Social Question

flip86's avatar

What is it with people who can't be alone?

Asked by flip86 (6029 points ) May 19th, 2014

I notice at work that certain people can never be alone. They always takes breaks with at least 1 or 4 other people. Consistently, these people can never take a solitary break. Is this some kind of fear? They even do the same when they are working. They team up to do their work when most of us do it on our own.

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30 Answers

Mariah's avatar

That level of extroversion really confuses me too, as an introvert. The usual explanation of extroversion is that these people feel energized when there are others around and can easily get into a slump when left alone.

ibstubro's avatar

I tend to be an extrovert when out in public, but I love my alone time in private. I call it ‘self entertaining’. It amuses me to talk to strangers, but I don’t have to have strangers to be amused.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Maybe it’s that some folks prefer to operate in a “herd”. Herd is a rather apt metaphor for my notion of an office environment.

Symbeline's avatar

I’m the contrary of that, so those people probably wonder what’s up with introverts as much as I do with them. I really have no idea why people are wired in certain ways. All I know is that clingy people who just won’t leave you alone get on my nerves, and fast. I’m not saying this to be mean or funny, but sometimes, people who always talk to you and follow you everywhere as much as they possibly can literally make me feel ill and exhausted.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When I was doing my teaching internship I often skipped lunch because I didn’t have the money to buy anything. Well, the principal pulled me aside and said the other teachers felt I was being unfriendly so I needed to go to lunch with them. Really put me in a quandary. Go to lunch and just order water or something?

rojo's avatar

At work, I can go with the herd or go it alone. I think there are those who are just not comfortable alone. I don’t know if I would call it a phobia. I believe that for most it is more of an enjoyment factor, they are just happier interacting with others. I can keep myself entertained when alone but I do find I am more creative within a group setting where ideas bounce and flow.

Crazydawg's avatar

I would view it as a form of paranoid insecurity. They probably are worried that if they are not part of a group of peers that they will be excluded by their non-participation in the group.

Paradox25's avatar

Sometimes introverts can do this too. Sometimes it can be unnerving for an introverted person to be alone in a crowded environment, especially one you’re not comfortable in. Introversion doesn’t necessarily mean one wants to be alone all of the time, or in certain situations.

Coloma's avatar

I’m an extrovert by nature but have always loved and am very comfortable being alone. My thing is that unless I really enjoy the people I am socializing with what’s the point? I can amuse myself just fine, thank you very much. haha
I don’t find simply being with people stimulating. It is the TYPE of person and quality of the interaction.

I don’t get this either, and attribute it more to neediness, anxiety and insecurity. Healthy people of any temperament should enjoy alone time.

gailcalled's avatar

I have a new friend, a man in his early fifties, who is the fifth in a family of eight. He grew up surrounded by siblings, which is his normal state. Crowded, noisy, chaotic, rollicking. Oldest and youngest are girls, the six brothers were like a litter of puppies (and still are, in many ways).

I was the oldest and an only childen for almost seven years, until my brother arrived. I really dislike not having a lot of alone time. Too many people jangle my nerves,

flip86's avatar

@Paradox25 I didn’t say people should be alone all the time. What I pointed out was that certain people make it a point to never be alone.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I am the exact opposite ,don’t get me wrong ,I love Mrs Squeeky and the time I share with her but I love being alone, I really like working alone maybe that’s why I’m a trucker I do have friends but can go weeks without seeing them and thats just fine by me.
So I am the wrong person to ask about clingy people and their need to always be around others.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

There is such a thing that is known as codependency. I’m not saying that all people who can’t seem to be alone are codependents. But the ones that are need to have others around them.

Coloma's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Agreed. Good point.

Coloma's avatar

I was an only child too @gailcalled , I think that even though my basic nature is extroverted I spent a LOT of time entertaining myself as an only child born into a herd of relics. My parents were 38 and 45 when I was born and their parents were already well into their 70’s. My gregarious nature was modified by lengthy encounters with highly “proper” ancient ones. Wheres the drawing paper and pencils? haha

flip86's avatar

@gailcalled I lived in a foster home with 5 other kids for 6 years and bounced from group home to group home. I did like that environment sometimes, but I always liked having time to myself. Prefer it really.

ibstubro's avatar

I was the youngest of 3, but my mother nearly died of cancer less than a year before my birth, so I gotta believe I had to be an accident. Family lore said that even as a baby they would have to check my diaper periodically, as even a dirty diaper didn’t upset me. HA! Slow to fire, quick to burn! Perhaps I learned my anger from my father…if my later years are an indication, my siblings should have been missing body bits and pieces until I learned self restraint.

Adagio's avatar

In the last decade I have had contact with a lot of Pacifica people, they are very family-oriented and the notion that I live by myself and actually enjoy my own company is utterly foreign to them, it is simply not something they do, they live as extended families and to be alone is something unknown, there is always someone else around. I think culture plays a part in inability to be alone, although to use the word inability doesn’t quite fit somehow, it seems more like a concept quite unknown to them.

canidmajor's avatar

@flip86 : Which Q are you asking? The one as stated in bold or the one in the details (basically “Why can’t some people be alone at work?”). I would have two very different answers.

Dutchess_III's avatar

(Pretty sure he was just using the details as an example @canidmajor. People who can’t be alone at work probably hate being alone elsewhere as well.)

canidmajor's avatar

That’s not been my general observation @Dutchess_III , which is why I asked.

LuckyGuy's avatar

There is a book entitled ‘Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success’.
Some people read the book and take it to heart.

Now going to the bathroom in a group is a different story.

downtide's avatar

I am an extrovert but I’d rather go to lunch on my own than sit with those women listening to their gossip.

Coloma's avatar

@downtide Agreed, I can’t stand gossipy women. Bleh!

flip86's avatar

@downtide Some men are just as bad with the gossip.

@canidmajor As @Dutchess_III said. It was just an example.

Paradox25's avatar

Some men are just as bad with the gossip. Typical stereotyping hides this fact. I used to love jobs where it was justifiable to wear ear protection (mandatory or not), not to shield my ears from excessive noise, but to avoid hearing guys complaining about some other guy, department or shift.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My husband gossips like nobodies business!

downtide's avatar

There aren’t many guys in my office but the few we do have are mostly around my age and none of them gossip. Except about football.

Paradox25's avatar

@Dutchess_III Drama kings are just as prevalent as drama queens. The best way to ruin the gossip feasts I’ve learned is to start talking good about the person being jabbed at, and bring up the faults of those involved in the gossip. Yes, I’ve done this quite frequently, so maybe this is why I was always the one lone person left in situations where people choose teams and groups.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Don’t even get me started @Paradox25. Pretty sure my hubs cost me my job with his big mouth.

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