I was just in the midst of writing a description for a story I am writing, and I'm trying to describe one of the characters, or more rather think of a word I could use to describe them.

They are independent, they do everything by themselves, they enjoy solitude, and believe that friends or socialization is unnecessary and causes nothing but issues. They are quite egotistical and quite narcissistic because of this, but I'm looking for a word that explains their need to do everything alone.

If this helps, my sentence is as follows, or something along those lines:

Marina is a proud _____, she believes that buddies are for weak people, and she could very well cope on her own.

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    – tchrist
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 10:26

15 Answers 15


You might call her a lone wolf:

a person who avoids the company or assistance of others
from vocabulary.com

The linked site goes on to explain:

If you prefer to do things on your own, including taking care of problems and working on projects, you can call yourself a lone wolf, or a person who prefers being alone.

  • 3
    note: the sentence would be something like "Marina is a lone wolf", it would not be normal to say "a proud lone wolf"
    – Jordan.J.D
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 17:46
  • 8
    @Jordan.J.D You might also write "Marina is proud to be a lone wolf."
    – Hellion
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 17:49
  • 7
    If the OP would consider changing the notion of "proud" to that of "confirmed," a "dyed-in-the-wool lone wolf" might create an interesting image. Anyway, +1.
    – Papa Poule
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 18:14
  • 9
    @PapaPoule That would be a very literal wolf in sheep’s clothing! (Dyed-in-the-lone-wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing?) Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 19:34
  • 1
    I have always preferred "lone cat" or variants thereof for OP's actual meaning... cats are actually pretty happy to be solitary, while wolves are pack animals and an actual lone wolf is probably in trouble. It amuses me a bit because popularity of the "lone wolf" motif notwithstanding, most people are actually looking for groups, howsoever small, to fit with, making lone wolf the right term for them after all :)
    – Megha
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 6:31

At first I was thinking hermit, but settled on Individualist

Google result: in·di·vid·u·al·ist ˌindəˈvij(ə)wələst,ˌindəˈvijələst/ noun

  1. a person who is independent and self-reliant. "a rugged individualist driven to succeed" a self-centered or egotistical person. "selfish individualists thinking only of themselves"
    1. an advocate of a social theory favoring freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control. "radical individualists, committed to quality of life"
  • I can see individualist best used in the context of the example sentence. Usually proud and individualist are terms that often go together. People see individualism as a choice.
    – am21
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 19:28
  • 2
    I too like hermit for her description, but contextually, the character doesn't sound as extreme as a hermit.
    – Trevor D
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:48
  • "Individualist" was actually the word I was trying to think of! (I had a word on the tip of my tongue but I couldn't think of it). I really love "hermit", it's a exaggerated way to describe the character's trait, but it's also a reference to something! Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 10:30
  • @gigiistrash Since you are the original poster, if you like my answer please mark it as the accepted one. Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 12:12
  • @gigiistrash I second the nomination of this answer (rather than my own answer!) to be accepted by you, since it was the most useful to you and there has been plenty of time for other answers to be posted. It's time to click the check mark!
    – David K
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 21:15

A recluse.

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

Recluse \Re*cluse"\ (r[-e]*kl[=u]s"), a. [F. reclus, L. reclusus, from recludere, reclusum, to unclose, open, in LL., to shut up. See {Close}.] Shut up, sequestered; retired from the world or from public notice; solitary; living apart; as, a recluse monk or hermit; a recluse life [1913 Webster]

  • I think recluse actually works a bit better than hermit, which was the first thing that I thought of, until I read the description. Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 15:53
  • I think a recluse has a reputation sometimes for being insecure. A "proud" recluse seems a bit off. I would go with the "lone wolf" which has some negative connotations for different reasons (i.e., they are unwilling to ask for help even when it is in their best interest).
    – aaryno
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 23:04
  • I don't think this really matches what OP is looking for. A recluse is someone who is isolated from society specifically because they don't leave their house (thus the etymology from "enclose" or "shut up." OP is looking to describe someone who goes out in the world and does things just like everyone else, except that they do those things alone.
    – Nicole
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 17:39

Maverick -- Dictionary.com

noun 2. a lone dissenter, as an intellectual, an artist, or a politician, who takes an independent stand apart from his or her associates.

adj. 4. unorthodox, unconventional, nonconformist

  • 4
    Maverick would probably work here, but even aside from the Sarah Palin connection, it has a very strong connotation of someone who is a cowboy, who can't work with others when required to, not just someone who prefers to work alone. Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 5:06
  • This is a great answer, thanks! And @Cody Gray, that is exactly my character, she cannot work with anyone. Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 10:36
  • As @CodyGray says, there is a connotation for being unable to work with others as well as nonconformist. Lone wolf also has the connotation of being unable or unwillingness to work with others, but perhaps more borne out of stubbornness than defiance.
    – aaryno
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 23:08

You could call Marina a hermit.

From dictionary.com:



  1. a person who has withdrawn to a solitary place for a life of religious seclusion.

  2. any person living in seclusion; recluse.

(I have omitted several other less relevant senses of the word.)

While Marina's independence does not seem to have a religious component, it seems to be a deliberate choice based on strong belief, which the religious connotation of the word hermit would appropriately suggest.


Perhaps Marina can be described as an Introvert?


  1. A person who is energized by spending time alone. Often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places, introverts like to think and be alone.

  2. A person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings

[UD / Dictionary.com]

Contrary to popular belief, not all introverts are shy. Some may have great social lives and love talking to their friends but just need some time to be alone to "recharge" afterwards.

  • 4
    You most definitely don't have to be shy to be an introvert. I would consider myself an introvert but not shy. I just don't like spending time with most people, especially groups of people. I'm quite capable of being social, I just choose not to.
    – Notts90
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 22:06
  • 1
    That's why I clarified, so nobody would make assumptions.
    – Hank
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 22:11
  • Ah, yes, my character is most definitely an introvert, but I was looking for something that focuses more on the individual part. Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 10:34
  • @gigiistrash And Introvert, to you, does not provide that alone/individual aspect?
    – Hank
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 13:11
  • While your definition of "introvert" is certainly correct, I don't think it fits well in the OP's proposed sentence: "Marina is a proud introvert, she believes that buddies are for weak people, and she could very well cope on her own." Speaking as a proud introvert myself, I certainly don't think "buddies are for weak people." I like my alone time, but I can also appreciate the value of teamwork
    – Steve-O
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 15:41

You should consider misanthrope. It does imply the individualistic qualities you're looking for, though it adds a shade of dislike towards others.


  • A person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society.


  • Yes, that's exactly what I'm looking for, thanks! :) Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 10:37
  • 1
    There's not just a "shade" of dislike. If I hear someone's a misanthrope, I'm thinking they go out of their way to harm others. They're probably a sadist.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 0:59
  • 4
    @DCShannon Interesting interpretation. I've never considered misanthropism to imply sadism, and I can't recall ever seeing that association be assumed. It's usually more of a cynicism and disgust, but not necessarily active harm. To me it brings to mind the "cranky old man".
    – Jason C
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 4:49
  • @JasonC If that's the case, then the only times I've heard this used were oddities. I'll look into it a little when I have time.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 18:47

You may call them a lone ranger (or loner) too.


lone ranger noun, often capitalized L&R

: one who acts alone and without consultation or the approval of others; broadly : loner

something of a lone ranger among anthropologists, she does her research without either a lending hand or an eye toward trendy topics

loner noun
: one that avoids others; especially : individualist

that guy in tech support is a loner, and never wants to hang out with the rest of us

  • The noun loner has a negative connotation? Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 15:40

You could describe her as a solitary individual.


b. Keeping apart or aloof from society; avoiding the company of others; living alone.

Oxford Dictionaries:

Done or existing alone: ‘I live a pretty solitary life’

I believe it can also be used as a noun, but I'm less familiar with this usage so perhaps it's a little more obscure:


b. One who lives by himself in seclusion or retirement; one who avoids, or is deprived of, the society of others.

Oxford Dictionaries:

A recluse or hermit

  • And with an excellent history of usage: "Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster." - Charles Dickens; A Christmas Carol. +1
    – Spratty
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 11:49

Here's a few which haven't yet been mentioned:

Iconoclast—A person who doesn't adhere to tradition

Non-conformist—Someone who doesn't conform to generally accepted patterns of thought or action

Anomaly—Deviation from the common rule

Outsider—A person who does not belong to a particular group

Freethinker—A person who thinks freely or independently

  • +1 for outsider, but definitions should have citations
    – DCShannon
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 1:00
  • @DCShannon, right you are. Done.
    – freeling10
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 2:38
  • I'm not sure I'd concur with "anomaly", which just means something different without saying in what way.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 13:38

self-reliant: autonomous person who shies away from relying on other people.

oxford dictionary

Reliant on one's own powers and resources rather than those of others. ‘a self-reliant little girl’


"Marina is a free spirit"

Free spirit -- Cambridge

(noun) a person who does what they want with enjoyment and pleasure and does not feel limited by the usual rules of social behaviour

"He has every appearance of the truly free spirit, but he is secretly dependent on that against which he is fighting."

Must read: What It Means To Be A Real Free Spirit

A real free spirit doesn’t mind being alone. They don’t mind sitting at home on a Saturday night and just reading a book. They don’t mind being single. They don’t mind being in a relationship. They don’t mind not having friends to hangout with. They are very mellow about it and doesn’t let their relationships with others define them. In fact, they don’t really let anything define them.

  • 6
    Free spirit has more connotations of being a bit of a hippie. Free spirits are generally fine being on their own, but there is no inherent sense that they actively reject friendships as signs of weakness. That sounds like a very non-free-spirit thing to do. Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 19:36

Marina could be called, "antisocial". A person who prefers solitude, tends towards rudeness or other behaviors others find distasteful when in a group.

Has anyone heard the phrase, No man is an island? Nobody can be 100% self sufficient in ALL ways. This applies equally to women as it does to men.

  • 3
    Can you provide support for your answer? What is the definition of anti-social, for those who don't know? What does "No man is an island" have to do with the OP? More information is needed, please.
    – Hank
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 19:46
  • 2
    I think "unsociable" is better in this context, "anti-social" typically implies behaviors that harm others, whereas "unsociable" just means "disinclined to be social" Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 13:42



not enjoying or making an effort to behave sociably in the company of others. "Terry was grumpy and unsociable" synonyms: unfriendly, uncongenial, unneighborly, unapproachable, introverted, reticent, reserved, withdrawn, aloof, distant, remote, detached, unsocial, antisocial, asocial, taciturn, silent, quiet; informalstandoffish "we found him to be stiff and unsociable" antonyms: friendly not conducive to friendly social relations. "watching TV is a fairly unsociable activity"

In your context, you could write,

Marina is proud to be unsociable

  • 1
    Want to +1, but that's an awfully large block of uncited text
    – DCShannon
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 1:01

There are a few musical/public performance multi-word terms that have had their meanings extended figuratively to describe people like Marina and the way might choose to live their lives and conduct their affairs, such as:

one-woman/man/person show/band=”A person who does or manages just about everything” (from The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Second Edition, via Google Books)


solo act
cf: “Life is not a solo act. It's a huge collaboration, and we all need to assemble around us the people who care about us and support us in times of strife.”
(from BrainyQuote, attributed to fashion designer Tim Gunn)

"Marina is a proud (and/or confirmed) solo act // one-woman band/show, she believes that buddies are for weak people, and she could very well cope on her own,"

For what little it’s worth, Urban Dictionary even has a seemingly relevant definition for a single word:


A person who likes to be on his own
Jay: im going to Appletree college come with me?
Ken: nah man im a soloist, im doing this by my self

"Marina is a proud (and/or confirmed) soloist, she believes that buddies are for weak people, and she could very well cope on her own,"

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