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Not talking to people

  1. Jun 5, 2012 #1
    I just counted the number of people I talked to today and I was kind of shocked. The people I talked to today are: someone from one of the school offices(by phone), someone from the leasing office of an apartment(by phone) and a librarian of the science library at my school. Nothing personal. Didn't talk to any of my friends. Nothing. I just realized that I have been living a life like this for a month and I didn't notice how odd this is till today. I knew I didn't talk much but it was absolutely shocking for me to realize how little I actually talk.

    Has anyone ever been through this kind of periods in their lives when they either lose interest in talking to people or couldn't find anyone to talk to? It feels very strange now that I realize this. I don't think I will do anything about it though. I will just wait till I actually meet people I want to talk to.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2012 #2
    only a month?
    you amateur!

    I've been hermit moding for the past few years because for the most part I'm more interested in whatever textbook it is I'm studying than sitting about doing nothing with people..
    I do talk to people sometimes via skype or facebook chat though.

    I don't think that it's THAT unusual for the kind of person that would be on physics forums to be that way (not that I'm saying it's normal though)

    What point was it I was trying to make?
    It seems like I went a little astray
  4. Jun 5, 2012 #3


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    Wow, R.P.F., I could have written those exact words 30 years ago!

    I had just started college after working for a year after high school. I had been laid off from my job, I lived in an apartment by myself, and I didn't know anyone at school. I, too, went weeks and weeks of doing just the sort of things you mentioned before I noticed it, and then I thought it was really strange.

    I eventually made friends.

    I think it's called being an introvert. We just don't *need* a lot of human interaction the way extroverts do.
  5. Jun 5, 2012 #4
    I might also live in an apartment by myself next year (which is the reason of my phone conversation with the leasing office) and I'm both excited and scared. I'm excited because I finally don't have to live in a dorm with people who play party music late at night and can focus on my math. I'm scared because it's just gonna be me. Only me. I have no idea where I'm going to end up. I have no idea what is going to happen. Maybe I'm just having too much free time right now. During the semesters I bury myself in work and have very little concern about other things.

    During the semesters, I still talk to people, mostly about math and academics. However, I haven't talked to anyone about personal matters/feelings in a year. I just had about $500 worth of stuff stolen but I didn't tell anyone. I just didn't want to.
  6. Jun 5, 2012 #5
    Moving out on your own as a student problably isn't the best move, mainly for financial reasons.
    I'd probably tell the police if I had $500 worth of stuff stolen from me :eek:
  7. Jun 5, 2012 #6
    Such thefts happen at my school several times a year and the lost stuff is nowhere to be found.

    My parents are willing to pay for the apartment. So I will work VERY VERY hard next year, hoping to produce the kind of work that matches with my rent. :frown:
  8. Jun 9, 2012 #7


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    I didn't really talk to anyone until I joined the math club, which was after my first semester. I don't believe your behavior is "odd." As lisab mentioned, some of us just don't have the desire to communicate with others as much as other people do. I enjoy observing more than talking.

    I would be careful about classifying behavior as "odd" or abnormal without a professional opinion, as these terms are relative and somewhat ambiguous.
  9. Jun 9, 2012 #8
    I'm having a hard enough time communicating with you people in this forum. I don't think I could handle an actual confrontation with someone.
  10. Jun 9, 2012 #9
    You're totally not alone. Depending on what classes I'm taking during a semester, I may not say a word to anyone all day and not even notice.

    However, at work I talk to pretty much everyone I encounter.
    I think my not talking to anyone at school (depending on which classes I'm taking), has to do with me not knowing anyone. I'm not an introvert, I'm just really cynical. And bear with me, because this is a topic I've spent a lot of time thinking about... so here it goes...
    I don't talk to random people because I think several things could happen: they're either not in the mood to be talked to, and I'll just annoy them, and I don't want to annoy them; I'll say something to them and they won't say anything back and I'll look foolish, which is something I hate; I'll say something to them, and for whatever reason, it becomes an awkward situation.

    I wish that stuff didn't bother me, and I felt free to just chat it up with anyone, but I don't. I could start, though. I have no problem doing that. I just have that little fear of being annoying, or creating awkward situations, or looking foolish.

    There was a guy in my calculus class who showed up while we were waiting outside the door. Never seen him before in my life. He came up and asked me and a friend of mine where the bathroom was. He went to the bathroom, came back, and immediately introduced himself, started talking to us, sat next to us when we went in the class, and before the class was over, this guy had made two new friends. It was amazing. He was effortlessly charismatic and friendly. There was a girl who sat in front of him who was a real B-word, and he won her over too. I want to be more like that, but these fears keep me from doing it. And besides, I'm not always in the mood to talk to anyone, let alone strangers. And I don't always have something to say. Sometimes I'm lost in thought and don't really have anything to say to anyone else.

    I guess I learned a lot from that guy, and maybe I can emulate him. Anyway, I told you I thought a lot about this topic. I warned you.
    Thank your lucky stars about that. I'm going to be getting my own apartment by myself, working part time, and going to school full time. I figure if I don't buy anything (other than food, rent, utilities), I can save about 100$ a month to put in the bank.
  11. Jun 9, 2012 #10
    I'm a bit confused. I don't think anyone said that my behavior was odd. But I think as a human being I do have the right to feel 'strange'. :tongue:

    A lot of the times confrontation could be a good thing. There are numerous times when I asked my neighbor to quiet down and that earned me some tranquility.

    You might be able to handle more than you think you could, but you won't find out till you try. :cool:

    If you don't want to talk to people, then you don't have to. Sometimes I think about math problems during meals. If I'm engaged in thinking and my friend join me at the table in the dining hall, then I'd tell him/her that I won't be able to talk to him/her for ten mins or so because I'm thinking. But If you do want to talk to people but are afraid to do so, there is really no better way than just gather your courage and walk up to people and start talking. I don't think you have anything to lose.

    Good luck with paying for your apartment! Try not to be too harsh on yourself though.
  12. Jun 9, 2012 #11


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    Did he wash his hands before leaving the bathroom? I'm not so sure I'd want to make friends with someone right after they left the bathroom.
  13. Jun 9, 2012 #12
    Yeah, I don't have to, but I want to be more like my friend: charismatic and outgoing. I'm also studying drama and theater and I think those traits might help in a career in acting.
    I don't know, but I do remember shaking his hand afterwards when he introduced himself. If he's not a hand-washer, then he's no longer my role model.
    I have a friend I've had for over 20 years that isn't a hand washer. None of his family is. Every time I use their bathroom, there's no soap. I end up using their shampoo. So since I doubt they're using shampoo to wash their hands, I can only assume none of them wash their hands after they use the bathroom.

    I had another friend who had soap in his bathroom, but it had cracks in it from being there so long. Every time I was at his house, that same bar of soap was there. I'm pretty sure I was the only one using it.
  14. Jun 10, 2012 #13


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    You said it was odd in your OP, silly. :wink:
  15. Jun 10, 2012 #14
    Find some friends with common interests.

    I'm definitely an introvert, and hardly hang out with people outside of school, but when I'm at school, I always have somebody to talk to, and a place to sit at lunch, because, even though I'd rather be by myself and don't necessarily need human interaction all that often, I still enjoy company, and as far as I can tell, a good amount of people enjoy my company.

    But really, once you find other people who like to sit around and think about math while they're eating, you'll find some people that you can have enjoyable conversations with. In middle school, I had multiple classes with the same kid, and we spoke very briefly, never hung out, etc. Some way or the other, I noticed that he seemed really into science, and I mentioned to him that I was interested in physics.... so was he. Now we're great friends because we both enjoy the same thing, and can have conversations about science in high school, which seems to be a rarity.

    Going long periods of time without talking to other people isn't that odd, but in the cases where you are around other people, you mine as well make the most of it and find some people that you can talk to, otherwise you're missing out on a great part of being alive; that is, talking to other people who are alive... and having interesting conversations.
  16. Jun 10, 2012 #15
    There are practically no people around me that are interested in the same things as I do. All of the math majors I know are non-hardcore majors who struggled through first semester of algebra and who never had topology. They kept asking me why I was constantly working so hard. None of them is interested in getting a PhD in pure math. I lost interest in talking to them.

    I did, didn't I? :blushing::blushing:
  17. Jun 14, 2012 #16
    I work graveyard shift security. On an average day I may not talk to a single person and when I do it is most often brief and completely lacking in any sort of personal engagement. The only daily communication I am involved in is online.

    When I meet people face to face I often am at a loss for what to say and talk about. My general "conversation" online has to do with politics, books, philosophy, ect. I find that when I talk to random individuals I come across at the bar or coffee house I think that their attempts at conversation are just boring and tedious. I don't care about the ball game or your work on your car. I don't watch Jersey Shore or American Idol either. Your relationship problems are neither unique nor interesting and they're somewhat depressing to boot.

    I have been becoming less and less social to the point where I do not even communicate as much online anymore. I think it becomes a bit of a problem after a while. You should probably have some personal human interaction on a regular basis to avoid depression.
  18. Jun 14, 2012 #17
    A bad issue I find most often at workplaces is that people tend to say it outloud that they _are_ working (oh yeah working with messengers and online gmail chatrooms). If one person does this, the one sitting next to him would do the same, then next and next, so the whole office looks like a graveyard. Today I feel pretty tired, my eyes are in pain, I can't watch and talk to people but even when I am well, I'm getting the feeling that with the current rules applied from _above_, my office sooner or later is the same as a dead tomb.
  19. Jun 14, 2012 #18


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    I put Marzena's shoes in the corner of my room. When I am home alone I look at them to make sure I am not an introvert.
  20. Jun 14, 2012 #19
  21. Jun 14, 2012 #20
    I know what you are talking about. The reason that I don't talk to people is not because I don't need company or I'm timid, it's because there are practically no people around me that are interested in the same things as I do. So I'd rather be by myself than hang out with people I'm not interested in.

    I realized that I tend to worry about a lot of things when I hadn't had human interaction in a long time. The stuff I worry about may or may not happen. Even if they happen, it's gonna be after two months from now. And if they happen, there is nothing I can do about it. So there is no point of worrying, but I couldn't control myself. Glad I'm leaving in two weeks to work with other people so I can get myself out of this mess.
  22. Jun 14, 2012 #21
    Maybe it's a good idea for the whole office to grab some coffee together once in a while.
  23. Jun 14, 2012 #22


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    Due to MCS, I can rarely spend any face-time with people. We never had a telephone when I was a kid and "chatting" on the phone was highly discouraged, when we did get one. I have carried that attitude to this day, and never call anybody unless there is something significant to say. Most of my conversations are with my wife and my dog (though he doesn't say much), and I call my father from time-to-time to see how he's doing. That's about it. I'm not an anti-social person, but I don't get to talk to many people, and I'm not going to inflict myself on others via telephone.

    My grandfather had to have a telephone to keep his heavy-equipment repair business going, and listening to his end of a call would sound like "What?! OK. Be there in a couple of hours." Then he'd hang up with no niceties, like "good-bye". That wasn't his style. I am not so curt or abrupt, but I share (in part) his attitude toward telephones.
  24. Jun 14, 2012 #23
    I don't talk to too many people because I just find most people annoying and boring. I hate when people try to make conversation with me, it's the most exhausting thing to pretend to be interested in talking to some stranger.

    I would have a conversation with girls if I'm interested in them, but I have my girl friend so I really don't need to talk to too many other people. My family from time to time, and once in a while my room mates and other friends, but strangers are really mainly a nuisance to me.
  25. Jun 14, 2012 #24
    This connects to what I said earlier...
    Some days go by when I don't talk to anybody all day. I'd like to feel free to talk to anybody, but I know there are people out there like you who just don't want to be bothered, and I respect that.

    Are you really just annoyed by the people who strike up a conversation that lasts too long? Are you fine with people saying a few words and sharing a smile with you, and letting you be on your way? Because that's more along the lines of what I'd like to start doing. I'm trying to become more like that guy in my calc class that I mentioned earlier, and he'd do something like that.
  26. Jun 14, 2012 #25
    If you approach most people in the right way they're happy to talk to you, your fears are unfounded. I'm really not a typical case, I just genuinely don't like most people, usually for no reason. I'm not shy, because if I have a reason to talk to someone I don't hesitate, but for the most part I'm just fairly judgmental and look down on my peers or something like that, I've never really figured out what my problem is.

    You shouldn't not socialize because of fear, human beings are born to social with others, and it's easy to make friends if you want them. I'm always interested in the way other people interact and I see strangers get together and chat all the time. It's just that for me, I prefer the company of a very small group of people and I'm not very friendly to people I don't know.
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