20 Reasons Why You Don’t Like Being Around People

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Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you face and overcome the issues that are making you not want to be around other people. Simply click here to connect with one via BetterHelp.com.

Are you one of those people who just enjoys his/her own company?

There’s just something calming about being surrounded with your own thoughts, doing whatever your heart desires, and wearing (or not wearing) what you please.

Throw in a glass of wine (or cup of hot chocolate) with a couple books, a Netflix binge, a pet, or video games, and you’re in heaven.

People just interrupt your peace and tranquility. And to be perfectly honest, there’s no one you’d rather spend time with than yourself.

Or have you recently developed a hatred of being around people? Perhaps after the COVID lockdowns, you are finding it more difficult to drum up any enthusiasm to go out with friends.

Could it be you have no desire to be around anyone because you have no desire to do…anything? 

Are you avoiding people because you fear making a huge fool of yourself? Is the fear of embarrassing yourself in a social setting enough for you to avoid being around anyone at all?

Whatever your reason may be for not wanting to interact with anyone, it’s likely this has become a major cause for concern because of repeated complaints or comments from well-meaning friends and family members about your reclusive tendencies.

So, now you’re wondering why you don’t like being around people. Is this normal? 

Below are 20 different plausible reasons you dislike being around people. By going through this list, you are likely to find one that describes you and your situation perfectly.

1. Mental health challenges.

Isolation is a symptom of different mental health illnesses and phobias. The longer these conditions are left untreated, the worse the symptoms become. Therefore, if you suspect you hate being around people because of one of the following illnesses or phobias, it’s crucial you seek help from a mental health professional.

The following are just some of the illnesses and phobias that are associated with isolation. Because this is not a definitive list, please seek guidance from a licensed mental health professional if you are concerned about what you’re experiencing.  

Depression

Depression is a common mental health disorder that affects around 5% of adults, according to the World Health Organization. This disorder affects more women than men and can lead to suicide in severe cases. 

Some symptoms of depression include:

  • Sad mood and/or loss of interest in life
  • Fun or pleasurable activities have suddenly lost their appeal
  • Feeling of guilt or worthlessness
  • Lack of hope
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
  • Increased fatigue and decreased energy
  • Insomnia, especially waking up early 
  • Sleeping excessively
  • Changes in appetite: Either increase or decrease in appetite
  • Difficultly concentrating and making decisions

One of the most common signs of depression is isolation or social withdrawal. A clinically depressed person typically feels a powerful urge to pull away from people and shut down. However, isolation only serves to worsen the illness and intensify the brain’s stress response.

Studies have shown that people with greater depressive symptoms experience negative social interactions more frequently, react more strongly to them, and have a lesser sense of belonging within them. 

If you have depression, this could be the reason you don’t want to interact with anyone.

Social anxiety disorder

Also known as social phobia, social anxiety is one of the most common types of anxiety disorders. People who suffer from it find everyday interactions difficult because of an intense fear and anxiety over being scrutinized and negatively judged by others.

People with social anxiety fear humiliation and embarrassment in social situations, which causes them to avoid such gatherings. They can worry about social situations weeks before the interaction and often avoid such places and events altogether.

This disorder tends to happen more frequently in women, adolescents, and young adults. Research has shown a strong correlation between social anxiety and depression. Left untreated, social anxiety can lead to feelings of frustration, isolation, and depression. While anxiety often occurs as a symptom of depression.

Symptoms of social anxiety include:

  • Fear of situations where there is a possibility people will judge you negatively
  • Worry about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
  • Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers
  • Fear that others will notice your anxiety
  • Fear of blushing, sweating, trembling, or having a shaky voice
  • Avoiding activities or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment
  • Avoiding situations where attention will be on you 
  • Worrying about social situations in advance
  • Intense fear or anxiety during social situations
  • Scrutiny of your performance and identifying flaws in your interactions after a social interaction
  • Expecting the worst possible consequence from negative experiences during a social situation
  • Feeling your “mind go blank,” or sick to your stomach
  • Difficulty making eye contact, being around people you don’t know, or talking to people in social situations, even when you want to

If you have social anxiety, you may want to make friends and interact with the outside world but feel unable to overcome the overwhelming anxiety you feel in social situations. So you avoid social interactions.

Avoidant personality disorder

Avoidant personality disorder, also known as intimacy anxiety disorder, is another anxiety disorder where sufferers fear rejection so much that they choose to avoid people instead. They prefer to isolate instead of risking being rejected in a relationship.

A person who has this disorder has an intense fear of being judged or embarrassed. This fear results from feelings of inadequacy and the belief that other people are judging them as badly as they judge themselves.

Common symptoms of this disorder include:

  • Feelings of inferiority, shame, incompetence, or self-loathing
  • Few to no close friends
  • Avoids activities or jobs where contact with other people is required
  • Highly sensitive to criticism or disapproval
  • Fear of making a mistake or doing something wrong
  • Reluctant to get involved with others
  • Extremely reluctant in intimate relationships
  • Reluctant or unwilling to try new things out of fear of embarrassment

Although very similar to social anxiety disorder, the major difference with avoidant personality disorder is that someone suffering from it will avoid most or all social areas of life. Someone with social anxiety disorder may experience social anxiety in specific situations and not necessarily in all social situations.

Social anhedonia

Anhedonia refers to reduced interest in activities one used to enjoy and a decreased ability to feel pleasure. This can be physical anhedonia, which is defined as an inability to feel palpable pleasures such as eating, touching, or sex. It can also be social anhedonia, which is an increased disinterest in all aspects of interpersonal relationships and a lack of pleasure in social situations.

Signs of social anhedonia might include:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Lack of relationships or withdrawal from previous relationships
  • Reduced interest in previous hobbies
  • Loss of libido or a lack of interest in physical intimacy
  • Reduced ability to feel and show an emotional response to social and non-social pleasure
  • Negative emotional responses to positive situations or events
  • Difficulty adjusting to social climates
  • Experiences fewer positive feelings toward the people around them
  • Pessimistic toward positive future events
  • Communicates with a flat vocal expression that makes them sound uninterested, accompanied by a flat facial expression

People diagnosed with depression or schizophrenia have a higher risk of developing anhedonia. Other risk factors include having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a past traumatic experience, a chronic illness, or an eating disorder.

If you are avoiding being around people because you are disinterested in social situations and have suffered from any of the other risk factors, it’s possible you might also be suffering from social anhedonia.

Cherophobia

Cherophobia is the fear of, or an aversion to, being happy. People with this phobia are afraid to take part in activities that would be characterized as fun. A person with cherophobia is not necessarily a sad person. Rather, he/she:

  • Experiences anxiety at the thought of going to a happy social gathering, like a party, concert, or other similar event
  • Rejects opportunities that could lead to positive life changes
  • Refuses to participate in activities that most would call fun

They fear that something bad will follow when they experience happiness or joy. As a result, they avoid activities that could bring happiness to ward off or prevent anything negative or bad from happening. 

Introverts and perfectionists are likely to experience this phobia. An introvert because they are not comfortable in large group settings, loud places, or places with many people. A perfectionist because they feel happiness is a trait of lazy or unproductive people, so they avoid activities that could be fun or make them happy because they see these activities as unproductive.

If you avoid socializing and being with other people because you fear too much fun and happiness will bring you bad luck, it’s possible you are suffering from cherophobia.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that causes extreme mood swings between mania or hypomania and depression. These mood swings can occur frequently (multiple times a year) or rarely. 

Symptoms for BPD can vary from person to person, but the manic or hypomanic episodes include three or more of the following symptoms:

  • Abnormally upbeat, jumpy, or wired
  • Increased activity, energy, or agitation
  • Exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria)
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Unusual talkativeness
  • Racing thoughts
  • Distractibility
  • Poor decision-making (going on buying sprees, taking sexual risks, or making foolish investments)

The depressive episodes include symptoms severe enough to cause noticeable difficulty in day-to-day activities. Symptoms include five or more of the following:

  • Feeling sad, empty, hopeless or tearful 
  • Reduced interest or feeling no pleasure in all or many activities
  • Fluctuating weight—weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, decrease or increase in appetite 
  • Either insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Either restlessness or slowed behavior
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Decreased ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
  • Thinking about, planning, or attempting suicide

People with bipolar disorder desire to have close connections with other people but find it difficult to interact with anyone because they are afraid of being abandoned. This fear can cause them to act impulsively or aggressively to keep loved ones close to them.

A fear of abandonment does not necessarily mean you have bipolar disorder. But if you experience multiple symptoms under the manic/hypomanic and depressive episode categories, AND you have hang-ups regarding your close relationships, it would be beneficial to discuss things further with a licensed mental health professional.

2. Introversion.

Some people just prefer their own company. They don’t hate being around other people, they are not shy, and they don’t suffer from low self-esteem. Social situations exhaust them and they would prefer to use their limited energy on solitary activities. 

A typical introvert likes nothing more than being alone. They can drum up energy to be around people, but it’s usually not often or for a prolonged period. After going out or socializing in an environment where they are not comfortable, it is common for them to be completely mentally, emotionally, and physically drained. 

For introverts, the amount of energy and effort required to participate in “normal” social gatherings is enough to avoid them altogether.

3. Past traumatic experiences.

Past traumatic experiences can cause a person to avoid socializing. A person who has experienced trauma in their life may have learned to withdraw from other people in order to protect themself. Their experience may have taught them maladaptive coping skills to protect against further hurt, pain, or violence.

If they avoid everyone, there is little chance anyone can hurt them. By staying away from social situations where someone could possibly hurt them, they are better able to guard against it. So they avoid all people and places that could open them up to a repeat of past trauma or make them vulnerable to a new one.

If you have experienced trauma in your past, this could be the reason you avoid being around people, particularly people you don’t know well or trust.

4. Current traumatic experiences.

When going through a traumatic experience, one of the first things a person may do is retreat from social interactions. Navigating a difficult period of your life is challenging enough without having to manage a full social calendar on top of it. All your energy and focus is on getting through whatever it is you’re going through. There is little to none left over for anything else. 

It could be grieving the tragic and unexpected loss of a friend or loved one. Or maybe you’re ensnared in a toxic or violent relationship. You could be struggling to handle a bullying situation at work. Whatever it is requires your full concentration and energy. There is no time for you to socialize with people who don’t know nor understand what you’re going through. 

5. Asperger’s syndrome.

Asperger’s Syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to socialize and communicate effectively. In 2013, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) changed the classification of this disorder so it no longer stands as a diagnosis on its own. Now, it’s part of a broader category under the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is because people diagnosed with disorders on the spectrum tend to behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that differ from most other people.

The term Asperger’s Syndrome now applies to a condition that is less severe than others on the spectrum and does not include language delays. Doctors even refer to it as a “high-functioning” type of ASD. 

Symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome include: 

  • Difficulty with social interactions
  • Hypersensitivity to lights, sounds, tastes, etc.
  • Difficulty with the give and take of conversation
  • Difficulty with nonverbal conversation skills (distance, loudness, tone, etc.)
  • Experiencing loneliness and social isolation
  • Lack of social skills
  • Difficulty understanding societal norms
  • Difficulty making eye contact or stares at others
  • Does not understand the concept of personal space
  • Verbalizes internal thoughts that most would keep private
  • Has a flat tone/speaking style that lacks pitch
  • Appears to lack empathy
  • Difficult time interacting with peers

To an untrained observer, someone with this condition may seem aloof and disinterested in other people. This is because they do not understand conventional social rules.

If you have trouble understanding the rules surrounding human interactions, you might want to get checked out to see if you are on the spectrum.

6. A loathing of small talk.

Most people find small talk challenging, but some find the entire process excruciating. Little else could be more mind numbingly dull than engaging in conversation about the weather with someone you barely know or have little in common with. How many interesting things can one truly come up with to say about the sunny weather? 

Finding a neutral topic to discuss is hard when you don’t know the person you’re speaking to well enough to avoid touchy subjects or jokes. So you to stick to “safe topics” like the weather. You struggle to discuss the weather as best you can, smiling and nodding enthusiastically, hoping the conversation is not as boring as it feels. All the while racking your brain to figure out what to say next and wishing you were anywhere else.

It’s one thing if you’re with a group of people you are relatively comfortable with, such as family members, or old friends. But when it comes to chatting with people you’ve just met, you’d rather avoid any situation that would force you to engage in excruciatingly painful small talk. 

7. Low self-esteem.

You don’t want to be around anyone because you don’t want to offend them with your presence. It’s hard for you to think anyone will like you when you don’t even like yourself. After all, the reasons for a person to not like you are so many and prominent, how could they possibly disagree? Any logical person will come to the same conclusion about you that you’ve already come to about yourself. 

So you prefer to remove yourself from any situation where people could judge or make fun of you. Your low self-esteem keeps you isolated because your core beliefs have convinced you that you are not worthy of love, affection, or admiration. 

We really do recommend that you seek professional help from one of the therapists at BetterHelp.com as professional therapy can be highly effective in helping you to tackle many of the things mentioned in this article.

8. Trust issues.

It’s hard to trust someone when you’ve been hurt so much in the past. Perhaps as a child, a classmate pretended to be your friend just so the “cool” kids could laugh at you in school. Maybe a friend betrayed your trust and disclosed your personal information to someone else without your permission. Whatever the case may be, you’ve learned that people are not trustworthy. 

They say one thing, but mean another. Or they lie about what their intentions are. Often they’re just fake, pretending to be one thing, meanwhile they are another. Instead of wasting your energy trying to figure out what is true, you avoid everyone. That way, they don’t get a chance to break your trust (again) and hurt/disappoint you.

9. Reaching a crossroads in life.

Everyone comes to a point in their life where they wonder about the direction their life is taking. When your life is at a crossroads, you question the choices you’ve made, what you’ve done with your life, and what you’ve made of the opportunities you had. Questions like, “Is this all there is to life?” start to run through your mind. Sometimes you even question your belief system.

Some people are able to navigate this period of their lives with little to no outward display. Others need to withdraw to consider the doubts they’re having and the thoughts bothering their minds. 

Coming to a crossroads in your life could be the result of a traumatic experience, such as losing a loved one. It could also just be a gradual realization that the life you’ve built for yourself is not reflective of your deep core values. Now you’re faced with a decision to change direction altogether, saying goodbye to what you’ve always known/been, or continue as you always have. 

This kind of life-altering transformation requires a retreat from what you’ve known as well as deep introspection. So, you isolate yourself from the support system that stifles you as you consider your way forward.

10. Outgrowing a friendship group.

Sometimes relationships end because the people involved are growing and changing into different people. There is no big blow out or huge misunderstanding that caused you to retreat from socializing with your friends regularly. You just outgrew them or they you.

As time passed, you realized you had less and less in common. Whenever you got together, all you ever seemed to talk about was the past. The new versions of yourselves didn’t really mesh. Your lives were going in different directions or you developed different priorities. 

Interacting with them has become so awkward that it feels better just to avoid them altogether. There are no hard feelings behind your decision to isolate from them. You just don’t want to continue forcing a friendship that no longer works. 

11. A toxic friendship group.

Your friend group is toxic and you don’t have the energy to ignore the toxicity anymore. Maybe there’s something about your group of friends that brings out the worst behavior in all of you. Or perhaps there’s a person in your friend group whose toxicity is infecting everyone else.

It feels like you’re in high school all over again. Everyone is behaving like they’re starring in the 2004 film Mean Girls, even though they are all adults. You enjoy having a close group of friends, but it often feels more like a clique than a support group.

As we are all aware, toxicity spreads. You don’t notice it, but eventually it seeps into you and changes the way you act and think. Now that you’ve noticed the negative effects of your toxic friend group on your mindset and behavior, you’re trying to extricate yourself from the group. You’re avoiding their calls and being around them. 

12. Difficulty making friends. 

Making friends is really hard as an adult. It was easier to make friends as a child or teenager when you could bond while playing on the playground, working on a group assignment, or taking part in a team sport. Now the only people you have time for are colleagues at work or family members you live with. 

Between work and family responsibilities, you’ve grown distant from your friends. Finding time to reconnect or even make new friends is hard to do considering your tight schedule. But as an adult, making friends requires that extra effort. You need to schedule time to go to places where like-minded people will be. If you don’t make time out to do so, you may forever struggle with making friends and building a support system outside of your colleagues and family members.

13. Uncomfortable being yourself.

You have your quirks that not many people understand. Even people who love you don’t necessarily “get” you. While you’re not ashamed of who you are, you are reluctant to show your true self to other people. No one likes being labeled as “weird.”

When you are around people you are not totally relaxed with, you find it difficult to be yourself. You are not comfortable being yourself because you know they won’t “get” you. They’ll make fun of you, pretend to understand your perspective when they don’t, or do something else that is equally awkward.

When you know you don’t fit what people view as “normal,” avoiding situations where you feel other people will judge you for being different is preferable to letting yourself be vulnerable, only to be rejected. 

14. Stress-induced social avoidance.

A study has shown that stress can decrease a person’s desire to socialize. According to this research, after a stressful day, it’s normal to want to be alone. And it’s quite common for stress-induced social avoidance to last a couple of days.

Being under a lot of stress can cause you to pull back from your social circle. 

15. An inability to set boundaries. 

It’s difficult for you to set boundaries in your relationships. You’re afraid you will offend the other person with your boundaries and they will reject you. Besides, you’re all adults. They should know how to act, right? Not always. We all have different backgrounds and different perceptions of what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. 

Because you are not telling other people what you will allow in terms of behavior, they do what they deem is acceptable to them. This invariably leads to hurt feelings and overstepping boundaries. You end up feeling taken advantage of, disrespected, or taken for granted, and—of course—resentful.

So, to avoid all these negative feelings and experiences, you pull back from exploring new relationships. That way, you won’t have to set any boundaries or get your feelings hurt when someone oversteps the unspoken boundaries between you.

16. Sensory sensitivity.

Ugh…the noise…the smells…the crowd…it’s all just too much. Going out with friends is like an assault on all your senses. Too many things are happening at the same time. Your brain doesn’t know what to concentrate on.

You don’t mind intimate groups of people, but large crowds at a club, bar, or a concert make you anxious. Even after you leave the venue, you can still hear the pounding of the bass in your head and smell the cigarettes in your hair and clothes. It’s like your heart won’t ever calm down. You just need to lie down in a quiet, dark room to recuperate.

So you avoid such gatherings. If you’re at an age where those kinds of gatherings are all that interest your social group, you end up pulling back from your friends and going out only when they force you to.

17. Social burnout.

You spent a number of years club hopping, going to bars, and attending ragers. Now, you are burnt out. Your body can’t take it anymore. To be honest, you can’t even remember how you did all that partying back then. 

Nowadays, you like nothing more than coming home after a long day at work to your quiet home, a good movie, and a nice glass of wine (or your preferred drink). Friday nights are reserved for gaming marathons or Netflix sessions and hitting the sack at a reasonable hour. 

The lack of hangovers on Saturday mornings has you committed to this new way of life. 

18. You don’t like many people.

There aren’t many people that you like. While you don’t hate everyone, you don’t like many people either. You prefer to spend the little free time you have with people that you like. If they’re not available, you are perfectly alright with spending time with yourself.

Pretending to like someone just to socialize is not something you are willing to do. Because you’re so picky about the people you surround yourself with, you don’t go out much. 

But you prefer quality to quantity when it comes to friends.

19. Addiction.

Are you struggling with an addiction? If so, there is a tendency that you will isolate because you want to keep your addiction a secret. If you are relapsing after being clean for a while, you are very likely to retreat from friends and family because you feel ashamed that you’ve fallen off the wagon. They’ve been through so much already with your addictions that you’re too ashamed to reach out to them for help once more.

When you’re in the throes of addiction, isolation is a tool used to cover up the fact that you’ve lost control and need help. You avoid being around people in your social circle because they will be able to tell that something is wrong.

20. Fear of intimacy.

The thought of being vulnerable with someone is terrifying. Opening yourself up to other people, and allowing yourself to possibly be hurt, is a risk you are not willing to take, even with all the potential benefits. Past experiences have taught you that the only person you can depend on is yourself. Protecting yourself from pain and hurt is a job you take very seriously.

You shut down relationships with other people long before intimacy or vulnerability gets a chance to develop. It’s not so much that you don’t like people, you just cannot allow them to have the opportunity to hurt you. So, you don’t give yourself a chance to get to know the other person or them to know you.

With fierce determination, you keep an emotional distance from others. This often involves avoiding social gatherings where you could meet other people and connect with them. Once you connect with them, they’ll want to hang out some more and then you have to give them the runaround, start avoiding their calls, ignore their texts, and make up excuses not to meet up some more. Why go through all that trouble when you can avoid it all together?

Not everyone enjoys being around other people. Some like being alone because they genuinely prefer their own company and get strength from being alone. Others don’t like interacting with anyone else because of underlying mental health issues, addiction, or personal/social challenges they need help to resolve.

Before you decide whether your desire for isolation is “normal” or not, spend time in introspection to see if you have underlying fears, challenges, or issues that are fueling your drive to pull away from socializing.

Still not sure why you don’t want to be around anyone? Talking to someone can really help you to handle whatever life throws at you. It’s a great way to get your thoughts and your worries out of your head so you can work through them.

We really recommend you speak to a therapist rather than a friend or family member. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can help you to identify the root causes of your desire to withdraw and isolate while offering tailored advice to work on and through those things.

A good place to get professional help is the website BetterHelp.com – here, you’ll be able to connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.

While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.

Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.

Click here if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.

You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. The best thing is to speak to a therapist. The next best thing is to implement everything you’ve learned in this article by yourself. The choice is yours.

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