asocial or anti-social?

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    Hi, I’m Joe and I’m asocial. Asocial as in the kind of person who is generally “one of the quiet ones” and would probably be seen not socialising at a party, and not anti-social as in somebody who behaves in an anti-social manner – i.e loitering, vandalism, being a general pain in the backside, driving round at night just to throw eggs at passers by. As fun as loitering, vandalism and drive-by egg throwing sounds, I regard myself as being asocial and not anti-social.

    And I wanted to bring this topic up for discussion because it’s something that’s been on my mind for a few weeks now.

    I am quiet. But I don’t equate that with being painfully shy or anything. I only talk or say something when I have something to say, and I don’t talk for the sake of talking. Okay, I am not very good at small talk. Most of the time when I am around people, I just don’t have anything to say, I don’t have anything to add to the conversation or I am focusing on what the other people are saying. I’m not going to resort to clichéd conversation topics just for the sake of talking. I’m not going to remark on how nice the weather is (when it usually isn’t here in England) because I’m too busy thinking about what I might want to eat for dinner.

    When I do have something to say, there are gasps of amazement…
    “Oh my god! He can talk!” As if I was somehow incapable of talking in the first place…

    And then the entire focus on the conversation is all about me being quiet…

    “You’re very quiet, aren’t you?” they say, gazing at me with suspicion.

    “You’re one of those quiet ones, aren’t you?” as if the quiet ones kind of mythical species, or as if being quiet is some kind of nasty disease.

    “You need to talk more. You need to be more loud.” Because being quiet is something that is to be discouraged and corrected at all costs. Because I have always valued my worth as a person by my willingness to jump up and down on tables screaming and dancing.

    Because being quiet isn’t being confident at all. No, if you want to be really confident you somehow have to be the loudest, the funniest and the most obnoxious.

    Oh, we’re not done yet. Here comes the worst part. They assume something is up when there really isn’t.

    “What’s the matter? Are you okay?” Erm, nothing?

    And the absolute worst…

    “Cheer up!” (People always assume I’m constantly sad/pissed off/both but I’ve got resting man-bitch face)

    At which point I genuinely do start to feel irritated because I’m surrounded by people who are telling me I need to correct myself and change the way I act just to please them. I find it really insulting and condescending. I start to actively make people not want to talk to me by being really sarcastic to them to the point where it escalates to full-blown insults. Usually they refuse to speak to me after this point. Job done! Oh boy, I am really great at creating awkwardness around people and I find it easier to tell people to shut up and back off. I might be anti-social after all!

    Do I really have nothing to say to people or am I really not interested in conversing with them?

    Has anybody else experienced the same thing? I’d love to read all about it.

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Joe.

    Hello Joe,

    I think I can relate to everything you’ve said. The “cheer up” one epsecially drives me mad – my internal reaction is usually ‘I was fine, until you said that!’

    Do you tend to talk more when it comes to things you have strong feelings about? I’m not very good at small talk, and enjoy listening usually. But gimme something I feel strongly about, or a book I love, or things to be passioniate about, and I could chat for days.

    I love finding a friend you can have a comfortable silence with. There’s not always a need for chatter. 🙂


    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by norit.
    Hana L

    It’s usually the case with being somewhat introverted (in my opinion).

    My “favourites” are when I raise my voice slightly louder than it’s usual inflection and people think I’m upset, or the question of why am I so lazy at socialising.

    I’d be more into a conversation if it was an interesting topic that I’d learn more about things instead of the usual gossip but it’s hard to find people with that same wavelength. I just plaster a smile on my face when I have to deal with those situations. Absolutely not a fan of verbal diarrhea or too much information (TMIs).

    You’re definitely not alone, Joe. 😉


    Dear Joe:

    You asked: “Do I really have nothing to say to people or am I really not interested in conversing with them?”-

    My answer: your “talking” here, on this website, is intelligent, witty, well articulated, humorous, honest, so much so, that your breath should not be wasted on “small talk” and the weather. People can look up the weather online. They can’t find your thoughts, feelings, experiences online. You are the only source.

    You asked: “Has anybody else experienced the same thing?” I very much relate to people telling me that ” I need to correct myself and change the way I act just to please them”- very much so, particularly my mother, endless disapproval, endless, makes me tired just thinking about it.


    Has anybody else experienced the same thing? I’d love to read all about it.


    Glad I’m not the only one! You are absolutely tight – I’m in my element where there are things I genuinely do want to talk about – when that does happen, the conversation flows. But you’re right – there’s only so much you can say about the weather.

    And you are absolutely right about having friends to be silent with. Comfortable silence and not awkward silence.

    @Hana L
    You are right – there are some people who just talk too much about themselves, every single trivial mundane little thing. It doesn’t help that I have a short attention span, I just find my mind wandering off. That’s usually when the “Are you okay? You seem upset” comments start piling in.

    The older I get the more inclined I am to seek disapproval from certain people just to amuse myself. The look on their face when I do that – as if for some reason the entire purpose of my existence is to win their approval. People who have really high opinions of themselves and have high standards for other people. I look at those kinds of people with a mixture of amusement, pity and scorn.

    I think more people should be encouraged to actively seek the disapproval of others. A mass rebellion against approval. We can hold mass protests everywhere, and we can have silent protests just to spite the people who need people to talk all the time. We will have impromptu protests and rallies at shopping centres, football stadiums and nightclubs. Anybody who breaks the silence will be looked at with disdain and met with the sharp hissing noise of “Ssh!” But then the person who breaks the silence is exercising their right to win the disapproval of the people holding the protest against approval. They would be having a counter-protest yet at the same time still protesting against approval. What a paradox. Can we just rebel against having to win the approval of people who don’t deserve it? Can we call ourselves anti-approval activists?



    Dear Joe:

    I prefer your talk, by far, over anyone’s talk about trivia, anytime. And then, I prefer your silence over anyone’s talk about most trivial things people do talk about. With particular individuals who talk for the sake of emitting sounds, I do find myself thinking, if not actually making the “hissing noise of ‘Ssh!’”

    Often, people talk to relieve stress, as a stress output, content irrelevant. I understand the need, I just don’t want to be present when that happens. I do prefer the written format, as on this website, because I can stop reading whenever I want to and resume when I choose, or not. There is no ongoing, constant noise inflicted on me without my control.

    The approval/ disapproval point so entertainingly presented by you- there is great personal, individual freedom that I am experiencing these very days, for a while now, ongoing, because I find myself valuing what I approve of over what others approve of. For example, I value talking about emotions and things that matter, talking with the purpose of learning and resolving (which is why I like to read and reply to people’s shares on this website), instead of talking to let off steam or to escape silence. So when I am silent, I am okay with being silent. I no longer feel distressed, thinking: what do THEY think of me?

    A lot of pressure is removed by no longer feeling that PRESSURE to win others’ approval by doing what I disapprove of. Others who approve of talking-to-vent can do so among themselves, I will not interfere. I just won’t be present. I don’t invite people into my life who will be venting to me.

    Thank you for your delightful posts! I greatly enjoy them. (And feel free to post anything less delightful, as long as it is genuine, authentic-Joe, it is good enough for me to read!


    Hana L

    This post is stimulating a lot of interesting replies 🙂

    Coming from an experience where I’ve had to deal with a lot of name calling behind my back, i.e. being arrogant because I don’t speak to people much (in the past, when all I really was doing was being quiet) I’ve just developed an ‘I don’t care attitude of what you think of me since I’m not born to please everyone, rather just please myself’. <– may sound a bit self-centered but I’d rather do my best to live a life true to being myself (that is currently a work in progress).

    There’s a good reason for ’empty vessels make the most noise’ 😉


    Hi Joe,

    My experience is exactly the same as yours including the tendencies that you described about yourself, about others reaction to this and also about having a very short attention span.

    I have been working on on what to do in such situations.

    Until the instant that one gets irritated and finds it insulting, one is in deep presence, but has lost it later. Prior to that everything was fine, everything was just peaceful awareness. We have been drawn towards their storm, instead of remaining in our own peace.

    Some useful resources that I have found related to this are as below-

    Video by Eckhart Tolle-

    [For some reason the above video is not getting posted across. Rearrange the above as one single link and replace (dot) with .]

    Along with a few others some key tips to be taken are-
    -don’t feed yourself to the egoic conversations of others
    -if they don’t find you interesting then its their problem
    -if people find you boring then that’s fine

    Another video not fully related but useful in some way-

    I am constantly working on these and it is nice to know someone else is also in the same situation.

    Warm Regards,

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by VJ.
    searching hope

    HI Joe,

    I glad you posted this experience and your thgths in here and it just opened up the converstation and really nice to see all the response and others in the same boat . Im can indirectly relate to what you feel and and sometime dont understand how to deal with the situation. let me explain.

    When i said i’m relate indirectly i meant, thru my boyfriend. My BF is exactly what you and others described and are. he doesnt talk much in a group hardly ever, just sit there and zones out attime since he think he don’t understand what he can contribute to the talk for the sake of talking if he has no opinion . He does speak where he thinks he has a point to make or can contribute and he is comfortable with. often this comes out as being arrogant, lack of social skills , boring and sometimes insulting to others which is not at all the reality. His silence is so very often misunderstood and he never corrects anything.  Im reasonably extrovert girl love to talk and share things with more ease but i never had any problem with my BF’s silence since he talk to me when he feels like sharing something ( not too much talk though like wats up girl every time) but when we are together its never awkward silence. every thing was find utill recently. and it all started with going out in groups. when ever we go out every1 asks me if he speaks and why doesnt he speak often, more why is he shy..Blah..Blah.. it was fine intially where i just used to say he is fine and yes we do talk and he is not from outer space but just dont have verbal diarrhea like us but every time i go out at somepoint of time the conversation in the group turns to why my BF dont talk and how calm is he and every one turns to me for answers which i freaking dont have and its started getting awkward between me and my BF. I did have fights on this issues after all this pointing about silence and no talking as i felt i was some where trying to tell people wanted to prove that my BF is not awkward its just the way he is and it will talk sometime for him to talk and even then he is less talker. it hurts when i hear people talking like this about him and i get frustrated trying to justify and inturn show tht on him which is not atall a problem btw us ever to begin with.

    i love this man very much and he is my bestfrnd before being my BF a very genuine person and i think its peoples loss if they don’t understand his silence  and pressurize him to open up be social ( infact his silence and no need to too much talking like other guys who talk meaningless stuff in the name of socializing and being kool was one thing that drew me to him. less talk more genuine care and axn). but off late its getting to me and i feel very bad that its causing rift with him and i don’t want to pressurize him to do something he is not comfortable with and i don’t what him to change because of all this unless he wants it .

    How do i deal with people , they are not bad people they are our friends but still why in the world dont people give up and accept its ok to be silent and feel the presence.

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