9 reasons you don’t like being around other people, according to psychology

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Even the social butterflies out there have those days when being around others feels like a slog. 

For some people, this social exhaustion happens more often than not.

If you’re the type to tire easily in the midst of a party of networking event, there are 9 perfectly valid reasons why might not enjoy the company of others, according to psychology.

We’ll be exploring the top reasons below, and might even be able to and some light on why you feel burned out and stressed in the company of others.

And whether these apply to you or not, just remember: It’s perfectly okay to need some space sometimes!

1) Overstimulation

Loud noises, bright lights, hectic chitchat.

All of these distracting factors add up to a feeling of being too excited, to the point where you’re overloaded with information and start to shut down.

Psychologists refer to this as overstimulation.

Being in social situations often means dealing with a flurry of conversations, swift changes in body language, and a surcharge of emotions. 

And for many, this can quickly lead to them feeling drained, irritated, or even anxious.

As a result, they decline invitations and choose prefer not to be around people altogether.

Usually, this isn’t at all because they dislike people, but an indication that they’re approaching their overstimulation threshold and need some time to recharge.

2) Social anxiety

Social anxiety isn’t always about being shy or introverted. 

For many (myself included), it’s a genuine, nail-biting fear of social situations that often causes visible physical symptoms like a pounding heartbeat, sudden sweats, and even shaking all over like a leaf.

Social anxiety is often a vicious cycle, as the fear of others noticing and judging the physical manifestations of anxiety causes them to worsen.

To remedy such anxiety, many sufferers choose to avoid social situations altogether.

Psychology tells us that this is a common reason behind why some people don’t like being around others. 

It’s not that they’re antisocial or dislike hanging out with others; the physical anxiety is sometimes just too much to bear.

3) Personal space preferences

A person’s personal space is the physical space in direct proximity to them. 

Encroaching upon this space can make a person feel uncomfortable, anxious, frustrated, and a blend of otherwise unpleasant emotions. 

The amount that someone allows others into their personal space varies between individuals and across cultures, but the general takeaway is the same – you don’t want to be so close to another person that you can smell their breath.

Psychology has long noted the importance of respecting the personal space of others, and protecting your own. 

Too many violations of other people entering your personal space can leave you feeling wary and wounded, and far more inclined just to stay at home than risk any more breaches.

So if you find yourself seeking out solitude and much preferring your own company, it might be because your need for personal space is more pronounced than usual.

4) Introversion

Introversion is a common yet misunderstood trait. It’s often mistaken for shyness or antisocial inclinations, when for many, it’s simply how they recharge their energy.

Introverts gain energy from being alone and tend to lose energy in social situations, especially those involving large groups or unfamiliar people. 

In contrast, extroverts gain energy from being around others and tend to feel drained when they spend too much time alone.

If you’re introverted by nature, it’s likely that you’ll often choose solitude over regularly socializing. You might enjoy certain people’s company, but still need time alone to recharge and fill up your energy.

Being aware of this aspect of your personality can help you better manage your social interactions and remove any elements of guilt in allocating yourself the alone time that you need.

5) You just love spending time alone

No need to overcomplicate things – maybe you just absolutely adore your own company!

In the absence of needing to think about other people and keep up with conversation, you instead get quality time to dig into your favorite book, cook up a storm, or just catch up on some well needed sleep.

Society that often equates being alone with being lonely, meaning that it’s easy to forget that some people simply enjoy it. Even more than being around others. 

And this desire to spend time alone is often not because they dislike the company of others, but rather just personal preference. 

So if you fall into this category, keep doing you. Psychology touts many benefits to enjoying solitude, and you’re demonstrating your independence and ability to operate perfectly well on your own.

6) Empathy extremes

‘Empath’ is the term used to describe people who are highly sensitive to the emotions and energy of those around them. 

And while empathy is a wonderful trait that allow you to connect with others and share in their highs and lows, too much of a good thing can also be incredibly draining.

Empaths often absorb others’ emotions, sometimes to the point where they have trouble distinguishing their own feelings from those of others. 

Even a sad film or book can leave them reeling for days. They often absorb surrounding emotions like a sponge, leaving them feeling overwhelmed and exhausted after social interactions.

If you’re someone who often feels emotionally drained after being around others, it could be a sign that you’re an empath. 

Subsequently, suddenly yearning to be alone might reflect a need to recharge and protect your emotional wellbeing.

7) Bored of chitchat (but ready to discuss the meaning of life)

Some people thrive on small talk and casual interactions, and are more than happy chitchatting about the weather or the soap opera they watched last night.

Others crave deeper, more meaningful conversations, and feel nothing short of hard done by in the absence of diving deep into other people’s souls.

If you belong to the latter category, being around people might not always be enjoyable for you. 

As surface-level conversations often leave you feeling unfulfilled, you might prefer one-on-one interactions with people ready to plunge beyond discussing the the football.

But, in world where small talk is often the norm, this preference can everyday make social situations less appealing.

So a perfectly reasonable explanation for why you find yourself shunning social gatherings could be that you’re seeking more than just polite level chit-chat. 

You’re on the hunt for depth and authenticity, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

8) You just love spending time alone

No need to overcomplicate things – maybe you just absolutely adore your own company!

In the absence of needing to think about other people and keep up with conversation, you instead get quality time to dig into your favorite book, cook up a storm, or just catch up on some well needed sleep.

Society that often equates being alone with being lonely, meaning that it’s easy to forget that some people simply enjoy it. (Even more than being around others.)

And this desire to spend time alone is often not because they dislike the company of others, but rather just personal preference. 

So if you fall into this category, keep doing you. 

Psychology touts many benefits to enjoying solitude, and you’re demonstrating your independence and ability to operate perfectly well on your own.

9) Scared of conflict

Conflict-avoidant individuals can find being around others very stressful. After all, the more people you interact with, the higher the chances of encountering disagreements or misunderstandings.

This fear often stems from past experiences (for example, growing up in high-conflict situations where they were often exposed to heated arguments), or a general desire to keep the peace. 

As a result, any social situation seem like a minefield, every conversation the potential for conflict.

Although this is a common fear amongst many, it’s worth keeping in mind that avoiding any and all social interactions out of a fear of what might happen will also prevent you from experiencing new and exciting situations.

Final words

Our social preferences, much like other aspects of our personalities, are complex and deeply personal. 

So whether you’re energized by crowds and more extroverted, or typically recharge in solitude, understanding and honoring your needs is essential. 

Whatever your way you choose, just try to find confidence in your decision and do so guilt-free.

Embrace your unique individuality and recognize that your social needs are valid – regardless of how they compare to others.

 

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