Half of Koreans in their 20s and 30s prefer to spend time alone: Survey

SEOUL (Korea Herald/Asia News Network) - More than half of South Korean men and women in their 20s and 30s prefer to spend time alone, a recent survey by an online job search portal revealed.

The survey, which targeted 1,593 male and female users of the portal Saramin between the ages 20 and 30, showed that 53 per cent replied in the affirmative to the question asking whether they preferred spending time alone.

Over 73 per cent of the respondents choosing to be alone said they were satisfied with life, which was higher than 64 per cent from the 756 respondents who preferred to belong in affinity groups.

Most of those who favoured being alone said they chose to do so because they could "do things in their way". The second most popular reason was "guaranteed individual time", followed by "to reduce financial burden", "difficult to fit in with others" and "do not wish to be compared against".

The activities most often done alone were dining, picked by 95 per cent of the respondents, followed by shopping (84 per cent), working out (84 per cent), watching movies (75 per cent), travelling (60 per cent), drinking (48 per cent), driving (43 per cent) and going to karaoke (31 per cent).

Newly coined words such as honbap (eating alone), honsul (drinking alone), honyeong (going to the movies alone) are becoming more common, according to Saramin.

"Hon" is the first syllable of the word "Honja" which means to do something alone in Korean.

From the total respondents, 86 per cent said the spread of the individualistic culture was a "positive" phenomenon.

In the multiple responses to the question why they thought the trend was good, 67 per cent said "no disturbance from others", followed by "autonomous activities" (55 per cent), "less emotional effort" (53 per cent), "individual characteristics are respected" (45 per cent) and "overall efficiency" (43 per cent).

For the spread of the individualistic culture, 44 per cent of the respondents accredited the manifestation of individualistic values as the key factor. Twenty per cent picked stagnating economy, 12 per cent selected the increase in the number of unmarried people, 9 per cent said the increase in the youth unemployment and 5 per cent said the changes in the definition of a family.