Individualism is the extent to which people feel independent, as opposed to being interdependent as members of larger wholes.
Individualism does not mean egoism. It means that individual choices and decisions are expected. Collectivism does not mean closeness. It means that one 'knows one's place' in life, which is determined socially. With a metaphor from physics, people in an individualistic society are more like atoms flying around in a gas while those in collectivist societies are more like atoms fixed in a crystal.
The degree to which actions is taken for the benefit of the individual, or the benefit of the group.
This dimension represents the relationship between the individual and the group in a given society.
An individualistic society is a culture of the "self" where individuals are expected to take care of themselves and ties between individuals are loose.
A group (or collectivist) society gives preference to belonging to the "we", where individuals are loyal and contribute to the wealth of their family, clan or organization in exchange for reciprocal group support.