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 spiritual and religious considerations or personal philosophies. Unintentional reasons involve temperament, being highly sensitive, having more extreme forms of shyness, or various mental disorders, such as depression and autism, being introverted or prefer quiet over commotion. The modern term "loner" can be used with a negative connotation in the belief that human beings are social creatures and those that do not participate are deviant. Being a loner is sometimes depicted culturally as a positive personality trait, as indicative of being independent and responsible.
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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. 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. However, these are very broad generalizations and it is not uncommon for loners to experience both of these dimensions at some point.
People will also tend to isolate themselves when they are unable to connect, either emotionally or intellectually, with those around them. Causes of isolation are many and far between, but not all of them are caused by a mental disorder. There is evidence that suggests there is a genetic component to individuals that are simply born without the requirement for social contact, or social dependency.
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 work 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.
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