I’m the first to admit that I’m not the most social, outgoing guy in the world. When a new group is having everyone do a self-introduction, I used to try to keep with a succinct, “I’m Nathan and I’m anti-social.” Unfortunately people would often misinterpret my message in one of two ways:
- That I am making a joke and am really a very social person and should of course be pulled into all social interactions.
- That I am subtly crying for help and secretly longing to be included in all social interactions.
Neither interpretation works in my favor. For some reason some people cannot comprehend that I do not want to behave like an extrovert. And while honesty may be the best policy, it does tend to offend people or come off as surly or whiny.
Along with “I’m anti-social”, here are some other things that many people don’t seem to always understand:
- I don’t like people. I do like individuals. But just because I interact with a set of individuals individually, it doesn’t mean that I want to interact with them all together.
- Just because I’m competent and can function in society and interact with people as necessary doesn’t mean I enjoy it. Also, just because I don’t enjoy interacting with large groups doesn’t mean I’m not good at it.
- I would rather stay home with my family than go “out with the guys”. Being in a group is not relaxing entertainment, but tiring work.
- I don’t mind just sitting quietly and letting others do the talking–being quiet doesn’t mean that I’m upset or that I don’t care or that I am angry or don’t like someone.
- I’m good at talking with an individual or speaking to a hundred or more people, but somewhere in the middle I feel very awkward and uncomfortable.
- I really don’t care what people think. People are stupid. But there are a few individuals whose opinions I highly value.
Those are a few things I wish people would understand when I say that I’m anti-social. If someone feels the same way, perhaps I’ve found a new friend, and if I told my new friend “No, thank you. I don’t want to” do something, no offense would be taken.