Someone who has the lone wolf personality type will prefer being on their own. They avoid groups whenever possible. This personality gets the term from the fact that most wolves prefer to be part of a pack. Going against that desire is unusual because being alone makes it more difficult to survive.
With wolves, those who go alone are often older alpha males who were pushed out by a younger wolf. Some younger wolves may also leave on their own, searching for a way to create their own pack one day.
The same is true for people. A lone wolf at work might go home instead of going out with the team for drinks on a Friday night. They prefer to work by themselves instead of collaborating with a group. They’ll go to a teambuilding exercise, but stand off to the side, hoping not to be picked to participate.
6 Reasons Behind the Decision to Become a Lone Wolf
The lone wolf personality type is not one that is inherited. It is created by a series of choices, actions, and experiences that happen to a person.
There are 6 common reasons why people decide to become a lone wolf instead of trying to integrate with a team.
1. They have an introverted personality.
People who are strong introverts will naturally avoid social situations whenever possible. They are more comfortable in their own routine and do not mind spending time alone. They have more fun watching Netflix at home or going out to dinner by themselves than being part of a group at a restaurant or bar. It would be inaccurate to say that they are anti-social. They just don’t require an affiliation with a group to define themselves.
2. They are insecure about something.
A lone wolf might try to be on their own because they’re struggling with something they think about themselves. Many believe that they are not good enough at what they do, so they work as much as they can on their own to avoid negative feedback. They might also have a lack of confidence in their social skills, which causes them to stay at home, even if they prefer to be in a social setting.
3. They are pursuing a creative endeavor.
Many people who have the lone wolf personality type tend to be creative in some way. These are the people who are the best painters, poets, and writers. They compose music, embrace photography, and prefer to work alone in silence. Because their work requires them to be independent, they have a natural desire to remain withdrawn from the rest of the world. They accept the isolation because it allows them to see details that they might otherwise miss.
4. They find social interactions to be distracting.
For some lone wolves, the energy that is required to process data from social interactions is too much. The fatigue they experience then causes them to perform their own work in ways that are inadequate, according to their own definition. They think better, work better, and live better when the distractions of other people are minimized or eliminated. So, they get rid of the distractions by removing social interactions.
5. They want to increase their personal privacy.
Some lone wolves are incredible performers. They are charismatic, confident, and extremely talented. They embrace the lone wolf personality because the reaction from others is just too much for them. Closing up shop to have a room of silence gives them a chance to recuperate from what they do. Without the extra layer of privacy, they might never have a chance to breathe with all the attention that comes their way.
6. They are shy.
It is very common for a lone wolf to be shy. For some, this comes from a childhood where they may have been bullied or abused. For others, it is a choice made due to perceived discomfort which occurs during social encounters. Although some might try to say that this reason behind the lone wolf personality type is imposed instead of circumstantial, that is not always the case. A child does not choose to be bullied or abused. Overcoming those issues can take a lifetime. Telling them that it is a choice places the blame on them instead of the person who caused the distress, which reinforces the lone wolf cycle.
Is the Lone Wolf Personality a Mental Disorder?
There is certain mythology that has developed over the years that states the lone wolf personality is a negative trait. People have different opinions about why this is so, but it is difficult to deny the impact that reports of a “lone wolf shooter” or a “lone wolf terrorist” have on the general public.
The message is clear: if you’re not part of the group, then you’re automatically a threat.
What we must recognize is that lone wolf characteristics develop for reasons that are both good and bad. For some, a lack of friends is because there is a lack of desire to form friendships. Some lone wolves are very comfortable living on their own, doing their own thing, while the rest of the world passes them by.
It is the outcasts that are concerning when looking at this personality type. These are the people who attempted to conform, to fit in, and were rejected by their peer group. Time after time, when people are rejected enough and have access to a weapon, the risk for violent decisions increases.
What we must be able to do is recognize when a lone wolf is choosing this lifestyle for themselves compared to when it is being forced upon them.
This does not mean that a mental health issue is never present. Many people who succumb to a decision of violence have been treated for their mental health needs at some point in their lives.
That still does not mean that a lone wolf personality is a mental disorder. It does mean that it can be an outcome because of the presence of one.
So, what do we do?
We must first stop the assumption that a lone wolf personality is a bad thing. Some creative people bring amazing results to the table when their individuality is allowed to operate freely.
We shouldn’t overlook people with this personality type when opportunities present themselves. A lone wolf can be an amazing leader. A preference for working alone doesn’t mean there isn’t the skill needed to work in teams.
Most importantly, we must not micromanage the lone wolf. These independent spirits rebel when they are constantly pressured by intense supervision.
A lone wolf needs their space, just as they do in the wild. Give it to them, accept them for what they can do, and amazing results can happen.
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.