85 Percent of Americans Would Rather Just Be Left Alone Some of the Time, Thanks

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Lone climber standing on a snowy peak
Photo: Buena Vista Images/(c) Buena Vista Images

A new Pew survey asks a question I wish more people would ask me: How important is it to you to have times when you are “completely alone, away from anyone else”? It’s part of a larger survey designed to judge American attitudes on privacy, and when it comes to alone time, most of the respondents’ answers indicate that they’re very fond of their own company. Eighty-five percent of all respondents called alone time “important,” with 55 percent of them considering it “very important.” This was true for both men and women, and across all age groups, too.

And if you must infringe on someone’s solitude, at least refrain from being too nosy: 

On a separate question, 79% say that it is “very” or “somewhat” important to them not to have people at work or social situations ask them about things that are “highly personal.” Some 44% say that avoiding prying acquaintances is “very important” to them and another 36% say this is “somewhat important.”

Generally speaking, people had pretty different conceptions of which aspects of privacy matter the most:

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More evidence that it’s okay to, for example, go to the movies alone.