“This may sound bad, but I don’t like being around people. I even find myself getting annoyed easily when I’m with my friends. It’s really frustrating. Maybe I’m just super introverted. I know relationships are important, but why do I hate being around people?”
If you can relate to this, this article is for you.
Hating being around people could be the result of past traumatic experiences, depression, social anxiety, introversion, or Asperger’s syndrome. Alternatively, you don’t hate being around people per se, but happen to be part of a toxic friend group.
Let’s deep-dive into the most common reasons for hating to be around people:
If you’re introverted, you need alone time to recharge. You might not be as interested in large social engagements or being the center of attention. These types of events can feel draining.
Some introverts think they hate being around other people. But instead of hating people, you might hate attending events like parties, large dinners, or other events with large audiences.
Introverts are capable of forming meaningful relationships. But spending time in big groups might not be your preferred way of connection. Being around a lot of people usually feels exhausting. You would much rather spend quality time with one person or a small group of people.
If you’re interested in discovering whether you’re more introverted or extroverted, take this quiz.
Try these suggestions if you’re introverted:
You might have a threshold for how long you feel comfortable socializing with others. That’s okay. Before you see someone, make a mental note of how long you want to spend together. Knowing there is a limit can help you feel more relaxed. You won’t be awkwardly scrambling to find an excuse to leave.
Continue to socialize, but avoid typically extroverted venues like parties or bars. Seek out places where you are more likely to find like-minded. Try searching for events that you are interested in on Meetup that probably attract other introverts.
You’ll find more tips in our article on how to make friends as an introvert.
If you sometimes feel like you hate people, it’s possible that you’re just stuck in a cycle of unsatisfying small talk. You can bond faster by sharing something personal or asking a slightly personal question about the small talk topic.
For example, if you’re making small talk about the rain outside, you might ask what their favorite climate is and why. That can lead into an interesting conversation about where you’d rather live in the world. Or, you might reveal that you’re scared of thunderstorms, and this might lead into a conversation about fears. These are examples of topics that move away from small talk toward conversation where you get to know each other on a deeper level.
If a friend starts becoming vulnerable with you, make sure you pay attention. Engage in active listening (this guide by Hubspot has great tips on this skill). If they are willing to share their thoughts or feelings, some part of them believes you are safe. This may encourage you to share your thoughts and feelings as well.
Self-confidence is important for positive relationships.
Many times, hating people stems from hating yourself. If you don’t like yourself, it’s easy to spot someone else’s flaws. On the other hand, confident people tend to be more easygoing and tolerant of other people.
Building your self-esteem doesn’t happen overnight. Our guide on feeling inferior offers helpful tips for feeling more confident.
Depression is a serious mental health condition that can impact your mood, self-esteem, and relationships. If you have depression, you might feel more agitated and impatient around other people.
Depression can make you think negatively about yourself or other people. For example, you might think that everything is pointless or meaningless. You might see things in extreme, as “good” or “bad.” If you think this way, it’s easy to feel like you hate being around people.
Other symptoms of depression include:
- Problems with focus and concentration
- Feeling more tired than usual
- Persistent sadness that lasts for several weeks
- Appetite and sleep changes
- Thoughts about suicide
These symptoms can feel consuming, and they can be draining for your mental health. If you have depression, consider these tips:
If you’re struggling with depression, it’s important to get the help you need. Depression can feel isolating, but you aren’t alone. This condition is treatable. You may benefit from speaking with a therapist or trying medication or both.
For more on coping with depression, see this article from Helpguide.
If you have social anxiety, you feel excessively worried about what other people think about you.
You might experience this anxiety in specific situations, like eating in public, public speaking, or using the bathroom in public. Or, you might experience anxiety in all social encounters.
Many times, people confuse social anxiety with hating people. For example, you might assume that people are judging you. You might also believe they don’t like you, which makes you dislike them.
Here are some tips for managing social anxiety.
Think about the situations that trigger your social anxiety. Write these triggers down. Some triggers, like giving a presentation at work, might be apparent. Others might not be so obvious. Keep this list accessible and add triggers as you notice them.
If your anxiety causes you to hate people, it’s worth setting socialization goals. Start small. Make it a goal to text a friend and smile at the grocery store cashier.
Don’t expect things to feel better right away. That might not be realistic. Instead, the point of this activity is to expose yourself to various social settings. Eventually, you might discover that it’s possible to enjoy these interactions.
Quality relationships can help with social anxiety. When you feel like other people are there for you, you are more likely to feel confident.
Social anxiety can make it challenging to form these relationships. Our guide on making friends when you have social anxiety can help.
On a piece of paper, write down, “I hate being around people.” Using a scale from 0-10, identify how much you believe that thought.
Then, write down all the alternative thoughts you might have instead of hating being around people. Here are some examples:
- “I feel uncomfortable around a lot of people.”
- “I don’t like someone in my life.”
- “I don’t have good friends.”
- “I feel lonely.”
- “I don’t know how to connect with other people.”
Write down as many thoughts come to mind. Spend a moment reflecting on this paper. Now using the same scale from 0-10, identify how much you still believe that you hate people. It’s okay if your number isn’t a 0. But it probably isn’t a 10.
Friends are an important part of our emotional well-being. Ideally, they help us feel loved and understood. We enjoy spending time together and bonding over shared activities. During difficult times, we turn to them for support and validation.
But your friendships might not be as meaningful as you want them to be. If anything, they might be making you feel worse. Here are some potential red flags indicating a bad friendship:
In a healthy friendship, both people take and give from one another. The dynamic feels mutual- you both feel heard and supported.
A one-sided relationship is different. This kind of relationship happens when one person dominates most of the time spent together. They make every conversation about them. If you two are making plans, they make plans that suit them.
These people won’t readily compromise. Instead, they often seek out friends who quickly accommodate their needs.
Good friends have each other’s backs. They lift each other up. Even if you don’t agree on anything, a good friend respects you for who you are.
It’s concerning if a friend regularly criticizes you. They may insult you outright, but sometimes, it comes out more sarcastically or passive-aggressively. In some ways, these covert methods can even be crueler. If you confront them on the behavior, they might accuse you of overreacting or having no sense of humor.
Being around someone who’s chronically in a bad mood can become draining. If you’re in a friendship with this kind of person, you might find yourself wanting to fix their problems.
However, chronic complainers usually aren’t interested in practical solutions. In fact, they often aren’t aware of how their cynical attitude affects other people. Most of the time, they just want your sympathy and attention.
You also might find yourself tiptoeing around them, trying not to make their bad mood even worse. Although this strategy can work in the short-term, it quickly becomes exhaustive.
It’s frustrating when you feel like you’re the main “giver” in the relationship. This giving could mean many different things- your time, money, patience, car rides, etc.
Good friendships should feel balanced enough where you don’t feel the need to mentally keep score. Even if you “give” more exclusively in one area, they should be “giving” somewhere else. But if you feel like you’re always the generous one- and you’re getting nothing in return- it’s easy to become frustrated and resentful.
It might be time to consider making new friends. Remember that they are friendly people out there – you just need to find them. Here’s our guide on how to make new friends.