Consumers are now comfortable with being “one of many” alone in social situations. In an evolution of “outsider culture” (in which you are the only one), loners realize they are part of a bigger picture. Companies are now seeing this group as a new target who potentially have more spendable income since they aren’t supporting anyone else–Culturewaves Q32015 Report
Two-and-a-half weeks into the biggest move of my life, and I’ve yet to have more than three meals with other people. I recently made the move from Springfield, Mo., to Centennial, Colo., where I’m staying with my cousin, his wife and the youngest of their teenage sons. They, and the few guys in my new office, make up the entirety of my new local social network.
I came from a place where I had direct access to friends and family and worked around people with whom I had grown comfortable. Some might find such a veritable drop in social interaction difficult. Yet I — and many like me in this day and age — face such a change with relative ease and comfort.
I’m what some people would call a loner. While I don’t think there are negative connotations to the term these days, I consider it inaccurate. I see this perceivable solitude as an evolution of the comfort level I have with myself and those around me. Millennials in general are expressing this newfound comfort through numerous changing behaviors.
Eating alone, for example, has become commonplace in today’s society. A few decades ago, dining solo seemed strange or reclusive, but we now view it as an ordinary act in a typical busy day. Changing attitudes regarding relationships, along with diminishing options for housing and the growing costs of cooking at home, have contributed to this new social norm. Millennials recognize that people have different needs and life situations, and they’re OK with that.
Similarly, travel has reached a point where we don’t need others to accompany us to have a memorable experience. As the idea of taking on life rituals independently loses its stigma, traveling alone is becoming a means of fulfillment and self-expansion.
Ultimately, we have come to understand that everyone is trying to meet their own needs and we are capable of meeting those without the involvement of others. It’s not about a growing resentment for people around us, but instead, a growing level of comfort in the knowledge that we can attain our goals without the possible restrictions of outside influences.