Are you at a point in life where you don’t feel like being around others?
Welcome to the club.
First things first, there’s no reason to feel bad about this.
You see, not wanting to be around people shouldn’t be seen as a negative thing.
In fact, there are plenty of possible reasons you don’t want to be around anyone at the moment and many of them are positive.
Here are 15 to think about:
1) You struggle with small talk
So how’s work going? Are you looking forward to the game this weekend? It’s been sunnier than usual recently, don’t you think?
Small talk inevitably crops up everywhere, and people do it to be polite.
It’s a way to have brief exchanges with people that shows you’re engaged and being conscientious.
Most cultures have some level of small talk – be it asking about someone’s work or relationship or commenting on the weather.
For instance, the English are especially known for talking about how miserable the weather has been.
Now, no one has ever been called a ‘bad’ person for offering up their small talk…
…But small talk can get exhausting and boring.
I personally think it’s the worst at family gatherings when others ask you when you’re going to settle down with someone and have kids, or how your job is going.
If you’re anything like me then a reason for not wanting to be around others could be that you struggle a lot with small talk and you can’t face the prospect of chatting nonsense with others.
In my opinion, it’s a valid reason for saying ‘no’ to events when you know it’s going to be a theme.
2) You’re introverted
We are all made differently and that’s what makes us so interesting.
Some of us are more introverted; some of us are highly extroverted; some are a hybrid!
What’s more, we evolve and change, and can move between different ways of being throughout our lives.
For instance, in my late teens I was highly extroverted and a loud personality at parties and gatherings. I wanted everyone’s attention!
However, these days I’m much more content when I’m not the center of attention.
In other words, I’m much more mellow and reserved as an adult and I’m someone that doesn’t want to be around others very often.
I go to great lengths to make this my reality: I take myself away on trips by myself and I stay in places on my own. I like to unplug without my phone and not feel any pressure to communicate with other people.
It’s safe to say: I’m an introvert.
Now, if this sounds like you but you’re not sure whether you really are, take a test!
There are loads of tools that can help you get clarity. For instance, the Myers-Briggs test will help you discover where you sit on the introvert-extrovert scale, and it will help you get clear on your personality type.
You see, knowing you’re an introvert, by definition, can help you better understand yourself.
3) You’re happy with how life is
Now, as I say, things ebb and flow.
Just as we go through phases where we feel more outgoing and more reserved, we can similarly move between feeling more and less content with life.
This means you might crave other people’s attention and company when you’re feeling less content and need more reassurance, while you may want to be totally unbothered by others when you’re feeling content.
You see, during windows of time when we’re feeling content, it can be a great time to create and knuckle down on any projects.
Simply put, a reason you might not want to be around others could be that you’re in a place where you’re happy with how life is.
As in, you don’t feel like you need to add any more people, things or experiences to the mix right now…
…You’re simply just happy.
If this is where you’re at, embrace it!
There’s no need to cause a fight within, and to think of yourself as weird for wanting to enjoy being content alone.
I say this because I’ve been there! I’ve felt like I’m unusual for choosing solitude….
…But, truthfully, when you listen to what you need and honor yourself, magic happens!
4) You don’t suffer with FOMO
We live in a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) culture.
Social media plays a big role in causing people to feel left out, and as though life is passing them by while others are having all the fun in the world.
In my experience, seeing people at weddings, birthdays and in tropical landscapes does nothing but make me feel slightly miserable – even if my day was going just fine beforehand!
Truth is, it’s one reason why I struggle to use social media platforms these days. The FOMO I experience is involuntary.
Now, many people have FOMO that drives them to do things they don’t actually want to do, just for the sake of feeling like they’re not missing out.
On the other hand, if you don’t feel the desire to drag yourself along to things when you don’t feel like going, it could be that you don’t have FOMO.
This is something to celebrate!
You see, having FOMO is a sure-fire way to cause unhappiness.
This is because you’ll essentially be doing things not because you want to, but because you feel like you should. Note the difference!
If you don’t have FOMO then you’re one of the lucky few.
5) You need solitude to work well
Now, this largely depends on the type of work you do, but it’s true that solitude is a time for creation.
As I said earlier, if you’re in a content place with yourself then solitude is a powerful portal to produce some of your best work.
This could be writing songs, poems or books, art, coding websites or making ceramics… It could even be studying law or philosophy.
It’s said that artists from Frida Kahlo to Vincent van Gogh thrived in isolation.
You see, there is so much noise in the world and it can make concentration so much harder than it needs to be.
I personally think if we’re too invested in others and the outside world, we’ll never get anything done!
On the other hand, when we hunker down and shut out the world, it’s true that then it is the time we can concentrate fully on what matters to us.
In solitude, our work can flow better.
In my experience, it’s in my quiet moments when I’m alone that I’m able to think straight and find the inspiration I might have been seeking.
Truth is, solitude gives way for ‘aha’ moments.
If you know it’s like this for you too, double down on it and enjoy the process of creation in isolation!
6) You’re comfortable with your thoughts
You might feel like you don’t want to be around others because you’re, simply, very comfortable with your own thoughts.
Maybe you feel like you don’t need to distract yourself from your thoughts at all.
In other words, there’s nothing you’re running away from.
Now, this isn’t to say that people who have lots of friends and social obligations aren’t comfortable with their own thoughts, but it is true that this could be the case.
Here’s the thing:
When we’re spending a lot of time with others or, at least, a lot of time talking to others on the phone, we’re less focused on ourselves.
This is obvious. But what’s not so obvious is that doing this can be a signal that you’re not comfortable just being with yourself…
…And you need other people to help you distance yourself from your thoughts.
So, if you’re someone who feels like you’re happy with your inner world and the nature of your thoughts, and you don’t feel like you need others to help you escape, celebrate this!
As I’ve said earlier, there’s nothing wrong at all with this way of being.
7) You have no time for drama
Human beings are complex creatures:
Life isn’t neat, but it’s unexpected, messy and challenging.
People run into all sorts of issues with one another and clash against different personalities.
It’s true that you’re not going to like everyone… and not everyone is going to like you!
It’s just a part of life.
Drama is inevitable whichever way you look…
…And some people love it, while some hate it and others inevitably find themselves surrounded by it.
But some people also just have no time for drama and would like to avoid it at all costs.
You might be like this, and it might be a reason why you don’t want to be around others.
Maybe you feel like drama is a waste of time when you could be putting your energy into things that are important to you.
For instance, if you anticipate that you might come across drama in a certain situation, it can be a reason you say ‘no’ to events.
In my experience, I know I’ve chosen not to be around certain people to just avoid getting sucked in by drama.
You’re not alone if you’re like this!
8) You feel other people’s problems too much
Some people love helping others figure out their problems and they’re great listeners…
…I, on the other hand, am not one of these people.
You see, I feel other people’s problems fully and it does me no good.
Much like avoiding getting sucked into drama, you might feel like you don’t want to be around anyone because you also want to avoid feeling other people’s problems too much.
I get it.
It could be that you’re like me, which means you’re a highly sensitive person.
In the past I’ve literally felt like another person’s problems are my issues.
In other words, I’ve got far too invested and taken on the issue like it’s mine. I’ve felt their rage, frustration and fear.
What’s more, when I’ve found myself taking on others’ problems, it’s deeply impacted me and caused me to feel out of whack. It’s been all-consuming.
It’s a pretty common pattern to fall into, so there’s a chance you’ve done the same.
Because of this dynamic, it’s a reason for me wanting to spend more time alone.
You see, if I’m not spending a bunch of time around others and hearing what’s going on in their lives then it slims down the chance of getting sucked into their problems…
…And it means a greater sense of harmony for me.
9) Your have low energy
You might be going through a phase where you have low energy, and it’s impacting your desire to want to be around others.
If that’s the case: it’s OK.
It’s natural and normal for our energy to fluctuate, and for us to feel more sociable and outgoing one moment and more low-key the next.
These periods may even last days and weeks, and, again, that’s OK.
Now, if you feel like you need professional help to talk through how you’re feeling then don’t be afraid to ask… There are loads of great services available!
But if it’s just a case of needing to rest and take some time for yourself, then allow yourself this window of time.
It is more than necessary to take adequate time to be in your own energy.
Simply put: it allows you to refresh and take the time to process things that are going on for you.
You see, we can easily spread ourselves too thin and give a lot of ourselves to others, while neglecting ourselves.
We’re conditioned to be givers, not takers, which can be to our detriment.
I started thinking about the layers of conditioning that run deep in society while taking shaman Rudá Iandê’s Free Your Mind masterclass.
He talks about how to break through the social, cultural and spiritual conditioning that messes with our minds.
It helped me to realize that I deserve to listen to my body when I need to rest.
I came to a place of recognising that I shouldn’t feel guilty or as though I should be doing something else when all I want to do is curl up in a ball.
What does this mean for you?
In my experience, I never regret listening to my body when I truly need to rest – it allows me to claw back my energy. And you should do the same!
10) You prefer peace and quiet
People who don’t like to be around others are sometimes considered ‘loners’ and stereotyped as being different from the norm.
In popular culture, people who distance themselves from others can be categorized as having something ‘wrong’ with them.
But a reason you might want to not be around others could be that you simply want peace and quiet.
Personally, I see nothing wrong or weird with this.
I’ve been in this situation numerous times.
For instance, I’ve extracted myself from situations and literally gone to a different country to find peace.
You see, for a long time I was super invested in my mom’s dramas to the point where it’s all I would talk about day in, day out.
It’s as though I forgot about myself and anything that mattered outside of her issues. I was totally overwhelmed with the noise of her situation.
So what did I do? I took myself away and shut the world off to try and find some peace and quiet.
What’s more, I had no regrets about doing this and learned to find the importance in validating the things going on for me personally.
11) You regret your behaviors in social situations
Now, there is something worth highlighting as a possible reason you might not want to be around others:
It could be that you have a touch of social anxiety.
Let me ask you these questions: do you sometimes find yourself feeling judged by others and fearful of what other people think of you?
Most people do… But for some people, these feelings can be completely debilitating.
A good indication of whether you have social anxiety or not is if you come away from social situations and feel like you regret your behavior.
I don’t mean during times when you’ve had too much to drink and you’re worried you’ve said something embarrassing, but just from general interactions.
Before I started regular therapy, I used to be this person.
Simply put, I would come away from being with a group of people and feel painfully embarrassed about a comment I made.
In fact, I would think about it on a loop for hours.
Knowing this happened to me from social situations meant I started to avoid them entirely. I made up excuses and reasons for not being able to attend when the truth was I didn’t want to feel bad about myself.
If you’re similar, it could be that you’re experiencing social anxiety.
The good news is that help is out there to support you if this is the case.
12) You’re really busy at the moment
Sometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be:
A reason you might not want to be around others could be that you’re just too darn busy.
Simply put, it could be that there isn’t a complex reason behind why you’re not wanting to see others… But it’s just that you’ve got a lot going on.
Maybe you have a bunch of work projects to catch up on, maybe you’re studying alongside your day job or perhaps you’re trying to do up your house…
…Or all of the above!
In my experience, when I’m super busy I tend to shut the world out.
I find that it’s far more beneficial to concentrate on the task at hand, and not to have my phone buzzing all the time or a list of other things to do.
I’ll often warn people that I’m going to turn my phone off and disappear for as long as I need to.
I personally think there’s something powerful in telling other people what you need and owning it…
…So next time you’re really busy, don’t be afraid to tell others what you need!
And embrace not being around others during this time.
13) You’re in the wrong company
You might not want to be around others because you’re in the wrong company.
Maybe you’ve had the same friends since high school and you’ve been a tight-knit group, but things have changed recently.
I experienced this.
For years, I had a close group of friends who I’d meet up with regularly. We were in school together until 18 and shared a bunch of formative memories.
However, I started feeling differently about them when I hit 25:
I started to go through an awakening and became much more interested in spirituality.
At first, I joked with them about all things spiritual like astrology, tarot cards and Law of Attraction books…
…But then one day I decided that I didn’t feel comfortable laughing at the things I cared about.
In fact, I felt uncomfortable.
So I found reasons to not hang out and I started distancing myself from them. I still see them occasionally but not like we used to.
You see, people grow and evolve each day, and sometimes we outgrow people…
…And that’s OK!
If you’re feeling like you don’t want to spend time with your own gang, be courageous enough to create the distance you need and trust that the right people will align in your life.
14) You’re a deep thinker
You might feel like you’d rather be alone as you prefer deep thinking, and questioning the nature of reality and the Universe.
Maybe you can’t do small talk and would rather enjoy thinking about the Big Bang.
I’m like this.
However, if you’re not wanting to be around others because you’re a deep thinker, it goes hand-in-hand with being in the wrong company.
You see, there are many deep thinkers out there too…
…People who are just as curious as you!
But if the people you’ve been hanging out with are talking about celebrities and reality television then it’s no wonder you’d rather be on your own.
If this is the case, my advice is to find events where you might meet like-minded people and to build a network of people who get you.
15) You’re trying to figure yourself out
During times when we’re going through change and trying to figure out our values, goals and desires, it’s common that we want to retreat inwards.
What’s more, it’s not only common but necessary!
So if you’re going through a period like this, it could be a reason why you don’t want to be around other people.
You see, when we’re trying to figure out who we are and what we want, it’s best to shut the noise of the world out and to hear our own voices.
Here’s the thing:
How can you make sense of what you really want if you’re just listening to other people all the time?
Truth is, you’ll be living your life according to other people’s ideas and ways of being when you’re always plugged into the wider world.
I spent far too many years doing this, and eventually came to learn that the magic is in being alone when you need clarity.
Don’t be afraid of it, and embrace all of the things you can do alone like writing, painting and singing.
Enjoy the journey of figuring out what’s important to you.