Independence is a personality trait that’s highly valued and means you can ‘go it alone’ and ‘get things done’ without relying on others.
But being too independent can be damaging to your overall wellbeing, an expert has warned, and drive you further from those you might be hoping to impress.
So-called hyper-independence is defined by a desire to refuse help from others and attempt to handle any and all issues alone, even when this means the individual is more likely to struggle and suffer.
These people see accepting other people’s help as a sign of weakness, and will put more pressure on themselves to be able to cope with highly stressful situation.
Yet the way our society prioritises and values independence means these potentially damaging traits can be left unchecked – and even celebrated.
Are you hyper-independent? Expert reveal why refusing other people’s help all the time and only relying on yourself can be dangerous for your well-being. Stock picture
‘Independence can be seen as part of the cultural value of individualism, where personal uniqueness, personal freedom and self-sufficiency, having control over your own life, is held in great esteem,’ Dutch business psychologist Jan P. de Jonge told FEMAIL.
‘The extent to which we see ourselves as independent or dependent is an aspect of our personal make-up, our personality.’
Why introverts are more likely to be hyper-independent
Jan. founder of People Business Psychology Ltd, explained that introverts are more likely to be hyper-independent than extroverts because they avoid social interactions and therefore have less time to call on the help of others.
Are YOU hyper-independent? The signs to look for
It can be helpful to reflect on the following questions and decide for yourself (hey, you might even ask others around you!…) whether these characteristics are present too much in you.
- Do you feel very little need for any kind of reassurance from other people?
- Do you tend to make decisions on your own, even if you feel you would find some input or guidance from others helpful?
- Do you often follow your own gut instinct rather than being led by others?
- Do you feel little need to affiliate with others will be guided or helped by others?
- Do you often find yourself doing things on your own (for whatever reason)?
- Do you like your own company when having to get things done?
- Do you like to be your own agent your own boss, do you do you dislike being told what to do?
- Do you rather dislike having to ask for help from someone else?
- Is asking for help alien to you or does it make you feel quite uncomfortable?
‘People who are introvert are likely to be quiet, cautious, or less interactive with others. Introverts get their energy from their internal world, such as personal reflection on concepts and ideas,’ Jan said.
‘It must be noted here that introverts, as well as people who see themselves as highly independent, do not necessarily lack social skills.
‘Instead, they’re more likely to direct their interests to ideas than to social events and being amongst others.
‘Hyper independent people may show somewhat similar tendencies: they would rather “sort things out” themselves rather than the rely on others – and be seen to rely on others.’
When hyper-independence pushes people AWAY
‘One of the main factors linked to individual well-being, fulfilment and happiness, is helping others. It is core to being human,’ Jan said.
‘People who are highly independent may (however unintentionally) obstruct others from giving their help. Moreover, when help is being rejected this may have its own negative effects on the person who wants to show their compassion.’
He continued: ‘People who tend to reject well-intentioned help from others may be seen as having too much pride.
‘And, after all, we all need other people around us. We are all dependent on others – whether we like it or not.
‘Another downside of being too independent is that it can be perceived as not having enough respect for “the other person”.
‘Although it may be harmless to be seen as independent, too much of it can be seen as having little regard for the alternative voice, another’s point of view, or contribution.
‘Worse, it may stop a person from having a sense of accountability – other than being accountable to only oneself.’
It can ultimately lead to a downfall
Jan explained being too independent does not promote other commendable social attributes, such as being able to show appreciation for other people’s ideas and opinions
And Jan went on to say that it is likely refusing other people’s help and wanting to do everything by yourself could lead you to experiencing failure.
‘Isn’t it the case that we all rely on others, sooner or later?’ he asked.
The expert went on to say there was very little gain to get from being too hyper-independent.
‘Besides being left to one’s own devices more often, it is likely to lower the frequency with which we connect with those around us and engage in social interaction.
‘Having a clear tendency to avoid help and, even, avoid asking for help is linked to greater levels of unhappiness and loneliness,’ he added.
‘Collaboration, bonding, affiliation, belonging, building and maintaining relationships: we all need and depend on this in our lives – even if some do so more than others.’