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Do you feel like you’re having a hard time with socialization? Not excited or even remotely interested in trying to connect with people? Just want to curl up into a ball in bed and let the world pass you by?
That’s okay! There is likely a good reason why you’re feeling that way.
And once you understand that reason, you can find a way to get around it if you feel like it’s interfering with your ability to conduct your life.
Just remember that there’s nothing wrong with taking a break once in a while. Just because you don’t want to talk to anyone right now doesn’t mean you’ll never want to talk to anyone ever again.
So let’s get to the reasons, shall we?
1. You’re depressed.
Oh, depression. You are not at all a welcome visitor. Depression, quite literally, depresses your emotions, energy levels, and ability to “human.”
People who are depressed often don’t want to socialize because it requires a lot of mental and emotional energy to navigate other people. There’s a lot to think about, what you say, how you say it.
Even answering the question, “Hey, how are you doing?” can take a lot of energy. Do I be honest about how I’m feeling? Do I want to have that conversation? Are they actually asking how I’m doing, or are they just using a polite greeting?
Depression can be a much more complicated subject than it appears. There are many assumptions and common beliefs about what to do, what not to do, and how to deal. The reality is that the depressed person needs to get to the root of why they are depressed before applying a meaningful fix.
Not everyone with depression is suffering from a mental illness. Sometimes depression is situational. It might be related to stress, work, unhealthy habits, unhealthy eating. A person experiencing situational depression may be able to alleviate it by changing their situation.
Solution: If you feel depressed, you should consider talking to your doctor or a therapist about it. The therapist will usually be a better option because they can help you really pick through everything you’re dealing with to figure out what’s going on.
Your doctor is probably just going to write you a prescription because they don’t have the time to dig that deep. That may be necessary, but it’d be a good idea to get a professional opinion from a mental health specialist first.
2. You’re burnt out.
Burnout can look like depression, but they aren’t the same.
Life is stressful. There’s a lot to get done in a day. You may work a stressful job, manage your family, and try to keep up with all the housework that needs doing.
Then you sprinkle on all the other stresses of life and relationships and you collapse under the weight of it all.
You may find that you simply have no energy to do anything and get overwhelmed. In that situation, it’s reasonable for the person suffering from burnout to just withdraw, try to avoid overly overwhelming activities, and isolate themselves.
Solution: Everyone needs a way to manage their stress. That might be regularly exercising to get some of that extra energy out. It might be taking a trip or a day trip to break up the responsibility of life.
Look for unessential activities that can be cut out of your schedule. Maybe the kids don’t all need to have an entirely different extracurricular activity that they need stuff bought for, time made for, and work put into.
Carve some time out of your schedule solely for your own rest and relaxation, so you have a chance to recover. If you are a busy person, the best way to do it is to regularly schedule some self-care time and treat it as your most important priority – because it is. You’re no good to anyone or yourself if you’re burnt out.
3. You’re dealing with trauma.
A traumatic experience can profoundly impact how a person relates to the world and other people, especially if another person perpetrates that trauma.
The emotional responses that trauma causes can make a person withdraw because they may feel like no one understands what they’re going through or their trauma.
Also, people can be pretty mean. And it is reasonable to withdraw from people who make light of a traumatic situation or don’t appear to take that pain seriously. That’s not a problem with the person who went through something traumatic. That’s a problem with the people they’re surrounded by.
Solution: Professional support is the best way to deal with trauma. There are so many public messages out there saying things like, “Talk about it. Talk about it.” Allow me to refine that message for you: talk about it with someone that can actually help you.
So many people reach out to their friends, family, and loved ones, and then get thrown entirely off their healing path because those people aren’t equipped to deal with trauma. As a result, they can make a bad situation catastrophically worse.
It’s a much better idea to take your trauma to a therapist so you can meaningfully work on addressing it and later reach out to other people for additional support if you need it.
4. You’re an introvert.
Introversion and extroversion are commonly misunderstood. The big misunderstanding is that introversion means a person is uncomfortable with socialization. That just isn’t true. Introverts expend energy while socializing, while extroverts generate more mental energy while socializing.
Another important misunderstanding about introversion and extroversion is that they are black and white states. Few people are 100% introverts or 100% extroverts. People are usually some combination of the two.
Or, they may be an ambivert, which is a person who has a balance of introverted and extroverted features. Sometimes they gain a lot of energy from socializing, and other times lose a lot of energy from socializing.
Solution: A person feeling exhausted by socialization may just need some time to recharge their social batteries.
Introverts often need some quiet time and space to do some solo activities to recharge. This can be problematic in relationships if there is poor communication or one partner isn’t introverted.
Some people take great offense to the idea that their romantic partner might need solitude sometimes, as though there is something wrong with them. There isn’t. It’s just that an introvert sometimes needs space and quiet time to themselves before they can meaningfully contribute socially again.
5. You don’t feel worthy.
Sometimes things happen in life that makes us feel less than worthy. For example, a person who does not have a good relationship with themselves may not want to socialize because they do not feel they deserve the time or attention of other people.
They may have done something they aren’t proud of. It could also be that they are going through some hard times they’re struggling with. Sometimes people avoid socializing because they don’t want to honestly answer the question, “How are you doing?”
They are under the mistaken impression that they need to be worthy, healthy, or better than they are to deserve human contact. And that simply isn’t true.
Solution: This is a complicated one. The answer is going to depend on what the problem actually is. Your best bet would be to talk to a therapist about how you’re feeling to get to the root cause of those feelings.
6. You’re avoiding rejection or discomfort.
If you don’t have a great deal of confidence in social situations, or even have social anxiety, you may not want to talk to anyone because it’s easier for you to remain silent.
Not speaking to anyone means not putting yourself out there and not risking the discomfort of conversation or the possibility of rejection.
Unfortunately, the more you avoid exposure to social situations where you’ll have to talk to people, the safer it can feel to be by yourself all the time. You turn inward and shun the outside world purely because it’s less scary that way.
Solution: Take baby steps to expose yourself to potential conversations with others. Even a few words spoken to the cashier in a shop can help you to see that the sky doesn’t fall when you open your mouth. Gradually increase the scope of the conversations you have and keep noticing how it can actually go well and feel good sometimes.
And, again, if you have such low confidence or suffer from social anxiety, a therapist is well-placed to help you overcome these things in the medium-to-long term.
It can be hard to bring yourself to talk to someone who you don’t feel you have anything in common with. Why bother having a conversation if that person just isn’t going to ‘get’ you?
So you withdraw from people because you don’t feel like your belong anywhere. You haven’t got any close friends, you may not get on with your family, and that ‘tribe’ that everyone always tells you to find is nowhere in sight.
In essence, you don’t see the point in talking to anyone anymore.
Solution: This is going to sound ironic, but you really do have to find people with whom you feel you have some commonalities. If you hate all that small talk rubbish and you don’t know anyone who will happily talk about a very specific interest or hobby you have, try to find someone who shares that same interest. This might involve some form of virtual communication to begin with as it’s often easier to find a community of like-minded individuals on the internet. Those connections may turn into real life friendships eventually.
Of course, if you feel alienated from others even though you do happen to share some things in common, you need to get to the bottom of that feeling. Why do you assume that you can’t form good friendships with other people who have similar tastes and personalities to you? That’s probably something you’ll need to talk to a professional about.
You may be seeing a theme in the solutions we’ve presented here. The fact is that people don’t generally just withdraw from socializing for no reason. There’s a reason, and quite often, it’s a serious reason that you likely won’t be able to manage with self-help.
Those mental and emotional struggles often require the help of a trained professional to meaningfully navigate. Do talk to a professional if you find yourself in that position. It’ll be the best chance you have of identifying the issue, getting closer to a solution, and getting reconnected with people.
We recommend you check out the online therapy sessions provided by BetterHelp.com. You’ll be able to talk to a certified and experienced therapist from the comfort of your own home to get to the bottom of whatever is causing you to avoid talking to people. Click here to learn more or to arrange a session.
Isolating can dramatically affect a person’s social life, well-being, and relationships. It’s something you want to address immediately before it has a chance to do a lot of damage to those relationships.
In the meantime, do try to maintain at least a little interaction with your relationships if you are able to, even if you don’t want to. It will help keep them alive and healthy. Life can get busy and people can drift away if you don’t make a focused effort to stay connected.
You may also like:
- 8 Ways To Be More Outgoing When It Doesn’t Come Naturally
- How To Not Be So Socially Awkward Around People: 7 Effective Tips
- 10 Confidence Hacks For The Socially Awkward Person
- How To Talk About Yourself (+ 12 Good Things To Say)