Am I Anti-social, Avoidant, or Just a Loner?

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It’s pretty universally accepted that humans need social interactions in order to be mentally healthy and achieve a modicum of happiness. I typed in “humans need social interaction” in Google (it was partly filled in for me after I got through ‘humans need,’ actually) and articles populate like:

“Why We Need Each Other”

“Why We Are Wired to Connect”

“Why Loneliness is Bad for Your Health”

“Social Interaction Is Critical for Mental and Physical Health”

I’m a loner. I prefer to spend time alone, but I’m told that is bad for me. I have a daughter, who I obviously spend time with, but I get feedback that she might be learning these bad loner ways from me. So, I feel guilty for not parenting right. I didn’t grow up in a very social family. So, is it a generational thing that can be (probably unintentionally) taught to us? Do I have an actual condition or have I just fallen into “bad habits?” Or do people just need to mind their own business and stop using a one-size-fits-all definition for what is “healthy?”

I looked up antisocial personality disorder and it doesn’t fit me at all. I have a lot of empathy for others and when in social situations, I have no trouble at all conversing or being “normal.” I just don’t seek those activities out and avoid them when possible.

Avoidant personality disorder seems more like me, but that’s not quite right either. I do feel shy, anxious, introverted, and awkward, but it doesn’t impede on my functionality. I do avoid rejection or humiliation, but who doesn’t???

I also looked at emotional detachment, and again, it doesn’t fully fit me. I do choose usually be reserved and could appear “unemotional” to others, even though I do cry alone. I haven’t developed a lot of emotional bonds in recent years, but that is more of a lack of opportunity than consciously choosing to withdraw. I have felt dissociative or depersonalized, but I really think it is due to anxiety/anxiety attacks rather than a separate issue.

Yet, I can’t help but feel inadequate that I don’t have social events scheduled or hang out with people. I am also in a weird situation. I’m a single parent. I moved to a different state for a job without knowing anyone. I also moved to a very religious state that isn’t very open unless you want to convert. I guess these are all excuses maybe because if I really wanted it, I would find a way? But I also feel they are legitimate hurdles.

I looked up being a loner and some of the autofill options were:

Is being a loner ok?

Is being a loner normal?

Is being a loner healthy?

Is being a loner a personality disorder?

So obviously other people have been in this same spot. Schizoid personality disorder is when you don’t have a choice but be a loner because you aren’t hardwired for social relationships. This doesn’t feel like me either.

Back to the loner thing, I don’t shun interaction. I just don’t seek it out. It is true I am a pessimist and generally think people suck. But, it’s more in a cynical, darkly humorous way. I have feelings and feel very deeply. I just try to maintain control of them in front of people (probably to a fault). I also don’t have a lot of patience for people who ramble on about boring topics.

The bottom line is: I’d rather be alone than force myself to be around people I don’t have anything in common with just to fulfill society’s expectations of what “healthy” is. Yes, throw some depression and anxiety in there, along with self-esteem and unusual situational issues. There is a part of me that DOES want more friends. I would LOVE to find my tribe. There is a part of me that worries because my kid doesn’t see me interact socially enough. But, I also know I’m a good, smart, funny person who would never hurt a fly. At least I’m a high-functioning loner?

Famous loners:

  • Ayn Rand
  • Nikola Tesla
  • Eleanor Roosevelt (introvert)
  • Boo Radley
  • The Grinch

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Do you relate to any of this? Do you feel pressured to do this, that, and the other to fit in and be what you are supposed to be at whatever your age/social status/etc. is?

 

 

 

12 thoughts on “Am I Anti-social, Avoidant, or Just a Loner?

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  1. Shelley – Ignore that advice and read the book “Quiet”. It unravels all of the myths of introversion, even those driving the current school system. It also has a couple tips for introvert parents raising non-introvert kids 🙂 I, along with half of the population, need alone time to refuel. I’m introvert and proud 🙂 High Five!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will look into it. Thanks Beige! You are amazing, as always. ❤ I need to look into introverted parenting. I have never even thought of going that specific. Great suggestion! I read a book once about "the introverted leader." It basically just said what you would expect, that it's fine to be introverted. You just have to find your own style and way of getting your message (and influence) across. Duh! lol. 😉 Team Introverts! (I'm actually sometimes extroverted in the right situations…)

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  2. You’re just a normal introvert. I avoid meeting new people and when the situation forces me to meet new people I come off as shy/cold depending on what the other person makes from my resting bitch face. It’s totally normal not to seek out interactions especially if those interactions will result in emotional tiredness. So if you’re happy/content with the way things are than don’t give a s@#£ for what the minority says is normal.

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  3. There are paragraphs in your post that could have just as easily be written by myself. I cannot say we have a totally identical situation, I am lucky enough to have a husband who loves and tolerates me. But he is worried about me based on the same pre-conceived notion that being a loner and not having an active social life is unhealthy and really bad for you.
    I have tried over the years to get through to him that forcing myself to have empty social interactions with people I have almost nothing in common with just to tick some imaginary box, would actually be more stressful and damaging for me.
    I tried to fit the mold for a while. Just like you, I have no difficulties conversing or being “normal”. To anybody’s eyes, I am having a time of life and they do not understand why all I feel after leaving is an immense drain and relief to be at home again.
    The worst things for me are weddings or other big gatherings where I am pretty much forced to have the same conversation with half-strangers all over and over and over again until I feel like screaming 😀
    The other similarity with you is that I also moved out of my original environment – when I met my husband we lived in different countries and eventually, after two years of traveling and phone calls, I moved here. There were a lot of factors considered in that decision – family situations, language skills, financial backgrounds, social issues etc. I have not regretted it for a moment but my husband remembers me having “my tribe” and cannot understand why I haven’t simply created a new one here.
    If somebody is naturally social and perfectly happy to be mostly superficially social, it is very tricky to get through to them that you are NOT. And yes, I am a fairly cynical, dry-humored and possibly too forthright person. Intelligent enough to blend in if needed but happier to be left to her own devices. I don’t understand why I should keep apologizing for who I am and neither should you. We love, we care and take care, we have fun – all in our own way and without hurting anybody.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, this is fantastic. Thank you for sharing! I can imagine moving to a new country would definitely not “help” an introvert when it comes to finding new friends. I hope your husband learns to better understand your personality style and supports you. He is obviously a huge part of your life and provides good interaction for you. 🙂 It takes time and it’s getting harder and harder to make new friends, in my view! Be well, Shelly 🙂

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  4. I find that hitting the late twenties, early thirties mark I became less inclined to deal with people’s bullshit, drama or backstabbing. I have a small group of friends and I usually see them once a month (book club) and that’s enough for me. If I feel the inclination to hang out other than that I can always call one of them up and I’m sure we’ll do something. Finding your tribe can be hard though. Have you tried to find any groups in your area that are into something that you like? Sometimes you can meet people just hanging out somewhere you enjoy. Regardless, I don’t think any of this makes you abnormal.

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  5. I, too, am an introvert. I’ve had to force myself to be outgoing for work situations, but I always break out in an all over cold sweat (flop sweat) when I do interact socially. I usually avoid people, preferring to stay home within my own four walls. I’ve been married 29 years. My hubby is more outgoing. We’ve raised two sons. They are both usually quiet, too. The older one is a blend of me and my husband. My younger son is autistic so that brings its own issues. I learned to be more outgoing when I had to advocate on my son’s behalf. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a loner. You are who you are.

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