How to Be Antisocial
Antisocial behavior can mean different things in different contexts, so it's important to distinguish between the different senses of the word. Sometimes introverts need to disengage a bit from our social lives and live more solitary existences, while clinical antisocial behavior can be a more significant problem. Whether you think you're antisocial and want to be sure, or if you want to see what a more isolated existence is all about, you can learn how to enjoy spending time alone, how to limit your contact with others, and how to negotiate common social interactions that can be trouble for antisocial people.
Understanding Antisocial Behavior
Distinguish between introversion and anti-social behavior.The word "antisocial" is commonly used to describe the behavior of introverts, who may not often feel like socializing compared to more social extroverts. The clinical definition of antisocial behavior is somewhat different, however, making it important to distinguish between the two for an accurate understanding.
- Antisocial behavior is characterized in much the same way as psychopathy or sociopathy. Some studies report that harsh or inconsistent parenting can be a risk factor for antisocial behavior.People who exhibit antisocial personalities tend to be cynical and unable to empathize with others, or recognize the suffering of others. Antisocial behavior is sometimes characterized by superficial charm, an inflated ego, and a general disdain for the feelings of other people.
- Introverted behavior is a sign of a normal social temperament, characterized by a preference for solitude. Introverts are task-oriented, and typically more engaged in solitary reflection and less engaged by interacting with others. While introverts may seem to display some of the superficial characteristics of antisocial behavior, there is no direct link between the two.
Enjoy your private time.Being antisocial is basically just avoiding contact with people, and preferring your private time, spent alone. If you don't enjoy spending time alone, being antisocial is going to be pretty rough, if not impossible. While not all antisocial people are the same, or enjoy solitude for the same reasons, try to think about activities that you enjoy doing by yourself to figure out if you'll be able to make it work. Solitary activities may include:
- Playing an instrument
Devote yourself to schoolwork, or your work.Usually, being antisocial is a by-product of being obsessed with other things and forgetting to socialize, or simply not having the time to socialize, not a goal in and of itself. But if you want to be less attached to your social commitments, the best and most productive way to do it is to throw your attention and your effort into school or work, and forget everything else.
- Instead of going home and chatting with friends on Facebook or going out, do your homework, or come up with new ideas for streamlining processes at work. Better yet, stay late at the office, or head to the library to study.
- Work-obsessions don't actually have to be work or school related. Find topics or hobbies that interest you and get lost in them. Spend your evenings building model trains or writing code or making synth epics instead of socializing.
Make your living space a sanctuary.If you want to spend less time around people, give yourself a comfortable living space so you'll enjoy staying in instead of going out. Whether you already live alone, or you live at home with your family, or live with roommates, you should carve out a space for yourself that's just yours, filled with all the things to keep your interests fueled and your alone time sacred.
- If you live with your parents, make your room your sanctuary. Fill it with posters, books, and other decorations that you like and that will make you feel like it's yours. Hang a "Do Not Enter" sign on the door and keep it sacred.
- If you live with roommates, try keeping your room as self-sufficient as possible, so you can avoid the common areas, if necessary. Get a mini-fridge for food and drink supplies, and get a hotplate, if possible.
- If you live alone, take the time to decorate your apartment or house the way you like it. If nobody else is going to be around, sometimes we think there's no point in sprucing it up, but take the extra effort to make being home something special. Make it you.
Be alone in public, occasionally.There's a difference between being antisocial and being a complete hermit. Unless you want to lose track of all social cues and become a total weirdo, it's good to spend some time in public, not socializing.
- Go to the library to sit and read the paper, instead of getting it delivered to your house. This is a solitary activity, but you can do it in public and get a little people-watching in to feel like you're not completely alone.
- Go out to eat occasionally and sit at the bar alone. Bring a book, if you're concerned about feeling embarrassed, even though there's no need to be sheepish.
Get a pet.Feelings of isolation can start becoming a little grim if you spend too much time alone. To keep some emotional connection in your life, try getting a small pet to take care of, to stave off the blues.
- If you're an outdoorsy type, get a dog to take with you on hikes and enjoy brisk walks together in the evenings.
- If you're more of an indoors person, get a cat to curl up on your chest while you're trying to work on the computer.
- If you don't want the commitment of a bigger pet, consider a caged animal like a rabbit, bird, or other small furry pet that's a little easier to care for.
Keep your distance.It's difficult to get to know antisocial people. The more you make it clear to the people in your life that you're a nut that can't be cracked, the easier it will be to spend time alone, because people will eventually stop trying to get to know you. Maintain an emotional distance from the people around you.
- Used closed body-langague when you're in public to communicate that you don't want to be approached or engaged. Cross your arms, avoid eye-contact, and keep like you're focused on something else.
- Don't volunteer information about yourself, if it isn't necessary. Be vague about who you are, what you do, and where you come from. If people ask you questions about your personal life, change the subject.
Speak less.When you are around people, in public, one of the best ways to communicate your desire to be alone is to be silent. Don't say anything at all, unless it's absolutely necessary, and even then try to limit your speech to the bare minimum of communication. Be like a Clint Eastwood character. Let your stare do the talking, then answer in monosyllables.
Focus on one-on-one interactions.It's unlikely that you'll be able to ever be truly solitary, but that doesn't mean you have to be a social butterfly. To keep your contacts as limited and controlled as possible, try to keep things one-on-one, as much as possible.
- Don't have birthday parties for yourself, spend time with a close friend, hanging out at home, or having dinner. If you're invited to a party, make contact with the host and tell them you can't come, but invite them for a one-on-one hang-out, if necessary.
- If you choose to date, make sure to be honest with people. If you're dating someone who likes to hang out with people on a regular basis, that might be a deal-breaker for both of you.
Suspend your social network accounts.try to make sure there's as little web record of you as possible. Cancel or suspend your social networking accounts for the time being, and delete them if you're serious about this antisocial thing.
- Make your other online accounts as various and randomized as possible, to keep yourself anonymous. Don't use the same user names and passwords, and don't use your real name to register for things.
- You're not being anti-social if you stay at home on the occasional Friday night, live-Tweeting your TV binge. Increasingly, our social lives exist online, and if you want to keep people out of your business, you need to stay out of their business as well. No more Facebook snooping.
Figure out your own solution to problems.The less you need to rely on other people for help, the more you'll be able to rely on yourself. Be as self-sufficient as possible and endeavor to find your own solutions to your problems, instead of asking other people for help.
- Google is your friend. If you don't know how to do something, research it and try to figure it out on your own. At least get informed about topics before you take it to an expert, or someone who's more experienced.
- You don't have to interact with people at the body shop if you can change your oil properly, rotate your tires, and do other basic vehicle maintenance. You don't need to go the farmer's market if you can grow your own vegetables in your garden.
Know when to cut off relationships.In the movie Heat, Robert De Niro's bank robber likes to say that he doesn't have anything in his life he couldn't walk out on, if he saw the cops coming around the corner. If you want to live the solitary life, you've got to keep yourself unattached and distant. You might consider cutting off relationships when people get too close.
- If you feel like someone's too much in your inner life, encroaching on your solitude, cut it off abruptly, at least for a time, to put some distance back into things. In general, it's helpful to live alone, so you've always got a home-base to return to.
- Of course, in the movie, De Niro gets too close to someone and rethinks everything. It happens, and it's hard to be truly antisocial in the longterm.
Move around a lot.Stay distant from your neighbors and make it hard to form long term relationships by uprooting yourself. It's helpful to be a rolling stone. Try to switch towns every couple years, if it's possible, and switch apartments or living spaces more regularly, when you're in the same town.
- Moving around also serves to help keep your life lively and interesting. If you live in the same house all the time, never see new people, and nothing changes, being antisocial could get pretty boring.
Be a minimalist.To move around and stay as mobile as possible, try to limit your belongings as well as your social interactions. Think of it this way: the less shopping you do, and the less stuff you need, the less you'll need to be around people and deal with the consequences of all that stuff. Limit your buying and selling as much as you can. Simplify.
Find work that will keep you busy and isolated.There are a variety of careers and fields that work well with antisocial types. If you're not a big fan of "people," consider looking into any of the following career fields as possibilities in the long term:
- Night security
- Data entry
- Long haul truck driving
- Nature photography
- Computer programming
Stop apologizing.You don't need to apologize for yourself and the way you are, or position yourself underneath others socially. If you're introverted and prefer being alone instead of going to parties and socializing, you don't need to attempt to "change" your behavior or yourself. Don't apologize for the way you are.
- People with antisocial personality disorder will often display an inability to show remorse, which can be a serious problem, and a distinct difference from introverts who apologize too much. If you're actually unable to feel sorry for someone, it's a sign of a serious psychological problem. If you think your antisocial behavior may be a problem and you wish to change, seek counseling immediately.
Negotiating Common Social Interactions
Get through school.Negotiating your school career is a common problem for antisocial people. It's important to remember that you're not above your peers, your teachers, or anyone at your school. The more you can accept the things that make you alike, instead of focusing on the ways in which you're different, the easier getting through school will be.
- If you struggle to make friends in school, things can be a lot more challenging. Try to find a small group of people that you trust and enjoy to spend time with. Often, people who struggle with antisocial tendencies can thrive with a good group of friends.
- The "popular" kids at your school don't make for ideal friends in every case. Ignore them and make a different group of friends. Antisocial teenagers commonly describe a disdain for the popular crowd, and it's always more healthy to ignore that scene as much as possible.
Put your head down at work.The workplace can be another challenging environment for antisocial people. Having to deal with a variety of personalities and authority figures can tax anyone's social skills, especially if you prefer your own company. While lots of the specifics of negotiating your work day will have to do with your particular job, you can learn to do a few things to keep yourself happy and healthy.
- Avoid group projects and collaborative efforts, which can cause conflicts for people with antisocial tendencies. Do your own work.
- Nod and smile to authority figures. You don't have to like your boss, but if you want to keep your job, you need to keep your feelings under control. Avoid awkward confrontations.
- Have a variety of other hobbies and interests outside of work. If work proves to be a challenging social environment, make friends and spend time doing lots of things outside of work to help keep your personal time busy and engaged.
Just make an appearance at parties, then leave.Big crowds of people yelling and dancing and screaming and taking selfies? Parties are a big bummer for introverts and antisocial people alike, and trying to negotiate invitations can cause stress and anxiety. Stop worrying about whether or not you'll let an acquaintance down by not showing up to the party because you want to stay home and read. Plan to make a quick stop in and then go back to doing what you want to do.
- Do a quick run through the party, stay long enough for a snack and a free drink, make a break for the bathroom, then ditch out the backdoor and make your getaway.
- If you can't sneak away, make up an excuse to leave, or don't. You don't owe anyone an explanation more complicated than, "Well, I've got to get going. Good party!"
Time pick-ups better to avoid awkward chats.If you pick up your kids from school and want to avoid awkward, pointless conversations with the other parents while you wait, just learn to time your trip better to avoid having to wait for long periods of time. Grab a coffee on your way to the school and show up the moment school lets out. Wait in your car until you see your child, then make up an excuse to get going.
- Fake a phone conversation, if you need to. You don't need to be a great actor to pick up your phone and say, "Mmhmm...yeah" once every 20 seconds or so.
Get help if you struggle to stay out of trouble.Antisocial behavior is generally characterized as a disorder, not something that someone chooses, because it involves an inability to follow the traditional laws and expectations that govern a society. People displaying antisocial behavior may have repeated problems with arrest or other behavioral problems.Other signs of antisocial behavior in need of medical and psychological evaluation include:
- Repeatedly lying or conning others
- Failing to plan for the future
- Overly aggressive behavior and recklessness
- Inability to keep a job
- Lack of remorse for behaviors
QuestionI want to be antisocial because I feel happy when I'm alone. I find it hard to make friends. Is this normal?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt's totally normal. You're probably an introvert. There's nothing wrong with it, as long as you are happy, but it's important to have a support system, so try to keep one or two close friends at least.Thanks!
QuestionI try to be normal and have friends, but whenever I try, my "friends" treat me like a nobody. I want to become antisocial so I don't have to deal with this stuff anymore. What should I do?ELINA SIFUENTESCommunity AnswerI know exactly how you feel. Becoming antisocial isn't always easy though. It'll take time to become a master of antisocialism. Listening to music instead of talking to people is a good start because it's an excuse to not talk, which leads to less of a chance of making friends. It takes time depending on how fast you cut the ties with your "friends".Thanks!
QuestionI don't have any close friends, and I prefer to spend my time alone. Is this a bad thing?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, it is perfectly normal. Chances are, you are an introvert. As long as you like what you are doing and are happy spending time alone, there is no reason to feel bad about it. It is completely your choice.Thanks!
QuestionWhy would anybody want to be antisocial?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBeing antisocial means that you don't rely on others, so, you don't get hurt as often. You don't feel the need to change yourself if someone doesn't like you. You also get a lot more done. You don't worry about anyone but you, so you don't stress about others. Being antisocial is a blessing.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I get my parents to trust me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTrust is earned. Prove to your parents that you are responsible, and obey them. Though it may take a while, your parents will eventually view you as a responsible child deserving of their trust. But also keep in mind, that while your parents can trust you, they may not be ready to trust you with certain things due to your age. Just be patient and maintain a positive attitude.Thanks!
QuestionCan I be antisocial at certain things, but still go out for fun?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. Antisocial people also can have a few friends.Thanks!
QuestionI feel no remorse and I have anger issues. I often sit alone and don't really talk. Do I have an anti-social disorder?KnitsewliveCommunity AnswerI am no psychologist, but you may have a disorder. I'd recommend you schedule an appointment with a professional therapist.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I stay antisocial online? My friends constantly want to talk and I'm forced to do so. I want to stay away from them, but I don't want to quit social media.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't get online in the first place. If they text you repeatedly, just tell them you're busy. You can check your social media when you have time, and tell them you're just doing it quickly and don't have much time to talk. You shouldn't be forced to talk. Talk to your friends about your situation and compromise with them.Thanks!
- Being antisocial doesn't mean you can't have SOME friends, no matter what the dictionary says. Try to find one or two good friends and stick with them.
- Some antisocial people are being anti-social unwillingly (these people tend to be naturally shy and keep things to themselves). Try finding someone like this in your classes (shouldn't be hard, they'll probably be the only ones who don't talk very much) and watching how they act. Don't be like a stalker or anything, but try to see what it is that makes people not bring them into a conversation.
- Being anti-social can turn on you. The unpopularity can make others wary of you, and in turn hurt you in a variety of different ways. Just be careful about how you go at being the invisible butterfly.
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