Hatred motivates us to avoid pain. When we experience hatred, we distance ourselves from what causes us pain.
So, if you hate talking to people, then ‘talking to people’ is a source of pain for you.
Note that “I hate talking to people” is not necessarily the same as “I hate people”. You may be okay with texting them but not with talking to them on the phone or one-on-one.
At the same time, it could also be that you hate talking to someone because you hate them as a person.
Whatever the reason, when you avoid talking to people, there’s always some pain or discomfort that you’re trying to avoid.
Let’s look at some specific reasons why you hate talking to people. Some of these overlap, of course. The goal of forcefully separating them out is to help you pinpoint the reason(s) that apply to your specific situation.
1. Avoiding pain
This is the reason behind every other reason why you hate talking to people. If you hate talking to people, you may be trying to avoid the pain of:
- Being judged
- Being misunderstood
- Getting rejected
- Feeling embarrassed
- Getting ridiculed
- Poor communication skills
Most of these are ‘bad’ behaviors on the part of others that motivate you to avoid talking to them. You’re trying to avoid external sources of pain.
If you get easily embarrassed when you make a mistake, your source of pain is internal. But it’s pain nonetheless. Same for poor communication skills. You may be lacking them or the one you hate talking to, or both of you.
2. Social anxiety
Anxiety is fear of the near future. Socially anxious people want to connect with others but are afraid they’ll mess up. Their source of pain is internal- their anxious thoughts before a social event.
They hate talking to people because they don’t like dealing with their anxious thoughts and feelings, which can be highly uncomfortable.
Many who hate talking to people are introverts.
Introverts are people with rich inner lives who are internally stimulated. They don’t need a lot of external stimulation. They get easily overwhelmed by constant external stimulation, like talking to people for hours.
They’re deep thinkers who spend most of their time in their heads. They recharge by spending time alone.
Usually, introverts don’t hate people. They only hate talking to people. Talking to people forces them out of their heads, and being out of their heads isn’t familiar territory.
They may be okay with texting because texting allows them to jump back into their head and think deeply amidst a conversation.
Since they like thinking and talking about deep topics, small talk is a nightmare for them. They struggle with exchanging pleasantries with people. They tend to be economical with their words and get straight to the point.
Depression occurs when you’re facing a serious life problem. Your problem is so big that your mind deviates all your energy from other life areas and re-directs it to the problem.
This is why people who get depressed withdraw into themselves and enter into reflective mode. Ruminating over a problem makes you more likely to solve it. Almost all your energy is spent on rumination.
You have little social energy left. So, you hate talking to anyone- including family and friends.
5. Avoidant attachment
You may have an avoidant attachment style if you hate talking to people. Our attachment styles are formed in early childhood and play out in our closest relationships.
Those with avoidant attachment styles pull away from relationships when things get too close for their comfort. A big part of that “pulling away” is not talking.
6. Resources management
You may not be depressed, socially anxious, avoidant, or introverted. Your interactions with people may be smooth and pleasant. They may not have given you any reason (bad behavior) not to talk to them.
Yet, you hate talking to them.
In this case, the reason may be that you want to manage your time and energy resources efficiently.
If the people you don’t talk to are not adding value to your life, it’s reasonable not to speak to them. If you talk to them, you’ll hate that you wasted so much time and energy on them. They drain your energy.
Of course, they don’t do it deliberately. It’s not their fault. It’s just how you feel after interacting with them.
This is common in social interactions forced upon you, like having to talk to relatives or co-workers you don’t feel like talking to.
The guilt of not connecting to others
We’re social species, and the desire to connect to others is at the very base of our nature.
Modern times have created a unique situation that our minds find challenging.
On one hand, our social circle has expanded. Every day, we come in contact with more people than ever.
By ‘come in contact’, I don’t just mean people you see and talk to in the real world. I also mean the people you text, whose emails you read, and whose posts you ‘like’ and comment on.
At the same time, many experts claim that we’re lonelier than before.
What’s happening here?
Our ancestors lived in small, closely-knit tribes, much like how many tribal societies live today. Village life comes close, but city life is a bit removed from the social context our minds evolved in.
We have a deep-rooted need to connect with the members of our tribe.
No matter how good your long-distance online relationship is and how many incredible people you interact with in online communities, you’ll still feel the urge to connect with people in 3D.
You’ll feel the urge to connect with your neighbor, the shopkeeper on your street, and the people you see in the gym.
To your subconscious, those are the members of your tribe because you see them in 3D, and they’re in close physical proximity to you.
Your subconscious doesn’t understand the online world. It can’t derive the same fulfillment from texting as talking to someone and connecting in person.
People = investments
Think of your social energy as water and the people in your life as buckets. You have limited water.
When you fill a bucket fully, it fulfills you.
When you give enough social energy to the people that matter to you, you feel fulfilled.
If you have too many buckets, you’ll partially fill them and end up dissatisfied.
Some buckets are dear to you that you want to keep fully filled. Some buckets you can only partially fill. Other buckets you need to kick away. No point in holding empty buckets. They’ll pull on your attention and beg to get filled, but you can’t afford to fill them.
Remember this bucket analogy to deal with the guilt of not connecting with those you consciously don’t want to connect to but are subconsciously nudged to connect to.
Put your subconscious desires to rest by reminding yourself that you have limited water.
Get clear on who you are and who you want to be. Let it override your unhelpful subconscious desires. Get clear on your boundaries. Every person in your life is an investment. If they’re not yielding decent returns, drastically reduce the investment or cut it out completely.
Hi, I’m Hanan Parvez (MBA, MA Psychology), founder and author of PsychMechanics. PsychMechanics has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Reader’s Digest, and Entrepreneur. Feel free to contact me if you have a query.