. A huge fan of the Little Red Hen, I wanted praise when I did the work.
5. If you are an introvert, alone time restores your soul, your mind, and your heart. Alone time is an important part of self-healing. At least it is if you are an introvert. If you are an extrovert, alone time helps you clear your head. If you are an extrovert who loves an introvert, alone time is vital to the introvert and the relationship.
In the last 10 years, we have become more and more frantic to be entertained, to have information streaming at us all day long, and to make sure we are with someone. It’s OK to be alone. Sometimes it’s even wonderful.
—-Quinn McDonald spends a lot of time alone on airplanes, in airports and hotels. She loves standing in front of a class and engaging in discussions, but alone time is the balance that makes it possible.