Why is being asocial perceived negatively?

At the start of this semester, I asked a guy from my college, “Do you play computer games?”. He answered, “No, but I used to play. Now I have to be social and stuff.”

When I was in middle school and high school, my dad restricted me from learning programming languages and playing video games. He said I would be a asocial person. However, it didn’t help. I am still asocial. :slight_smile:

Why is being popular (is this the opposite of “asocial” really?) better than being asocial?
Why is being asocial perceived negatively?

Because we are Herd Animals.

Being asocial makes it harder for people to extract value out of you.

It’s inevitable that you’re going to have to interact with other people. Those interactions can either be pleasant, easygoing affairs or they can be awkward and uncomfortable for all parties involved. Socializing routinely increases the likelihood of the former over the latter. This benefits you, of course. But more importantly, it benefits everyone else. Everyone has some value, but if no one feels like dealing with you, it will all be wasted.

Being asocial doesn’t necessarily mean being unproductive, though an asocial person may be perceived as such. I’m also asocial. It would be fine with me if I never spoke to anyone at all. On my days off, I certainly don’t seek anyone out to interact with. It’s not that I dislike anyone in particular, it’s just that I have plenty of things going on in my head that are more interesting than what other people want to talk about. When I am with people, I’m almost constantly editing my real thoughts out of my speech so as to avoid arguments.

On the other hand, for pragmatic reasons I have learned how to have smooth, enjoyable interactions and relationships with people. As long as they’re pretty brief, I can endure them. As long as I can go home at the end of the day and regain my balance with solitude, I’m fine.

I think the popular vs asocial dichotomy is a false one. I’m popular in the sense that people want me to come and hang out with them. I just turn down almost all their offers. No offense to them, and they know it. The people who know me accept me as a loner. :slight_smile:

Alas, it also makes it harder for you to extract value form others. For instance, one of the best ways to get a job is to know someone who knows an opening. “Good old American know-who.”

That said, the world should make allowances for any many divergent life-styles as possible. Some people are happy in crowds, and others prefer to be alone. Recluses are generally comfortably non-burdensome. They stay and home and read: they aren’t in bars getting in fights!

Even if you’re introverted, having some social skills is important. You don’t have to be the life of the party, but you do have to be able to interact with people.

That said, your Dad was off-base, no disrespect. There’s no necessary contradiction between learning computer languages and being social. Same with gaming.

I have a tendency to be asocial as well, and I’m way past the point where it bothers me. Just be yourself, and don’t worry about anyone who expects you to be someone else.

Also the fact that social interactions can be essential to some professions.

If you’ve ever been to a political club, they will avoid asocial people like the plague. And if you want to have a career in politics, that’s exactly what you should do.

When you depend on social interaction for you career, it can be frustrating to deal with someone who is a black hole of conversation. Where everything you say to him is absorbed unanswered, or met with a one word response that kills conversation. It makes your job more frustrating and difficult, so I wouldn’t be surprised if asocial people in such professions aren’t looked upon with fondness.


Some of my best days are the ones when I don’t talk to a living soul. These almost never happen, but I remember them fondly nonetheless. At my advanced age I’ve learned to be social for limited engagements so that I can operate in society more smoothly.

I find that I have to have some time alone or I’m unable to function. I honestly don’t know how the extroverts manage it. It would seem to me like the pressure to be “on” all the time would be too much.

Nit pick - Whether one is an “introvert” or “extrovert” has little to nothing to do with social skills. At their essence, introverts “recharge” by being alone or with a small group of close friends; extroverts “recharge” by being in a setting with many people. I am an introvert, but I am not shy nor do I lack in social skills.

Yes! :D:D

This is beautifully put.

Be social until it’s not a big deal to be social.

Having a high number of close loving relationships is scientifically shown to be one of the best routes to a happy and fulfilling life. So being social is one of the easiest things you can do to have a happy life. Way more effective than making lots of money, for example, which has minimal influence on happiness above a pretty low level.

Being asocial is like being obese or a smoker. You shouldn’t feel bad about yourself for it, but we know pretty clearly that it’s not a positive for your life.

Also being popular definitely isn’t the opposite of asocial. You need close meaningful positive relations in your life. That isn’t implied by popularity, even ignoring how unusual it is to think about popularity post-teenage years.

I suppose if you truly rather be by yourself all the time, that’s your business.

It is, however, important for even introverts to develop social skills. And you only do that by being around and interacting with other people.

Maybe if I post cites people will believe me:

Myers Briggs:

Psychology Today:

Introvert != Shy

I persist because misdefining the issue will hinder solving of same (or determining whether a solution is even necessary).

I kind of straddle that introvert/extrovert line, which seems to mean that I need good company and solitude in about equal measure. I get kind of depressed if I don’t hang out with people other than my wife and son on a regular basis, but I also can get too much of that and want to be alone and do my own thing pretty regularly as well.

I will say this though… introverts with social skills are a delight, while extroverts without social skills are frightful.

Dogs are herd animals.
We humans are herd animals.

So are we dogs? :stuck_out_tongue:

Dogs are pack animals. Sheep are herd animals. We are sheep, yes.

Perhaps it’s adaptive, we are less trustful of asocial people as non-zero sum partners.

I get on very well with people, but if they all disappeared tomorrow I wouldn’t miss them. If being antisocial bothers you, then it’s a problem. If you’re happier by yourself or with one other person, why not?