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Is it ok to be a social recluse?

  1. Jul 31, 2013 #1
    Hopefully by now a few of you may have seen me stumbling around the forums and I just wanted to get some opinons from people. I'm basically a social recluse and I avoid social interaction at all costs, even to the point where I'll wait for my house mate to go back up to his room before I go down to make a sandwich.

    I can't stand the social awkwardness of being in the presence of someone and not having anything to talk about. I very much enjoy being on my own and I never ever feel lonely. If you're wondering why I act like this then it's probably because I actually have Aspergers. That aside I wanted to ask people here if it's ok to live life the way I do? I understand there may be benefits from having a social life but the stress and effort it takes to make friends is not worth the pay off in my opinion.

    Does anyone here think this is a wrong way to live?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2013 #2


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    Well, I do, but then again I don't have Aspergers so I don't have the right to judge. Have you tried finding people to develop a friendship with that have similar social anxieties as you or are sympathetic with your condition?
  4. Jul 31, 2013 #3
    Well the problem is I don't know anybody who is interested in physics, cosmology or math and although I have little experience with these subjects, I talk about them all the time online, I watch videos and try to read books. I love the subjects. I guess it would be nice to have a few people who I could sit down and have a conversation with but once I start feeling trapped and claustrophobic I'd ask them to leave and people take that as me being rude.

    It's so much easier to talk online and forums and as you can talk back and fourth with people about your favorite subejcts without having to worry about the problems that come with face to face discussion. People often tell me that I need to make friends but I like being by myself. Can I live a successful life without friends?
  5. Jul 31, 2013 #4


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    If that's what makes you happy then I don't see anything wrong with it. So long as you are actually happy and not trying to convince yourself you are.
  6. Jul 31, 2013 #5
    I've been without a single friend sinse I was 12, I know I'm happiest when I'm alone. It's when I'm around others that I feel on edge, anxious and trapped.
  7. Jul 31, 2013 #6


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    I have Aspergers too, and I have only one friend I could see in my free time (he's a guy I've known for over 10 years, we represented Finland in the International Chemistry Olympiad when we were 19). My other "friends" are just guys from work. I've never had a girlfriend, even though I'm already 31 years old. Sometimes when I've been drinking too much alcohol, I might go to a pub and try to "socialize", which sometimes leads to me doing stupid things like buying sex from prostitutes or even getting in fights.

    Don't you have an Aspergers support group in your area? You could meet other autism spectrum people in there.
  8. Jul 31, 2013 #7
    I have Aspergers as well and I totally understand where you are coming from.

    IMO, the easy way out is not the best solution in the long run. I've been rejected, outcasted, bullied, defriended, been given weird looks, gone through lots of friendships, gotten in nasty arguments and so on. In the end, each of these painful experiences taught me a lesson so that now I can talk to people freely. And now I have flexibility. Some days I might just want to come home from work and stay home alone playing video games the whole day, but whenever I need to, I can make friends and find people to talk to.

    So yeah, you can isolate yourself if you want. You won't experience any pain, but you won't learn much either. And in 5 years from now, you'll say to yourself that you're still in the same position you were years ago and you could have improved but you didn't.

    It's your choice.
  9. Jul 31, 2013 #8
    Wrong way to live? No such thing. Don't know where I picked this up or where it came from, people are overrated. Sometime, you tolerate people just to be nice. but if you have something to say, consider the "audience" and say it. If you have nothing to say, say nothing. Usually works for me. Good luck and have fun with it.
  10. Jul 31, 2013 #9
    " Is it ok to be a social recluse? "

    i am,
    i live a secluded life, i'm a very private person
    but i also supposidly have social anxiety disorder.

    also, refer to my signature :)
  11. Aug 2, 2013 #10
    I can't really relate to part of your problem because
    1.) I don't have aspergers
    2.) I don't have an issue making friends

    But, I will say that, you should do what makes you happy (so long as it is not detrimental to yourself or others). You only get one life, and it is your time to spend.

    On the other hand I can relate to your problem of no one being interested in the same type of things as you, and never having a girlfriend. Both of these things really get to me.

    To end this sort of jumbled mess of thoughts, I will say that I do you are currently living your life in a "bad" way.
  12. Aug 2, 2013 #11
    My apologies it was someone else who mentioned not having a girlfriend.
  13. Aug 2, 2013 #12
    That was supposed to be I do NOT think that you are currently living your life in a bad way.
  14. Aug 2, 2013 #13
    Really don't think so (I am one myself partly ); But being a recluse usually will invite antagonism and ridicule. Note: the popularity of big bang theory (The T.V. show) is sufficient to prove my point (the protragonist exhibits all symptoms of aspergers; in my oppinion that show should be sued and banned- aspergians have enough problems as it is and don't need T.V. shows capitalizing on it) . But then forcing yourself to mingle will probably cause undue emotional distress. I am not an aspergian so I can't give any great advice; only this do not avoid people but don't chase after them too. When people talk to you and you have no idea how to respond in my experience smilling really shuts them up after a while.
    When they say something which hurts just take a cold scientific view of a carbon based biological machine wasting their energy in creating waves in the atmosphere to get a release of chemicals which make them feel better about themselves.(I was joking by the way, but the method sometimes works a miracle...)
    I wish you strength (luck to me is an obsolete concept .)
  15. Aug 2, 2013 #14


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    It's just a TV show man, calm down. No need to get overly sensitive over an innocent TV show.

    Jakob, just do whatever makes you happy (as long as it doesn't end you up on Law and Order :wink:)
  16. Aug 2, 2013 #15
    Just a T.V. show which is popular among everyone even teens, who then see it is not only acceptable to ridicule and insult someone who doesn't fit in but even as cool. And I am not getting sensitive but innocent things like this may have wide ranging effects. Innocent things like cartoon posters and short stories were used by the nazi to ridicule the jews.... (O.K. that was a bit extreme:sly: ) What is innocent fun for one may be emotionally scaring to another.....Just saying.
    And Jacob I think you will really like the novel Fountainhead by Ayn Rand if you like reading.
  17. Aug 2, 2013 #16
    OK, the big bang theory is just a TV show. You can't compare it with a systematic annihalation of an entire race and religion during the 1930's and 1940's.

    Second, teenagers always found it cool to ridicule and insult people who are different. This was so before the big bang theory and it is so after it. Saying that a TV show causes it is the same as saying that video games cause violence and war. It doesn't.
  18. Aug 2, 2013 #17


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    You don't understand people with asperger's, so you really shouldn't reply. I know several personally and they are much happier not having to deal with social garbage.

    It is absolutely fine to not socialize. People with aspergers have a real problem socializing and if they don't want to do it, they shouldn't.
  19. Aug 2, 2013 #18


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    I don't know what kind of teens you're hanging around with but if they act like jerks to recluses, the impetus isn't The Big Bang Theory I can tell you that.

    Anyways, I'm sticking to my original statement: Jakob if you don't feel at all comfortable socializing then don't force yourself into it because it can be dangerously nerve wrecking, speaking from experience. I have extreme social anxiety just like you (although I don't have Aspergers) and while it bothers me, what bothers me even more is actually socializing so yeah if you aren't ready to move out of that sphere then don't force yourself into it.
  20. Aug 2, 2013 #19
    That is really good advice.....in my oppinion.
  21. Aug 2, 2013 #20
    No. Sheldon doesn't exhibit Asperger's. He is a thing unto himself. Unlike Aspies, he can make significant eye contact, and he also has a sardonic sense of humor that demonstrates an understanding of social interactions most Aspies don't have. His conversation has pretty good give and take: he allows others proper room to respond, and can adapt when the subject is changed. He's otherwise a very strange and peculiar character, but it's not due to Asperger's.

    It's also not part and parcel of Asperger's to be a recluse. I've met several Aspies in coffeehouses where they go specifically looking for social interaction, and a fair percentage of Aspies end up in bars. I think the ones who become recluses have an additional problem, some anxiety disorder or social phobia tacked onto the Asperger's. It is very frequently "co-morbid" as the psychiatric term goes, with other problems: OCD, OCPD, Tourettes, seizures, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, ADD, ADHD.
  22. Aug 2, 2013 #21


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    I've turned into somewhat of a recluse slowly but surely between 14-26 years old.I'm not a total recluse though , I socialize once in a while but I clearly spend most of my time completely alone.

    I don't think it's a good way for me to be profoundly happy , but it's a way to get through life while being myself.

    The scary thing in all of this is ageing.I'm sure I will not think the same way at 45 years old , and then at 70 years old...What happens if I lived like a complete recluse until I'm 70 years old , and then I start to regret? Start to lose my edge , start to lose my health? Who is there to take care of me , emotionnally at least? I probably don't have children.Are my parents still alive? My whole world as I knew it coming to an end? So scary to think about.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  23. Aug 2, 2013 #22
    Sheldon doesn't have aspergers? Then he really must have been sent by the aliens as an experiment to see if they can integrate with the human lifeforms.... (Jakob , for reference that was a joke too and appologies for veering of the post)
    But you would have to admit if Sheldon didn't show atleast a semblance of normalcy (w.r.t. the non aspergian crowd) the show wouldn't be as entertaining as it is.
    Also as far as my limited knowledge goes humour and aspergers is not mutually exclusive; though I have seen Sheldon saying anything that he ever meant to be funny and not comment proudly that that was a joke or sarcasm as if he had achieved a great feat.....
  24. Aug 2, 2013 #23
    I was just pointing out that innocent things can have very huge consequences. No, I agree teens don't need a reason to ridicule people but they also don't need a show that approves of it. I don't know if video games cause violence (actually the sugestions seem infantile) but would you disagree that things like onscreen smoking promotes the same in those who see it as cool?

    Evo- did you read my post? I too hate being in social company and social garbage as you put it. But is running away in plain sight really the answer. Its like running away after a dog sees you - its bound to chase you- best avoid meeting the dog or walk calmly infront of it. And I perfectly agree with you even though you really don't seem to agree with me.

    Wannabenewton- all teens I hang out with (when I am in the mood) are perfectly alright and great guys and gals and you really shouldn't insult them. The people I was talking about do not move in my circles, but you just have to google cyber bullying to get plenty of examples
  25. Aug 2, 2013 #24
    Thanks for your advice :) I was never bullied or made fun of at school, all the other students just left me alone to do my own thing although I was refered to a couple of times as "the weird loner kid". Forums are great because I can talk to like minded people and the things I enjoy, learn new stuff and all the while I don't have to put up with the typical gossip/chit chat.

    Thanks again
  26. Aug 2, 2013 #25
    Are you seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist? What does your doctor have to say about it?

    That may be, obviously, private information, and as such, you are in no obligation to answer.
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