Social Question

cookieman's avatar

Should I be concerned that I am generally uninterested in social contact?

Asked by cookieman (31120 points ) January 5th, 2014 from iPhone

To be clear, I’m not antisocial or asocial. I’m not hostile toward other people. In fact, I’m pretty outgoing and kind toward people in the now. Face to face, in person. People seem to like me and speak favorably of me. I can be talkative and don’t really avoid people.

My issue (perhaps) is that I don’t put a lot of effort into nourishing current relationships and no effort into making new ones.

I dislike speaking on the phone so rarely call anyone. I’m not on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. I never think to go visit anyone. I don’t send cards or notes and rarely eMail or text. I rarely make plans to go out and have one or two friends independent of my marriage – and I’m lucky if I see them once a year.

If I bump into you or see you at work or some get together my wife agrees to, I’m great. But if not, it’s basically out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

I much prefer to spend my time hanging with my wife and daughter, reading, listening to music, working, or just being alone. I love to be alone.

But I’m a bit concerned this might bite me in the ass someday. Can I change? Should I?

Whataya think fellow Jellies?

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26 Answers

josie's avatar

I think people miss a lot by not being sociable and connecting with as many other folks as possible. I simply think it is a happier and more fulfilling way to be. People are generally wonderful critters, especially if given a chance to be so through fulfilling social interactions.

But the immediate psychological elements of that aside, the only time it might bite you in the ass is if you ever really need help, support, or just company. Investing in friendships sort of protects you from isolation when you really do not want isolation. You want as many swim buddies as possible.

augustlan's avatar

Minus Facebook, I’m exactly the same way. I’d much rather be home with my immediate family than anywhere else in the world, pretty much. I wonder about it sometimes, like, will I be lonely when I’m old and they’re gone? I don’t think so, because I’m quite content being completely alone, too. For the time being, I’m not terribly worried about it. I guess time will tell.

I do feel bad about what it probably does to my friends. Do they think I don’t care about them?

El_Cadejo's avatar

Hmmm, sounds exactly like me. It’s been working out pretty good so far. Only time I ever really go out to “do things” is when my fiance makes plans and tells me I have to go :P

zenvelo's avatar

You only need to be concerned if it bothers you. If it bothers you, you can take the time to change it. By what you say, you have demonstrated an ability to change it.

Yet don’t be surprised if no one ever gives you the time of day or ever checks in on you.

It’s your choice. As long as your spouse is okay with you, everything is cool.

Pachy's avatar

I say GOOD FOR YOU!

hearkat's avatar

I am also an introvert, and thankfully share my life and home with another introvert. We interact online more than you do, but otherwise, we lead quiet lives and are very comfortable this way.

I loathe small talk, and am uncomfortable in large groups or crowded places. You do not fit the ‘norm’ in our society, but that is not necessarily bad. As long as you stay connected to the people who matter to you, it is all fine.

cookieman's avatar

@josie: That is a great perspective. And I do worry about what you refer to in your last paragraph. “Swim buddies” — I like that.

@augustlan: ”I do feel bad about what it probably does to my friends. Do they think I don’t care about them?” I have thought this as well.

And to @zenvelo‘s point, it does kinda bother me… sometimes. And my wife is okay with it, as she is similar.

@Pachy: Well thank you elephant.

glacial's avatar

What @josie said.

cookieman's avatar

two other points to consider
I’m an only child, my father is dead, and my mother is not in my life. My two aunts (whom I’m close with) are both quite elderly and not long for this world.

Strangely, I have taught college for thirteen years and am great in front of a crowd. Loud, kinda funny, articulate. You might say engaging.

cookieman's avatar

@hearkat: ”As long as you stay connected to the people who matter to you, it is all fine.

A very good point I often forget to do.

augustlan's avatar

Being sociable solely for the sake of having people who will help you out when you need it feels sort of disingenuous to me.

josie's avatar

@augustlan

The key word there was friendships. Nothing disingenuous about being a friend.

Your answer says something about you.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man- Can’t remember the author

KNOWITALL's avatar

Finding quality people is hard, maybe you’re just picky like me lol.

augustlan's avatar

Friends do help each other out. That’s a lovely byproduct of a naturally occurring friendship, no? I just mean that the idea of seeking new friendships to be sure you have enough ‘swim buddies’ seems disingenuous. Even if a new legitimate friendship is formed, the original motive kind of creeps me out.

What do you think my answer says about me?

josie's avatar

House by the Side of the Road

Sam Walter Foss

link

hearkat's avatar

@cookieman – In my case, “the people who matter” to me are my family which consists of my son and my fiancé. My other relatives do not mean as much to me. My closest friends are more like siblings than my real siblings are – and they understand and accept that I am not an outgoing person. When we do interact, it’s as if we’d been in touch all along. If I needed them, I know they’d help me out in whatever way they could.

If there are relatives or friends with whom you haven’t nurtured relationships, would you really say that they “matter” to you? I have found that “when there’s a will, there’s a way” – if you value the company of a person, you will be motivated to interact with them.

Being good in front of a large group and speaking or lecturing isn’t the same as being outgoing and extroverted. Many performers self-identify as introverts. Introversion is not the same as being shy.

cookieman's avatar

@hearkat: Good points. If I’m being honest, the only people that really matter to me are my wife and daughter.

Is that horrible?

chyna's avatar

I am exactly the same as you @cookieman. I have one good friend from high school that I talk to at least once a week and she is the same also. I don’t cultivate friends, but people seem to think I am good friends with them because I am friendly.
I can go days without talking to anyone on the phone and if they call me, I usually don’t answer.
I love being alone and usually don’t go anywhere once I get home from work. The exception is when my brother calls and wants to go to dinner or just wants to hang out with me. I am so comfortable with him that I always pick up his calls or see him anytime he wants.
Hopefully I will die before he does because there will be no one else to take care of the funeral arrangements.

cookieman's avatar

I agree with that @KNOWITALL.

hearkat's avatar

Of course I’m not going to say it’s horrible, since my ‘priority people’ are just as small in number.

I suggest you consider what about the scenario is really bothering you. It seems to me that either you have everything you want and need for social interaction, but are comparing yourself to someone else’s ideal; or there is a sense that there is something lacking in your life.

marinelife's avatar

Actually, you sound a lot like me. Andy and I prefer to spend our time together.

I have worried about it some myself. Health experts say that people that have strong friend networks live longer.

I have some very close friends, but it is likely that we only see them once, maybe twice a year.

I’m not sure what the answer is.

Paradox25's avatar

No, I don’t, because I’m similar. We’re all different, so not one size fit all. I do feel that being around people whom you connect with is defintely a plus, but at the same time being around others where there is little connection can be very counter intuitive for your mental health too. Also, not all people need as much social interaction as much as others do, so I’m not sure why some extroverted people have difficulty understanding that simple point.

Haleth's avatar

Most of the people in this thread are agreeing with you, but most people on fluther self-identify as introverts so you’ve got a skewed sample.

You wouldn’t have asked if something about the situation didn’t sit right with you. Does it seem like something is missing from your life?

Maybe the people you have met so far are pleasant enough, but you have enough in common to merit a deeper relationship. They aren’t what I call the “true companions of the soul.” People like this are few and far between, and you’ll be lucky to meet a handful of them in your lifetime. But if you close yourself off to new relationships, chances are you won’t meet them at all.

It’s possible to be open to people without being a nonstop social butterfly. You can let people in gradually and let the relationship progress in a quieter way.

You can’t (and shouldn’t) fake a friendship. It’s possible that you haven’t met the right people yet, and nobody you’ve met has interested you enough for you to put effort into the relationship. When you really connect with someone, it feels different, and being around them is engaging and enriching. Those friendships can be rare. I’d suggest being open to the possibility of meeting somebody like that, even if you aren’t actively looking, and maybe varying your routine a little.

snowberry's avatar

I agree with @Haleth. What a kind and sensitive answer!

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, because it’s unhealthy longterm. But with the right help you can change.

cookieman's avatar

Thank you @Haleth. Some very good points.

@All: Thanks a heap. This has been most helpful.

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