“Why am I antisocial?” – What to do if you don’t like socializing
First, let’s clarify the difference between “asocial” and “antisocial.”
If you are asocial, you are indifferent to socializing because you don’t enjoy it. If you are antisocial, you dislike people or society.
At times, I’ve told myself that “people are stupid anyway,” and that’s why I didn’t want to be social. But when I gave it more thought, that was often an excuse to avoid the discomfort of having to meet people. Sure, some people are stupid. That doesn’t mean that everyone is.
If you don’t like socializing, remind yourself that there are loads of amazing people in the world. You need to take the initiative if you want to meet them.
(I talk more here about what to do if you don’t like people.)
But even after I had this realization, I would still feel demotivated sometimes. It seemed to take forever to turn a new acquaintance into an actual friend. So, I’d tell myself, why even bother? Does this sound familiar? In this article, we’ll cover several ways to be more social and turn strangers into friends.
How to be a people person
A people person (or a “sociable person”) isn’t just good at socializing: they enjoy it. But you don’t have to be a people person to be social. You’ll be able to socialize just fine even if you don’t love it, as long as you learn the right skills.
However, there are some things you can do that can help you enjoy socializing and meeting new people:
- Spending more time socializing: We tend to like doing things that we are good at. The more time you spend socializing, the better you’ll get at it.
- Increasing your empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand how others think and feel. If you increase your empathy, you might enjoy socializing more. Why? Because you’ll have a better understanding of why people act the way they do. Empathy is also an important skill for making friends. So if you develop empathy, you’ll probably make friends faster.
- Finding ways to cope with shyness or social anxiety: It’s normal to dislike or avoid people and social situations if you are shy or anxious. Therefore, learning how to cope with these feelings can help you feel at ease in social situations. Here’s our guide on how to make friends if you have social anxiety.
Chapter 1: Making Conversation and Knowing What To Say
In this section, we’ll cover how to improve your conversation skills so that you don’t run out of things to talk about.
Memorize some universal go-to questions
One of the things that helped me be more social was to memorize a set of questions that I could fire off whenever I was at a party, dinner, or in almost any other social setting.
I realized that it’s enough to memorize these 4 questions:
- … Hi, how are you?
- … How do you know the people here?
- … Where are you from?
- … What do you do?
Don’t fire off all four at once. Use them when the conversation starts to dry up. When you have a set of questions to fall back on, it’s easier to make small talk, and people will see you as more social.
I have more detailed conversation advice in my guide on how to start a conversation.
Know that every friendship starts with small talk
I used to think that small talk didn’t have a purpose and that it was something only shallow people liked. In fact, small talk serves a key function in human interaction. When two people meet, they rarely feel comfortable around each other straight away. They need time to appraise each other and pick up on social cues at a subconscious level. They ask themselves questions, even if they don’t realize it, like:
- Is this person friendly or hostile?
- Could this person be a friend, a partner, an ally, or someone to avoid?
- Do we see things the same way or have things in common?
Done right, small talk works as a warm-up for meaningful conversations about stuff you care about. To make this transition, you want to be on the lookout for mutual interests and shared views.
Look for mutual interests or shared views that can move you from small talk to engaging conversation
When making small talk with someone, you can usually get a sense of what “type” of person they are. For example, are they nerdy, artsy, intellectual, or a keen sports fan? The next step is to figure out what things you might have in common, and steer the conversation in that direction.