This doesn’t mean that they are unsociable or always keep everything secret. They just love to do things by themselves to feel as if they don’t need anyone else doing this for them. Is there any word or phrase that can interpret this full meaning?

  • So .. this is the guy who just drives around instead of stopping to ask for directions?
    – GEdgar
    Aug 7 '19 at 13:22
  • Well...it’s more like he wants to do these things to prove that he can do anything within his power. If it’s out of reach, like when he gets lost, he can ask for help.
    – Valerie
    Aug 7 '19 at 13:49
  • A lone wolf is one who generally operates alone (paraphrasing OED def. 1.c), but it's been used alongside criminals/terrorists a lot lately, so I'd keep that in mind when determining usage.
    – cmcf
    Aug 7 '19 at 15:17
  • @valerie I was going to suggest hermit or recluse but it sounds like you're just describing pretty normal behavior.
    – sas08
    Aug 7 '19 at 15:57
  • 1
    I liked this question (and not just because I know someone just like this and how I would describe them...). Imo the OP should have been asked to give an example sentence before closing.
    – S Conroy
    Aug 8 '19 at 13:01

Self-sufficient has the connotations of not needing others.

Especially in the second meaning from Dictionary:

having extreme confidence in one's own resources, powers, etc.

He was self-sufficient, and always reminded you of it.

  • 7
    Or self-reliant.
    – Mitch
    Aug 7 '19 at 21:03

The word independent comes to mind. It has the positive connotation of being solitary without malice.

Selected meanings from Merriam Webster:

  1. not dependent: such as
    a. (1) not subject to control by others : SELF-GOVERNING

    b. (2) not looking to others for one's opinions or for guidance in conduct

    c. (1) not requiring or relying on others (as for care or livelihood):
    independent of her parents

    d. showing a desire for freedom:
    an independent manner

  • Thanks for the word! It seems to nearly fully describe what I mean. Still, the way he likes to show off his skill, like, he can do anything without help, is what I want to figure out. Anyway, the word still works. Thanks again!
    – Valerie
    Aug 7 '19 at 14:11
  • 1
    @SciGuy, as you're relatively new to our site, I added a definition for you. Please be aware that a 16-word one-line answer – especially one that offers no independent supporting evidence to distinguish it from mere personal opinion – not only risks receiving downvotes but will end up in the Low Quality Posts queue to be reviewed for deletion, whereas putting in the extra effort (e.g. with a relevant dictionary definition & link) will often be rewarded by multiple upvotes, as you've now received. I hope this encourages you to post further well-supported answers :-) Aug 9 '19 at 9:32

It was said:

to feel as if they don’t need anyone else doing this for them

The word autonomous conveys a subtle meaning of rebelling against other people's influence or making a particular statement about being self-sufficient:

1 a : having the right or power of self-government
// an autonomous territory
1 b : undertaken or carried on without outside control : SELF-CONTAINED
// an autonomous school system
2 a : existing or capable of existing independently
// an autonomous zooid
2 b : responding, reacting, or developing independently of the whole
// an autonomous growth

Although autonomous is often synonymous with independent, it is not quite as neutral a word; it conveys more of an intention of deliberately breaking away and proving yourself. (The first sense implies it is a right, not just a description of a state of affairs.)


According to the Collins dictionary, a lone wolf is:

someone who is independent and likes doing things on their own, rather than doing them with other people.

"Lone wolf" is also more narrow and unambiguous in its meaning than similar phrases like "independent", which has 22 different definitions on Dictionary.com. Generally "lone wolf" is only used to describe a person or a literal lone wolf.

The Columbia Journalism Review has a really nice article on the origin of the phrase and its connotations through history. For instance:

Not unexpectedly, Native Americans had some legendary chiefs or warriors named “Lone Wolf,” though, as members of tribal communities, they were not really “lone wolves.” (Paraphrased from Ben Zimmer's The Wall Street Journal article)

This example highlights how even the "lone wolves" mentioned weren't complete hermits, either. Rather, they were people renowned for their competence in acting alone while still integrating with their respective communities.


Self-actualizing or perhaps self-reliant are compounds which might serve. Most words for this are negative, so you might have to soften.

Slightly-reclusive. A bit of a hermit. That sort of thing.

  • I think she's asking for an English word.
    – David
    Aug 7 '19 at 20:33
  • How negative are they? As I look up and find they are not disapproving; here I mean two words ‘self-actualizing’ and ‘self-reliant’.
    – Valerie
    Aug 8 '19 at 1:08

Loner comes to mind.

loner noun
lon·​er | \ ˈlō-nər \

1 : one that avoids others: such as

  • a : a person who is often alone or likes to be alone : someone who usually avoids the company of others

From the Merriam Webster dictionary:

He is a moody loner who doesn't become chummy with anyone.

— Sam Moses Many

rowers will agree that sculling is a sport for loners who relish the more quixotic elements of the sport.

— D. C. Churbuck

she found that the image of the scientist as an antisocial loner is a myth

— Warren E. Leary

It does often have a slight antisocial connotation, but isn't derogatory at all. Mainly, a loner just likes to do things by themselves.

  • Well he doesn’t like to be alone.
    – Valerie
    Aug 8 '19 at 1:09
  • 1
    Fair enough. I find this definition a bit strict, in fact: to me, a loner may not even actively avoid others as implied in the definition quoted, but might just prefer doing things by themselves. That said, I do like some of the other suggestions on this page too; just felt that this one was worth bringing up too!
    – Cullub
    Aug 8 '19 at 2:14

Several such words exist whereof "independent," "self-sufficient," and "self-reliant" are all examples.

  • 2
    Please include references to back up the claim. Aug 8 '19 at 6:47

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