Whenever I explain this to someone they automatically say "social anxiety disorder", but I just don't believe that's what this is. I don't get nervous around groups of people, I don't have panic attacks while in public places. But a lot of the time when I am in public settings I feel detached from myself. I feel very isolated from other people even when I'm around them. I'm very quiet in social settings and I just hate socializing.
I have never connected with anyone before, I just cannot relate to people. Outside of my family there is no one I am close to. There is no one I feel is worth me making an effort to be around. Most people my age like to party, get drunk and go to clubs. I have no interest in that whatsoever. I am a totally different person than anyone else I know and people don't get me.
It isn't really just about me being a different person than everyone else...I just don't like people. I know it sounds bad and It's not like I wish bad upon them or anything. It is just so draining for me to put on an act and talk to people so I avoid them. If there is a group discussion going on, I sit back and listen and watch everyone talk while I say nothing. Again in my head it takes too much energy for me to contribute to a conversation I don't give a damn about. I'd rather be asleep in my bed.
I feel like one of those little kids in pre school who runs away from the other kids to play by themselves. I am anti social, I just don't know why. I can't go through life being isolated but I can't help it. I get so uncomfortable when I have to talk to strangers even if it is at a cash register on line at a store. Half the time I'll send someone else out to pick something up for me just because I want to avoid talking to anyone. Seriously ordering a cup of coffee or something I have to push myself to do. My thoughts are always "leave me alone"...but sometimes I don't want to be alone. Does this sound like social anxiety disorder?
Just wanna let you know that I have the same problem - wanting to be alone emotionally, but don't want to be alone rationally. I don't know if this is social anxiety. But you have noticed that it is affecting your social life - whether you want to or not. Maybe you could seek for help from a counsellor or a psychologist.
I have been having counselling for my whatever problem it is, and I set a goal for the social problem, which is, being comfortable around people - even if I cannot relate to them. This might be the first step to start.
It is a very complicated situation for me. Some people may assume it's just being shy but it really isn't. Around my family, the LAST thing they would call me is shy. I can be loud, opinionated and I don't back down from disagreements/debates. Then I go in public and I become this withdrawn loner. I get very uncomfortable talking to people, even a therapist lol. I have HORRIBLE eye contact problems when I talk to people too. It is just an extreme uncomfortable feeling I have being around people...but I would never call it a fear and I don't have panic attacks. I am calm inside, I just feel out of place and uncomfortable to where I won't talk to people.
Last edited by ms_mod; 04-25-2009 at 08:08 AM.
Reason: Removed unnecessary quote. Ms_Mod
I think I understand your situation. It is not the exact same for me, but as time passes by and I get old, I'm finding the company of many people I know, progressively boring. I feel like they don't contribute to my at all... I feel that all the people in general are shallow and superficial. I don't find people authentic, they are all the time tring to feed their egos...and I'm getting every time more saturated with that, to the point that I'm enjoying more and more my own company.
I love to wath movies alone, eat alone... somedays I don't wanto to talk to anybody at all, jus being with myself.
I don't know if it is a problem, but I'm not trusting even my boyfriend!
I am probably way off, but have you ever looked at Asberger's? It is possible to have this and it be mild. Just a thought cause you mentioned not making eye contact and feeling comfortable with family but not others.
Leoball- I am usually calm on the inside too but i also find it hard to relate to anyone. I think what i am feeling is low self esteem; I just can't imagine anyone finding me interesting o'r fun to be with so i withdraw.
I'm guessing you are a naturally introverted person. Introverted people like spending time on their own because they find people tiring to be with. The only thing that contradicts your belief that you do not suffer from social anxiety is that you say that you are uncomfortable and out of place, i think that this is a sign of social anxiety. There's also a disorder known as 'schizoid personality disorder' and the typical trait of this disorder is a lack of desire for friendships and relationships.
Don't take my word about it but these are just the things i have read about.
I can relate to this as well! By no means do I have social anxiety disorder, but I just don't ENJOY going out or being around a lot of people. It makes me feel odd, because I feel like I'm the only person without any real friends and I have absolutely no social life whatsoever..but sometimes that's the way I prefer it.
Some days, when I feel lonely, I wish I had people to go out with..but I think I just like the IDEA of having friends to be with, because whenever I DO push myself to go out with people and try to have a good time, I never end up enjoying myself. I just don't like going out and I find it to be very tiring and draining to be around other people for a long period of time.
I prefer to just stay home, go on the computer and watch TV(low key activities like that), but it makes me feel like a freak sometimes because I'm 18 years old and feel like I SHOULD have somewhat of a life. Everyone always acts all shocked or like they feel bad for me when I say I don't go out much. Sometimes I don't want to be alone, but for the majority of the time, I only really like being around my family and myself. I don't know why or if it's a bad thing..but I can totally relate! I didn't think anybody else felt this way, so it's nice to know I'm not alone.
No you're not alone, any of you. I don't like socialising much either and I never have. Actually that's not quite true. I like having a few people around at a time, people I know well. People I feel I dont have to 'put on an act' in front of. I have very low self esteem, I feel I don't do things as well as others - for example I have a lot of trouble keeping my house clean and holding a dinner party so I feel I don't 'measure up' compared to other women. Stupid I know. So I only like to have friends around. I HATE parties because you have to sit around or even worse stand around making small talk which just kills me. I don't think it's abnormal to hate parties. I just think it's introversion. Making small talk bores me to death. I have a few close friends who I like to see. Sometimes I feel abnormal or 'like a freak' not liking parties. It's put about in the media that it's 'the right way to be' to be extroverted but there's a place in the world for introverts too! Don't stress about it any of you. Just be yourselves and do what you enjoy. Do what makes you happy. Sounds really twee but I'm sick of beating myself up for not being like everyone else.
And re the Asperger's - I don't know if having trouble with eye contact means Asperger's necessarily - I think very shy people have trouble with eye contact because it makes them feel exposed, or like the other person is 'seeing into them' if you get my meaning.
Wow, and I thought I was one of the few people on the planet to feel this way, LOL. I don't enjoy being social and have to force myself to do it. It feels like a lot of pointless work. Parties are not fun. Even when I throw a party and invite people I like, I don't have fun. LOL. I would be happy spending the day watching videos, shopping, baking, drinking lattes, going for a walk, all by myself, or perhaps with a dog. Sometimes do get lonely, though, despite having a live-in boyfriend.
I think I would like to go out with you guys, though!
Last edited by ms_mod; 05-19-2009 at 07:43 AM.
Reason: Note edit to your post, if you have your own questions please start a new thread to ask them. Ms_Mod
Hey everyone . I've been researching this up and down and I honestly think I have Avoidant Personality Disorder. It is somewhat different from social anxiety disorder.
Social anxiety disorder is a phobia of being around people, often leading to anxiety attacks in public. Like I said, I don't get physically nervous around people. I just become detached, and isolated. I feel like an alien amongst normal people where I just cannot relate or connect with anyone. People with AVPD daydream all the time about the life they wish that they had...I do this constantly. It is used as an escape from the isolation you've created.
Another difference between AVPD and social anxiety disorder is a pretty big one in my case. It's not as if I just can't function properly in public settings like those with SAD....I can't connect with anyone outside of my close family on anything other than a short, superficial level. I avoid most people, even my own extended family. I used to have acquaintances, but I've never had close friends who actually knew me. I can't get personal with anyone, I can't emotionally connect with anyone either (other than my family). Apparently with AVPD, this is due to fear of rejection. I reject others before they can reject me. So I distance myself and don't socialize with them so they won't judge me, or dislike me.
I'm pretty scared about this. I was fine assuming it was just anxiety, even though I felt it was more than that. But now that I think it is a personality disorder...this is far more serious than I ever wanted it to be. Something about the words "PERSONALITY DISORDER" makes me sound like a nutcase. Maybe I am one, who knows anymore.
It's just a label, Leoball. Don't stress too much about it. I have actually been diagnosed by a psychologist as having AVPD. And I should think to a degree I have. A combination of factors can bring it on - I think high sensitivity and low self esteem are two major ones.
The psych told me I needed to 'let people in' and learn to trust them but it's not that easy. I fear rejection more than anything and by rejection I mean ANYTHING, a tone of voice, a look. It drives me mad. I can talk to the guy in the pizza shop until the cows come home because it doesn't matter if he rejects me, but with friends, or people I might want to make friends with it's really hard and a vicious cycle. If you wanted to, you could go to a psychologist and get some behaviour management techniques to help you, if you are young (I'm 40 now) you should do it now while you can still change your patterns. Antidepressants can help too because they make you feel less sensitive to rejection and criticism. My biggest problem is I can't be myself in front of peole - only my husband and my family - and it makes me very lonely sometimes. But when I was younger - in my teens for example - I did have good relationships with friends and I wasn't like that. It seems to be something that's got worse with the passage of time. I wish I could reverse it!
But don't feel scared and alone. I'm sure LOTS of people in the world have this to a certain degree and just because you have it doesn't make you some sort of freak. If you met me you would think I was a perfectly normal fully functioning person - which for the most part I am - and you are too.
Me again. I've just read your first post again where you say you don't want to talk to anyone, not even go out and pick something up. I don't feel that way. <IN MY OPINION> I wouldn't diagnose yourself from the internet. It's a very dangerous thing to do. We can all read the symptoms for any 'disease' and fit all of them!! Lol! I'm not saying you haven't got it (AVPD) but you might not. You might have something else. It could be social anxiety disorder or it could be anxiety or depression or something else entirely. So the best thing for you to do would be see your doctor and get a referral to a psychologist. At least then you'll know for sure because self-diagnosing on the internet can just make you feel worse and start imagining all sorts of things which might not be true. I looked up the symptoms for Asperger's seven years ago and was beside myself because I was convinced that I had it. Given my history I still might, but since that time I've found the idea of having it bothers me less and less. Everyone's got their own quirks. The worst thing for me is the loneliness and the sense of isolation.
As I said, I've been diagnosed with AVPD and the symptoms I have are:
1) fear of rejection from friends.
2) very low self esteem
3) I like being around people but am not all that comfortable with them because I fear they will negatively judge me.
4) loneliness because I feel I can never 'be myself' around people - I'm too busy trying to be 'good, funny, in control, etc etc etc)!
5) I never have any trouble with brief interactions with people, ie at the shops etc. I work as a receptionist, see people all day and am very friendly and funny with them (but lonely inside!)
Last edited by ms_mod; 05-22-2009 at 05:15 AM.
Reason: As per the posting rules, always use whole words in your posts. Ms_Mod
I don't really diagnose myself, I just try and find the right direction to look in. When I had asked others about this who have AVPD, they claimed I sounded very much like them. They said once AVPD becomes severe enough, total isolation can occur. On websites it even said these people often chose jobs that require little to no social interaction.
All I know is I'm never myself around anyone other than my family. I push people away constantly if they try to talk to me, and I feel incredibly out of place wherever I am. I constantly worry about others disliking me, to the point of it being an obsession. My main thoughts are about how others will perceive me. I refuse to be vulnerable around anyone, and I don't even know how to get close to people...or have a real conversation for that matter. This is why I constantly day dream, to avoid feeling lonely and isolated. Because no matter who is around me, that is how I feel. Extremely guarded, withdrawn and isolated.
I feel like I am going through life alone and I don't know how to stop being so introverted. You can put me in a room full of people who are socializing, and I'm the girl in the back of the room waiting to leave. Hell, if one person I don't know tries to strike up a conversation with me it's like pulling teeth! I just respond with as little as I can "Yeah...mmm hmmm....okay...bye". All while avoiding eye contact frequently.
One thing that was written about AVPD that struck me was when it was said that they tend to talk slow because they chose their words carefully in fear of saying the wrong thing. I do this all the time. I talk with frequent pauses in my sentences, because I fear saying something stupid or even saying something rude to someone by accident. I can't diagnose myself, but I have a ton of similarities to others with this disorder.
Last edited by ms_mod; 05-22-2009 at 05:17 AM.
Reason: Removed unnecessary quote. Ms_Mod
I wasn't trying to tell you what to do in terms of not diagnosing. I just didn't want you to get anxious about something that you might not have. Some of what you've said in that last post sounds like me too. Especially about being the one in the group of people standing at the back wanting to leave. And I worry about people disliking me to the point where it's an obsession. that's the rejection thing coming out again. it's very frustrating because I don't like everyone and yet I need everyone to like me, it really bugs me if someone doesn't. i'm frightened of sounding rude and offending people too and after I've had a social contact will think about it afterwards and go through it to see if i've said anything that might make them not like me. it drives me quite literally crazy. And the reason I often don't want to see people - because I do like being with people - is because of that afterwards thing when I'm worrying about how I've 'performed'. I can never just let go and be myself. I don't even know what 'myself' is anymore!! One key thing that the psychologist told me was that after a social event I wasn't allowed to think about it and go through it, I just had to let it go. Do you have any close friends? I used to but now the only person I really talk to is my husband and not so much because he's a very different person - very black and white - and doesn't really understand. He's very confident and never doubts his own judgement - two strengths I wish I had.
Wow you do sound a lot like me. No I don't have any close friends, I never really had close friends. I am also envious of confident people, I can't understand how it's so easy for them.
I had a job a few years ago where some of the co workers didn't like me. I don't know why but they just didn't, and I didn't like them. I quit the job instantly because I was so hurt that they didn't like me. Especially since it was in such a short amount of time they just immediately decided to be rude. It took me a LONG time to stop dwelling on it. I would sit there every day thinking about it over and over again. To this day I sometimes think about what I could have possibly said that made them dislike me.
I worry about people disliking me even when it doesn't really happen. I will just imagine going somewhere and seeing a guy I found attractive...then doing something SO humiliating in front of him. The constant 'what if this happens' in my mind makes me overly cautious with everything I say and do. I need to walk slow so I don't trip and fall in front of people, I need to talk slow so I don't slip up and say something stupid etc. It's almost like I want to plan and control everything I do before I do it, so that way I know I won't look bad to anyone. So much going on in this head of mine....
Last edited by ms_mod; 05-22-2009 at 05:19 AM.
Reason: Removed unnecessary quote. Ms_Mod
re the coworkers not liking you - I think sometimes with groups of people they can sniff out your vulnerability and play on it. basically avpd is an anxiety disorder. If you're worrying about experiencing rejection (as with your coworkers) then it sets up a fear of the same thing happening again. in the same way a person with lactose intolerance avoids milk because it makes them feel bad a person with avpd avoids social contact because negative social contact makes them feel bad. it's that simple. it's just that people can live without lactose, but not so easy to live without social contact!
the only thing I can say to maybe help you is that I've shifted my focus over the last year from wanting to be liked, to wanting to have fun, as much fun as I possibly can. And setting up my life to do as many enjoyable things as I can. I used to play the flute back in high school so I took it up again and joined an orchestra. I'm going to audition for a play in a couple of weeks. I enjoy doing these things. i love the orchestra because it's a variety of ages and it's a bit like a family. i don't try too hard to make friends but when I'm there I have a feeling of belonging that is quite unusual and very nice. I find it easy to be with people in a situation where they're not they're because they're my friends - if you get my drift. like talking in a group of people at one of my kids' soccer games is easy because it's not a designated 'social setting'. I don't feel I'm being judged on my social abilities.
Okay. I just need to say that I am EXACTLY like you. I felt like there was no one out there like me.
I don't even need to explain how I am because it would be the same words that you have used. It's so confusing
leoball -- you have a great way with words on here! Reading this thread has been very interesting and I can't even begin to tell you how I can ironically relate to you...not being able to relate to other people.
You are definitely not alone. I feel like I'm the only 23 year old who would much rather prefer to stay home on a Friday night watching TV or playing on the computer than going out to loud, crowded bars and socializing. What most people consider fun is what I consider stressful and a waste of time/money.
As for the job thing -- I specifically found a job where I literally don't have to interact with a single person all day. I sit in my cube and 8 hours could go by where I don't say anything to anyone --it's wonderful. I still have met some co-workers though, and although I hate socializing I'm a likeable person, people always want to hang out with me and I am always coming up with excuses not to. I hate it but it's worth not having to sit through people talking about things I could care less about and me freaking out about trying to pretend I like 'hanging out' with them.
Thanks for this thread, it made me feel better I hope it has helped you
Im so glad I found this thread I am in the same boat as you all seem to be. Avoiding social settings, friends and even work now for fear of negative judgement. I'm so lonely sitting alone in my room all day but it's easier, in a way. This is a tough road to be on I really hope to overcome this fear and live free. Knowing there are many out there likes us is a little comforting.
i agree 100%- i remember the first time someone said to me "i hate people" and i was like- wow that's cruel - people aren't all that bad- but then i realized i felt the same way- i hate people too ( of course it's not that i really hate people it's just that i hate myself so much that i put it out there that i hate people)-i used to be a totally social butterfly- i loved bars- parties- BBQ's- family gatherings then someone in my family became an alcoholic and there was never a normal family dinner again- everytime we were together it was like a time bomb- when is she going to explode? no one could relax- there were no more laughs and fun conversations only tension and wanting the night to be over- then i married an alcoholic- not so smart!! he was controlling and an absolute embarrasment in any public place and i became introverted and started avoiding any group of people except those i worked with- we divorced but all of the bad memories stayed with me and i found the only true happiness was being alone and never having to talk to anyone unless it was work related- i am like the other poster as i sometimes still do get invitations to go out and do things but i always find some excuse to say no so the invitations become less and less as the years go by- it's just that i feel i need to be "on" and "interesting" and "funny" and "sexy" and "charming" but i am NONE of those things nor do i want to be - i have tried dating but it is a DISASTER because 15 minutes after we get to where ever we are going i am already turning around scenarios in my head as to why i need to leave- i always have someone call me on my cell so my "emergency" can get me out of the date- needless to say i have no second dates nor do i want any- so yes- i hate people but at the same time i am so incredibly lonely- i long for one friend i could just be comfortable with- one friend i didn't feel i needed to try so hard to impress- one friend that just liked me for me without any pretense whatsoever but i know that will never happen- i am destined to be alone and lonely for the rest of my life-