Why are some people not sociable?

 

We often find people withdrawn and unwilling to befriend others.  This may be the result of a system that has led us to focus only on our lives and pay little attention to having a social life.  However, it is important to differentiate if the person does not want to have friends, or if the person is shy and insecure, and this gets in the way of developing a friendship.  The number of individuals who are socially isolated due to a mental health disorder is higher than those who are isolated because they just don’t feel like socializing, i.e., apathetic indifference.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) presents a series of signs and symptoms in people who have been diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder.  A person with this disorder may exhibit unsociable behavior, have feelings of inadequacy, and be extremely sensitive to criticism.  The following characteristics may be present:

(1) Avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection

(2) Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked

(3) Shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed

(4) Is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations

(5) Is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy

(6) Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others

(7) Is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing

Like many other disorders, it is difficult to determine the exact cause of avoidant personality disorder.  However, some researchers believe that this disorder can sometimes be the result of a lack of acculturation when living in foreign lands.

There are also some schools of psychological thought that contend that, in some cases, if a child has been subjected to criticism and rejection by an important person in his/her life, the individual can develop this disorder in adulthood.  Some people have been constantly criticized and rejected as a child.  This can make them believe that they are “inadequate” or that people will always reject them.  The feelings associated with these individuals are similar to those who have been diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder.

If you sense that you are avoiding heathy social interactions and relationships, seek help from a mental health professional in your community

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