Not Every Recluse Suffers From Social Anxiety Disorder

Not every reclusive person suffers from social anxiety disorder.  Some people just don’t like to mingle.  Some people find themselves uncomfortable in social situations and avoid them not so much out of fear, but out of preference .

Personally, I love being home alone.  I love not having to explain myself, to persuade others to accommodate my needs, to wonder how I’m judged and not having to figure out my place and my position in unfamiliar surroundings. I’m King  in my home and “It’s Good to Be the King”.

Okay, I can see in the preceding paragraph, that these preferences can be limiting.  I can see symptoms which are also present in those who do in fact suffer from social anxiety disorder, but I do not regard a preference for solitude necessarily as a disorder.

“I’ve deliberately created a business which enables me to work from my home and avoid interacting with too many people, however as the economy continues to slide and  my business model is forced to adapt, I am having some difficulty adjusting to having to interact with other people and my finances are suffering as a consequence.” Should this person be unable to adjust, I believe you would cross the boundary from preference to disorder.

I, like many, really don’t like people as a whole. I find little value in trite everyday conversation.  In my youth I had a rich social life.  My hormones overcame my discomfort.  But as those needs diminished over time, so did my willingness to pay social dues. I would resent having to pay those dues again for the sake of a few dollars, but I could and would do it. I just wouldn’t be happy about it.

I understand extreme social anxiety, but I assert strongly that not everyone who’s chosen to sequestered themselves, suffers from a disorder anymore than those of us who prefer to eat vanilla ice cream suffer  from a chocolate anxiety disorder.  I personally would just prefer to be alone… most of the time. And I favor Cherry Garcia.

I’m encountering more and more people who have chosen the  path of semi-isolation, of adapting their careers and lifestyles to their personal preference of avoiding anxiety producing situations.  Perhaps the very fact that social situations produce anxiety, is a manifestation of a disorder, but I don’t think so.  We see enough television (news) and have enough negative memories to believe rightly that social interaction has risks. It can lead to conflicts, it can lead to friendships that invade boundaries, obligations which cause resentment and waste a lot of time that can be used for productivity and creativity. Only the individual can decide whether any gain from interacting is worth the price.

As long as it does not limit the quality of one’s life; as long as it does not prevent self actualization and the fulfillment of needs; and as long as it continues to feel like a choice rather than a phobia, creating a lifestyle of semi-solitude is just fine.

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    • Margie
    • October 17, 2009

    I found your post while looking for information on “becoming a recluse,” something that has been on my mind seriously lately. What I found was a lot of info telling me there is something wrong with me, i am supposed to enjoy parties and people and living/working/socializing and if I don’t I have a problem. I was BORN with a quiet personality. Sorry. I am now 50 and the world has not really shown me that it is smart to trust people, or enjoyable to live with them. I still love animals and small children. I would love to just stay in my house, read, watch movies, go for long walks in the woods with my dog and not meet a single soul. Thanks for your post, at least a few of us agree there is nothing wrong with this. Maybe it is selfish. It is also minding my own business and not hurting anyone. I say if you don’t like it, don’t look, get out of my life.

    • Jeff
    • October 17, 2009

    Margie, you are not alone in your preferences and you are not being selfish. In my work, as an Internet Marketing Consultant, I am encountering a growing number of people who have chosen to turn their backs on the world of people and arrange their lives as to minimized the need for social interaction.

    Humans are biologically social creatures, but we can control those aspects of nature to suit our own personalities. The choices are our own. No one has the right to judge you and you should not regard yourself negatively for designing your life to suit your needs.

    On the other hand, if your need to retreat from the world in any way diminishes the quality of your life, you need to take stock of yourself and determine the best way (for you) to pay tribute to the psychological, or pragmatic need to interact.

    In my own case, my desire for solitude began at about your age, when I realized that I no longer craved social, or romantic involvements. I am certain that prior to that I had been driven by hormone and instinct to reach out. That’s not to say that I see my preference for solitued as a permanent state, but for nearly a decade, whenever opportunity knocked at my door, I regarded it more as an invasion than an adventure.

    I like being alone and I do not like having to adjust my life to accommodate others. So I do not. And that’s OK!

    I, personally do not have the luxury of complete solitude. The economy has forced me to leave my sanctuary several times a week for the sake of my business and I feel I owe it to my daughter, who lives with my only part time, to be involved in her school. But when I don’t have to socialize I do not.

    I have half a dozen good friends who live in the community for whom I have great affection, but I speak to them only occasionally and see them rarely. They respect my decision to not participate in trivial interactions and know that I will always be there for them should they need me. I am comforted and secure in their reciprocation and acceptance.

    My point here, is that you/we are not the only ones who’ve evaluated the practice of socializing and found it wanting. In my work, I encounter an ever-growing number of people who’ve redesigned their work-life and their home life to accommodate their need for solitude.

    If it enhances your life rather than diminishing it, it’s OK.

    • Margie
    • October 22, 2009

    Many thanks for answering my post so quickly. Your thoughts are much appreciated in my quest for understanding this. I know how I feel, but I can’t help but think that living in my own solitary world, not having to accommodate others because I don’t want to, is being selfish. It is thinking about me and what I want. At the present time I cannot be a total recluse either because I need to work, my job requires being around others. I have no desire for a romantic relationship. I have been married and have had 2 more relationships after that. The hormone theory is most likely true in my case also. My family lives hundreds of miles away, I love them but see them once a year. Truly enjoy being around my 7 year old grandaughter who lives with me at this time. Do NOT enjoy living with her mother who is my grown daughter. They are the only 2 family members who live near. I do not entertain and avoid as many social events as I possibly can. People rarely come to my house and that is how I like it. I cannot truly relax unless I am alone. There is always a little tension if anyone else is within sight. I am not depressed, I enjoy many solitary activities. I’m trying to figure out if I should fight my craving for solitude or if its okay to accept it and succumb to it. It will be possible when I retire in 15 years to become a true recluse if things go as expected.
    One comment on one of the websites was kind of amusing, it stated that social phobics avoid socializing unless they are sure of being liked. Who in the **** wants to socialize with people who don’t like you???
    Thanks again for your comments, peace and solitude be with you!

    • Margie
    • October 30, 2009

    It is me again. Why is it that when one clicks on “Home” and on the words “Modern Cave Dweller” of this website one reads a lot of info on social anxiety disorder and how to treat it? Call it whatever you like, a phobia, a disorder, a preference, a lifestyle, its the same thing. I like to stay home. I don’t like socializing. I don’t like all the fake smiling and fake friendliness and trying to impress with my wittiness and fielding personal questions or remarks, and did I use correct etiquette? Did I fit in? Did I pass muster with everyone? Who cares?
    Yes, I definately want to lead a life of reclusivness or semi reclusive at least, with no apology. It is comforting to know there is a growing number of us.

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    • Jean
    • July 5, 2010

    Finally! I’m not alone! I love solitude. I love hiking alone. But I “feel” for my husband, he is a social butterfly. But he seems fine socializing on his own, much to my relief! So glad to hear that being a recluse is not an illness!

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  5. Now I have read your article and by the way I found you website on AOL and I think after I read somepost on you website especially this one I have my own comment about what should I tell on the next hang out with my family, maybe next week I will tell my friendsabout this one and get debate.

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  7. PTSD is not something one can get over in one day or even in one month. It is a very debilitating disorder and she really needs some sort of therapy. From what you have included in your post, it seems like she is maybe suffering from severe anxiety. Unfortunately, if she is not yet ready and willing to accept help, then there is nothing you can do but show her love. Keep encouraging her to take on hobbies she enjoys, visiting friends and other positive activities. Try to suggest her to visit other counselors and therapists. She probably doesn’t trust them because she hasn’t found someone that she can truly connect and open up with. Good luck!

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  11. Brilliant post, helped me with my anxiety Thankyou so much.

    • sove
    • November 11, 2011

    Generally I don’t read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, very great article.

    • Leahg cartoonist
    • June 2, 2012

    Like yourself I have chosen a more reclusive existence. I have for most of my life been outgoing, sociable and busy with the outside world. I am simply slowing down…and moving through a new phase.

  12. Hi Jeff,

    I just read your article and wanted to say thanks for making me feel okay again! 🙂

    I’m a natural when it comes to solitude; I never crave company in the slightest. Quite the opposite: I crave for other people – when in my midst – to go away and take their distractions and aggravations with them! 🙂

    Most of your reasons for desiring solitude apply to me: one can be more creative and productive when on their own; one can be more ‘correct’ (they don’t have to justify their choices); one doesn’t have to accommodate other people’s moods or whims; one doesn’t have to compromise themselves.

    I make no apologies for any of this. However, I had a wobbly moment today, when my resolve was challenged! I went collect my young daughter from a play-date. I’d never been to the family’s home before, so the husband, wife and children saw me as a newcomer and kindly went out of their way to make me feel very welcome.

    But I was a little hard on myself afterwards, because I’d succumbed to the very thoughts that Margie detailed above: did I fit in? Did I make some dreadful faux pas? Did I smile in the right places? Was my conversation witty and engaging?

    Throughout the encounter I felt myself adopting a mask that was at odds with my true self … the natural, unaffected self I am when alone. It left me wondering why I cannot permit my true self to be seen when socialising. It’s a bit like, ‘why do some women paint their faces with makeup before socialising?’ I mean, seriously, how often do we stop to consider how *weird* it is to PAINT ONE’S FACE, just because other people are around?

    As I spend so much time alone, to suddenly be exposed to the phenomenon of ‘socialising with strangers’ was very disorienting. In the aftermath I questioned myself: is there something wrong with me for disliking social interaction? Even with people who are kind and welcoming?

    But your article reminded me that my choice is fine for me.

    Mind you, I *do* display symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder. But these aren’t the reasons I prefer solitude. I suspect I exhibit the symptoms because the set of behaviours we call ‘social interaction’ is so radically removed from ‘normal’ behaviour that the experience leaves one feeling ‘false’. And, of course, a solitary person is SO accustomed to ‘true’ (i.e. unaffected) behaviours that a sudden plunge into ‘falseness’ is acutely felt. The two opposing forces – trying to be true but simultaneously trying to be false – create a natural tension and anxiety.

    So thank you for your articles Jeff, and I hope my thoughts help further the discussion.

    Oh, and if you can teach me how to have a viable home-based business, I’m all ears! 🙂

    Kind regards,


    • Bella
    • June 23, 2012

    I really don’t want to judge anyone here but are you sure that it is ok to forget about biological side of human being. We can not exist without society,without communicating with each other.

    Can you remind Robinson Cruso who has to be alon?! Up to me loneliness makes us to become degraded because it so hard to keep everything in yourself,have no one whom you can trust,who can encourage you. People learn a lot of things from life when we make mistakes,when we are disappointed in something,when even everything tries to break us down. But it doesn’t mean that we should lose heart and withdraw into ourselves.

    I want to know your point. Maybe I don’t understand anything…

    • Fran
    • July 1, 2012

    For me, it is simply growing beyond the rat race and life in the fast lane, for within both are certainly major issue’s and One can get pulled into it fast by People that never get no where if you take notice and They call it “Life” and I call it nerve wracking and an exscuse. The world lives in a Circle and well, we live outside of the Loop! Because we choose too is all. We love Life, simply put, but we are Solitude and Private people. And We want what we want is all and that is Not selfish, it is simply Knowing Who You Are and Most people do not know who they are for they are forced to comply to make other’s happy, is that simple. We are maturing into a greater phace, Serenity, balance, calmness, and Yes, we have our own Issue’s, but We are the type that find solutions, and not become a part of the problem, where as, not being a Solitude person can induce nothing but Problems with people, that are not self suficient. Solitude goes hand in hand with self suficient is all. Most people, family, friends, etc have a problem with this. I am a very Solitude person. I have been called everything under the Sun, because of my Reclusiveness and I began to think that that may be a good thing, then Intruder’s will certainly be afraid and stay away!! And I laugh and have to maintain that reputation, for being Kind this day and time, can get one in a world of trouble. I am not pessimistic, nor am I a negative person, just keeping it real. We have to save our energy for tangible and productive things and when we play, we play with passion and we have a great passion inside, we just do not want it waisted on petty things. That is wisdom, not selfish. It is discretion. I live in a wonderful little country home in the forest with my animals and the wilds. It is wonderful and all of nature loves unconditionally, “ME”. I can come home when I want, get up when I want, plant in my garden, go on adventures in the forest, star gaze and plan a future, in PEACE. I do not have to answer to a soul and certainly am not going to argue with myself. I go out and have a ball if I choose and come home and If I chose ever again to have a certain Man in my life, then I will, but it is Now my choice. Being Solitude and alone, does not mean we are Lonely, We are Loner’s that never get lonely and creative enough to entertain ourselve’s. I have my battle scars from Hell in my past, but it was the wisdom or the Pain that convinced me that being Solitude is wonderful for there are some things in this world that are far worst to be with, or be in, than being Lonely and living with a Psycho, or two or three. Be proud to be a Loner, Solitude means……………Whole. This works for me, but does not mean it would for another. I can be a Witch and dress up and celebrate Halloween, and not hear, What you dressing like that for? I can be a Woodland Princess and dress and dance in my forest, I can lay in my Pool and watch the star’s, dream, wait without hearing, It’s time to go to bed woman! I can put on my skimpy outfit and get sun while in my garden and plant my garden wrong if I want too and not hear, OMG Ya got the dang things to close. I can put on my heels and make up and die my hair and go out and dance the night away and come home. I can take my car to a shop and get them to fix it without hearing OMG, can’t you do a thing right and why ya got this scented thingee in your Car anyhow? I can put in my fangs and dress up like a Vampress, and be gothic even and hang with the crowd. I love it all, but, I love my solitude. There is when I can be either a sinner or a saint and no body knows it but “ME”. Freedom begins at the moment we choose, to be. Best of luck to everyone! Hang in there and be YOU.

    • valerie
    • July 27, 2012

    I agree that many people just choose through situtaions in life and exsperience to limit their social contact. I however believe most off us have found little value in the nature off friendships and relationships, its not that we are not willing to be friendly most of us are, but we do not find the people we wish to trust or share with, so instead off taking what we can get we go without.

    • Lady Diana
    • September 23, 2012

    Just to reassure anyone looking at this site… There MAY be NOTHING wrong with you’! I lived the other life for many many years… Very social … Parties… Friends… Family… And now that I am 50 with a 24 year old child… I LIKE BEING HOME AND ALONE. I still work 40 hours a week outside… Only by necessity! I love coming home and being alone! My husband does not mind either. People work
    To build a home… Stay in it! For me… I gave elected to spend my precious time off not in the company of a world where drivers are crazy, people have no manners, and ther is a lot of stress out “there”. Home is peaceful… Quiet. Relaxing, until recently I made a point on day off to go out… To movies … To dinner… Stop at book store… And then I wondered why… Cuz the world thought I should get out of the house. !!?? The movies are expensive and rude people talk and text thru them. People in restaurant stressed, hurried… And again… Rude. Shop? I can do that on line cheaper and with no rude clerk or being among rushed other people with screaming misbaved kids, I am happy and comfortable at home. So what!!!! I’d stay here 24/7 happily if I could!!!

    • brownin329
    • December 13, 2012

    ^hypnotherapy stress is an idiot. Do not listen to “it.” There, I said it. PTSD, my ass.

    Thank you for saying so eloquently what I have trouble saying and what I have trouble getting people to understand. I am probably more misanthropic than you are; add in introversion and Asperger’s and you’ve got me. I do not have social anxiety nor am I shy. I just find people hard to take well, most are so painfully STUPID (sigh). I used to watch the cartoon “Daria” and go, “Yep. Exactly.”

    I find that my energy is up when I am not around people or at least away from them. If I were a child they’d say “I play solitary to others” and throw me in special ed which would be weird because my test scores say I do not belong there. Put me in my own classroom with my own teacher and you’ve got a thriving pupil. What? Not practical? Of course not. It gets real ironic when I, a special ed preschool teacher, have to get ‘Johnny’ to play with others when he is perfectly content to play by himself, because it is on his individualized education plan.

    I am in the process of trying to create a job where I can work from home. I tried the Oprah-istic nonsense of “Find your Passion” “Live Your Best Life,” and “Do What You Love,” but everything I love or even like is ruined by the dumb, the immature, the inconsiderate, the catty and the sociopathic. Unfortunately, being alone does not pay the bills. I hope you are still in communication with others on this site, as would like to hear from you and find out how you did it. The Asperger’s gets in the way sometimes and I have a hard time getting myself organized. The Internet has a lot of information but I cannot tell what is correct and what is a scam. If for some reason you can’t share, I understand. I’ll keep plugging away until I get it right. Hopefully I won’t be 65 and unemployed before that happens. Thanks for reading.

    • Nisha
    • February 17, 2013

    I think a greater amount if honesty is all
    That is needed. It is tiring and difficult to explain to anyone your deepest need or desire. If it was ever anyone else’s business what your truth was, then perhaps it was because their own motivation for wishing you to conform was “selfish”. Those who are unfulfilled are always expecting others to create their emotional realities. There is so much unhappiness and waste in the world. anyone who is halfway wise and also social doesn’t bother judging others. not being liked by people who are different is to be expected, but not liking someone and judging them are two different things. If your ego can’t get it wants from the outside world, them
    Why shouldn’t it rest in peace? I don’t think living in a world of illusion is a worthwhile endeavor for all. Some enjoy the pretense immensely. But that is before they have had something, perhaps, break them
    Open. it is terrifying to be free. But I think sometimes only aloneness can help to reveal
    The truth. Personally, adventure is what I crave, and the adventure of aloneness to me is one ofthe greatest.

    • Nisha
    • February 17, 2013

    Oh, also, it requires a certain amount of worldy insight to see through the ruse of friendship. I think, again, it depends on the person. If you have suffered betrayals, and have also betrayed, perhaps you have simply become a different person. Some love the pain. We all
    Have a threshold and then a breaking point. beyond which I think may lie far
    More than an abyss. my breaking point was
    Beautiful and the resulting solitude truly divine, if I choose to emerge, I may not know how to behave any longer, because I will know myself. this is frightening. And I cannot understand how it is that this Element of existence is so underexplored. There are other fates and experiences. many many vistas. But within that, so much aloneness. I think it is beautiful, even to pretend, as long as you know the truth. The truth is what matters, and once you have found it, no one can take it from you. A false
    Smile borne of ignorance is a very different creature than that of simply accommodation. Don’t allow “selfish” to bother you. Each of us has self interest. It is completely inescapable. And it is completely understandable that you should feel however you feel. It is all real, all of it. Every single life and experience. Is real. No one has a right to take that from you.

    • Everso
    • February 24, 2013

    When I was younger I enjoyed having friends and being involved in social activities but separated myself from close and involved relationships as I got older. For me it is true that the closer I get to people the better I like dogs. I have very few friends and get together with them from time to time, but I don’t need or want unexpected drop ins or unwanted advice or suggestions on what I should be doing with my life. I think much of my feelings toward relationships has to do with the imposing of others into my personal affairs and how I should spend my time and money.

    • Erinn
    • February 26, 2013

    I was beginning to feel like I’m a sociopath or something because of my wanting to be alone all of the time. Once I realized what it was like to live all by myself for the first time, I learned about who I was rather than who I was with someone else. Now, every relationship I’ve been in since has ended because I have no interest in living with the other person and have a hard time coping with the emotions that come with being in a relationship. I’d rather be left alone, do what I want, when I want and not have to worry about anyone else in any regard. I know it seems selfish, but rather I say I’m being truthful and unselfish by not allowing the other person to put up with me any longer and saving my sanity at the same time. Interestingly enough, I do feel like a flip switches in me though once things are broken off, and it’s like I’m speaking to an acquaintance instead of a person I just spent the last couple of years with. That is a little concerning to me, hence the sociopath thought, or maybe I have just hit my breaking point and detached myself enough to where I can do that. Either way, I have always been happier by myself since I was a little girl, and am now 37, and know that I have no business trying to be in a relationship that I just won’t end up wanting anyways no matter how it feels in the beginning.

    • Jeff
    • February 26, 2013

    Being asocial has nothing whaatever to do with being a sociopath. In fact most sociopths are quite social, enriching themselves through the manipulation of others. Choosing to be alone, follows in the path of many great thinkers and those of us who hold high the right to control their TV’s remote. There is no shame is wishing to avoid the hassles of human interaction, especially those found in a romantic relationship. As long as you have no urge to drink baby’s blood, or eat puppy dog stew, you’re fine. BTW, falling out of love does happen, and turning off emotions for a period of time, to cope with life is quite natural…and Okay.

    • Erinn
    • March 4, 2013

    Thanks for the giggle, Jeff. It is good to know I am not alone in wanting to be alone and it is alright despite people saying it’s unnatural and weird. I have tried so hard to be honest with myself no matter what it may be. Thanks for your perspective and enjoy that tv remote! 🙂

    • Annie
    • March 10, 2013

    Can you be a part-time recluse? I have a successful career that demands my being in a busy setting 5 days a week, and it would be financial suicide to not continue to work there 4 more years. However, I’m saturated with people at the end of the day and seek the comfort of my safe place (home!) every minute not spent working. I park my car on Friday at 5pm and leave the house again Monday at 730am. In between, I spend fabulous, awesome, peaceful time reading, cleaning, hanging with my pets, roasting coffee beans, listening to music and…shopping online! This is a must for recluses, and I have it down to an art. The only things I ever need to buy at a grocery are dairy products and eggs; everything else I can receive at the same or less cost, delivered to my door. I appreciate and enjoy my delivery people, for the very short time they’re here. Other than that, I don’t have much use for the company of people at all. No social anxiety, just social apathy and an addiction for the comfort and contentment of my home.

    • Tina
    • April 5, 2013

    So glad to read this and the replies – like so many other people I used to love socialising getting out and about, but over the years have learned so much about humanity that I dislike I have found myself pulling away from it as much as I possibly can – I am not unhappy, Im not quiet or introverted, I have hobbies I study with the OU I go out cycling, visit places of interest such as museums alone – I tend to speak to as few people as possible because as someone has already said I am tired of trivial chit chat, so unless someone wants to pass on some incredibly useful piece of information onto me I would rather they kept quiet and left me alone. I am not ill, there is nothing wrong with me I just dislike people 🙂

    • Dana
    • April 13, 2013

    I have been wondering whether others feel the same way as I do..I guess I have gotten my answer. I am a recluse and being a recluse does not bother me the least bit. What worries me, from time to time is the lack of the feeling of feeling bad about it! Does it make sense?
    I used to feel so much pressure to get together with other ladies, go on playdates, or hang out with other families. I just cannot stand it. I enjoy living in my own my own mind. My world is not dull, on the contrary. I have vivid imagination, I am interested in all things spiritual, I feel I have the whole universe at my fingertips and I do not have the desire to dilute my mind with petty drama and competition. I could spend all my life focusing on my interests, I would be happiest if everyone left me alone so I could spend even more time in reading and meditation and spiritual works.
    I have a few people that are exceptional. They are my closest friends. I am with them with every heartbeat, every breath. They are a lot like me, also reclusive introverts. We live in different parts of the world and meet only every few years..but in the meantime we coexist in an entirely different dimension, together, yet physically apart.
    It is such a wonderful experience that nothing compares to this. I feel depressed and sad anytime I have to communicate with normal average people. So much much many lies. All for nothing! What a waste of time, time that could be spent on a much higher intellectual and spiritual plane.
    I do not hate people. I am always nice to anyone I meet. Most people love me and perceive me like this sweet quet young woman whom everyone loves. I hate to admit this but I am working hard to keep up this image. I want everyone to know me that way – so they will leave me alone. Such a lie – but I have no choice.
    That is because I have young children.
    It is for their sake.
    I am dreading the beginning of school this year. I cannot imagine myself interacting with people on a daily basis. It does not make me makes me devasated that so much of my time will have to go away to meaningless shallow interaction with others, which could be spent on a much more satisfying way.
    I often worry about my children, yes. Chances are, if they take after me, they will be introverts as well..but in the meantime I want to (or atleast I feel like I need to) give them opportunity for plentiful social interactions. This is for their benefit, so they can decide what type of life they really want to live. I do not want to force my reclusiveness on them if they are happier with others. I cannot make this choice for them.
    However I have made my choice for myself and I am very protective of my space and time alone. So this remains a struggle and I am not looking forward having to me the social school mom for the sake of my children. I wish I could just leave this existence behind, beyond time and space so nobody would even notice that I am missing 🙂
    Anxious and depressed I am not! I am just so much happier if I am left alone. I do not perceive myself to be sick mentally. In fact I perceive myself more of a clear thinker than the average social person clinging onto others for safety all the time. Or to alcohol. Or to food. I am a full and complete person without all of these crutches, without anyone. I know who I am and i do not need others reinforcing me. Except on rare occassions when I begin to wonder just how normal I am 😉 My little research today has proven to me that I am perfectly normal in a world gone crazy. I think it would be interesting to do a research about those people who are unable to be alone and be in silence because they are afraid of the shadows that might come out to haunt them in the absence of social stimulus. Why nobody looks at it from this angle, is beyond me. People clinging to others for safety and being part of the herd are much more unstable in my opinion than a happy content loner.

  13. One must simply be aware that some people’s spiritual path is that of a recluse or withdrawal from the “world” as the world is simply a distraction to one’s spirituality. there is nothing “wrong” with the path whatsoever. It is ordained by the Divine, and guides us through our feelings and thoughts of such a life. One simply has to have the courage to say NO to the world’s incessant trivial unimportant demands and focus on what is TRULY important. If the ‘world’ wants to label this path “wrong” , this judgement simply reveals the fear of being alone, which in truth is being ALL IN ONE……. 2 very different existences……. blessed be to those who feel a calling to such a path, for it is truly a blessing to follow. Blessed be.

    • Paula
    • June 14, 2013

    I too enjoy times of solitude and I enjoy the company of a few close and trusted friends and family. I spend a majority of my time alone and part of it is because of PTSD. I am triggered often and it is a challenge that I am facing. I do not know that I will end up being much more social than I am now and that does not matter. Although I find myself thinking that I am alone in the way I view the world I am aware of how egocentric this is and that I am not so unique. Everyone has their limitations, fears, hopes, desires, etc. I do not wish to hate other people because I desire more alone time than they do. In some ways I need other people just like everyone else who has written on this page. Some may choose to spend less time with others but I hope that you can grant those who wish to socialize more the same kindness and respect that you seem to want from them. Not everyone who socializes a lot is phony and puts a mask on. As I grow older I am becoming more authentic and open to those around me. I find it is a catalyst for others to open up also. Having solitary time is important to all people so we know who we are without someone else. Two things I know for sure is that I was born alone and I wil die alone. In the time in between I wish to experience all that I can in either direction.

    • Ginger
    • July 4, 2013

    I’m a sixty-two year old woman and finally am accepting that I’m not like “other people.” Nobody is! But boy, will people try to change you, even to the point of meanness and name-calling! All my life I’ve happily enjoyed my own company, usually more than being with others, although I’ve had rich friendships and lots of good times with others. I’m an introvert, and that is a legitimate psychological label that does not indicate mental illness or social anxiety, although Americans definitely favor the exhuberant, outgoing personality and can sneer at “loners.” “Weirdo” has been applied to me often, although I don’t LOOK weird and feel just fine out in public, “people seem to like me”! Some societies respect the quieter types more than the loud, extroverted people, I’ve recently read. The Finnish are a quiet culture and most Asians look upon a quiet, more uninvolved person as being thoughtful and intelligent. I’m also what is called “a highly sensitive personal” and MUST be reclusive, what I call “hiding” for awhile, to re-center myself, to rest from being overly stimulated, to calm my nerves. I have many hobbies which I enjoy and love being at home, at my age now I’ve lost most interest in traveling. My sister was angry at me recently because she had to URGE me to take a trip with her this month, saying that I need to “get away.” Get away from WHAT? I love being home doing artwork and working on other projects, each day to me is an adventure. I’m going with her on this trip in a couple of weeks but I know she’ll be chattering all the time about things that don’t interest me whatsoever and I’ll probably be homesick in about a day. Nobody is like anybody else but what I’ve found that has lowered my self-esteem throughout my life is people putting me down or being angry at me for just being myself! In fact, come to think of it, ironically that’s a phrase I’ve heard when I’ve have to be talked into going to a social activity. When I have said, “I don’t know if I’ll be comfortable there,” the inevitable reply will be, “Oh, just be yourself!” Well, fine, I’ll stay home! I’m now going to be giving myself permission to do just that and to hell with what other people think, it’s my life and it’s getting shorter!

    • Esther
    • July 16, 2013

    I’m so happy to have found this blog. I was starting to think I was nuts, loosing it etc. I too use to be social, outgoing. I think age is a factor also. People start to see you as OLD when you pass a certain age. The workforce does not want you anymore. Family looks at you as old and stupid. Your husband does not find you attractive anymore. The world has a way of beating the s__t out of you and you back down. Your self esteem is down the toilet, so you don’t have the confidence to go into an interview and sell yourself. I play in my yard, grow flowers, veg’s. I love it. But it don’t pay the bills.
    Thanks for making me feel normal again.

    • Denise
    • July 31, 2013

    It has been good to read the post on this site. I am glad to see that there are others that feel exactly like I do. I spend most of my time alone, by choice. I just can’t take the way of the world anymore. The relationships I’ve had have left me empty or confused. I also have no desire for romance. I am comfortable alone. I am very content sitting at home with my pets. I thank all of you for helping me feel a lot more normal. Peace to all.

    • uma
    • August 10, 2013

    Hello! I work 5 days a week where I have to meet lot of people but after those hours I prefer to be alone. I like reading and at times I go shopping but always go alone. I do have some good friends whom I see a few times in a year. I have never invited anyone to my home as I feel it’s like invading my privacy.

    • Gabriel
    • September 24, 2013

    As much as I don’t want to reverberate everything that just been said…. I too have gone to a more reclusive state of being, and like most others I used to be extremely social. When I work (which is in a grocery store) I am extremely outgoing and extroverted. I am sure most of my co-workers think I am quite the social butterfly… lacking in social skills isn’t something i’m worried about. What concerns me is that I don’t go out and hang out with people… like extremely rare… I always turn down invites and feel like I disappoint people in doing so (I feel these expectations and run from them) and some people almost get angry at that fact. Im not afraid of going to the store and maybe one or two people i wouldn’t mind spending an evening with now and then, but for the most part I feel invaded upon and want to be left alone. I don’t like being too easily accessable. I am still questioning if this is simply a preference or is something wrong, as “many, not all” friends and family suggest it so. Sometimes it seems like being that kind of social butterfly “might” be nice or rewarding but the thought diminishes fast. I love people, but i don’t like them… if that makes any sense.

    • Safetybiz
    • December 23, 2013

    I absolutely agree; love being alone for the same reasons you iterated. There is no doubt about it.

    • sdrawkcaB
    • February 13, 2014

    On reclusiveness…

    Any population you look at has characteristics that align to the bell curve. In fact, if you have done any statistics, you will know that the curve is used to predict numbers of people that do certain things or have certain characteristics.

    So, reclusiveness bell curves. From the curve, one predicts there must be recluses and they must recluse to differing levels…say from full blown Hermit to do not want to know about the world once work is finished for the day.

    If you are reclusive then there is nothing wrong with you providing you are not avoiding but exercising preference.

    In fact, from the bell curve, for every 100 people, there must be something in the order of 2 who are downright reclusive and a further 15 who do not get out that much.

    The issue is not those who are reclusive, its the psycho babble fad that everyone just loves to mingle and chat and if you are one of the 17%, then there is something wrong with you. The real damage is done when the 17% are forced into the meet and greet charade and feel the need to pretend that its fun.

    Suffice to say, I am 50 and get out maybe 2 times a month. I would prefer to have my left testicle amputated then go to a cocktail party. I solved my inner turmoil later in life when I self taught enough maths so see through some of the ridiculous herding aspects of society.

    So, if you are a recluse then be one. That way you are being a person and not a sheep.

    • Iris
    • February 15, 2014

    Reading this made me feel good about myself. I enjoy spending weekends by myself and this is looked upon as somewhat dysfuctional in today’s facebook-crazy let’s-catch-up-and-take-pictures-of-ourselves-together world.
    Knowing there are other people who feel the same way does help.
    I’m a recluse, and proud of it!

    • Marilyn
    • March 4, 2014

    Happy, happy, happy to have found this article and the post’s commenting on it. Yay, I am normal. I prefer to be alone, take trips alone, and dine alone. I relish my time and use my energy working in my yard, sitting on my pier reading a book, cooking a wonderful meal. This is truly my ‘golden years’ and I’m loving it!
    I resent visits from others, and I despise drop in’s. My grown children have called me a recluse for years, now I’m proud of the title, and glad I have others with the same feelings! Oh thank you people.

  14. Being a recluse can be selfish to the point of causing problems, but if we can live a secluded life without being cross and ill-tempered, what damage have we done?
    I’m 73 years old, never married, and I do have a few close friends, including my older brother who lives on the other side of this 20-acre lot. He ganders about with the girls he’s dating (wife died just before Christmas), and spends a lot of time with guys his age he’s known a long time. He’s crazy about his four daughters and drives hundreds of miles to visit them. We talk for an hour or thereabouts a couple of times a week and share email back and forth.
    But me? I sleep until 9 or 10 in the morning. I spend my day dabbling at cleaning my house (it’s a big one and not in wonderful condition downstairs), reading, writing blogs and books, drawing, painting pictures, playing the organ and piano, taking walks with my cane, watching TV, talking and listening to God, and talking to my yellow cat, Corky. Oh, yes, and taking care of the lawn.
    I’m not sure this is the best way of life for me, but I don’t see any other choice, so I’m making the most of it and enjoying my solitude as much as I can. Such a relief to find I’m not the only one. May God bless all the recluses in the world!

    • Ricky B
    • April 20, 2014

    as a small boy I was quiet and a loner. content to play alone in the orange groves near our home. or ‘hide away’ in the house and do my own thing. as I got older I did develop agoraphobia and anorexia. the anorexia lasted a year and a half. the agoraphobia started when I was 13 and pretty much made me a recluse from 16 to 25. living with my mom until I moved in with my dad and sisters after his stroke to help with him. there I was thrust from a fairly quiet life at moms to a chaotic Atmosphere of drug addicts, drug deals, stealing, death threats from family members and a dying father. stuck in a small 3 room apartment with all this for 3 years. I never used the drugs or stole or any of that horrid way of living. but unable to get out and unable to work, there I was stuck in a hellish life. only after my dad died did it end, the users went their way and I was left alone. I got on disability within 6 months and got into a relationship with an alcoholic 15 years my senior (I was 25) but now I slowly was able to get out meet people and make friends. Traveled in my late 30’s BEST TIME OF MY LIFE WAS TRAVEL! by 38 I was tired of what I had seen. back-stabbing people and manipulative, cheating relationships. my sensitive nature unable to accept this way of life at 39 I withdrew again and along the way met a few, and very few, people that again proved to be a mistake. humans seem to have a cruel and mean nature in them and they always found me! now at almost 49 I PREFER my own company ( and my cats) I have no desire for the close company of others or romantic ‘bonding’ of anyone. my social anxiety is there. BUT my dislike for the ‘normal’ way people seem to treat each other is undesirable to me. I get ‘weirdo’ ‘strange’ and ‘I can’t figure him out’ comments all the time. which I find both annoying and funny. thing is I am a very friendly person when I encounter people when I do venture out. But do not want them in my life or my home. quiet and solitude mean more to me than anything and I am very content living alone. and still 40 some odd years later ‘doing my own thing’ my terms, my life. the few years I experienced ‘the world’s ways’ have brought me back to where I am. I watch old movies, I cook, I clean, love to read and go for walks and sometimes venture into thrift shops and antique stores. alone, always alone. I love my morning coffee and my quiet nights watching a movie and going to bed, alone. I can stay in for days and days with no effort. my turbulent past has made me appreciate the joys of solitude and I would not have it any other way.

    • Ricky B
    • April 20, 2014

    I have to add I do not hate people. I just can’t figure them out and find most to be either up-front cruel or WORSE behind-your-back-cruel! sad when a world regards kindness and friendliness for weakness or wanting to be left quietly alone as ‘insanity’ or strangeness. the majority of the world seems to favor back-stabbing, lying and cruelty over genuine, kind and sincere people.
    luckily for me my loner-nature saves me in a way. ironic isn’t it? haha

    • Marie
    • June 24, 2014

    An answer to a prayer! I can more than relate times ten!!! My biggest struggle with my extreme behavior is my children. I worry there maybe something really wrong with me and may cause them to be social awkward. Ironically enough, I have three of the most social, well adjusted children! Also with a strong dislike for nonscense, which I think, is a blessing! I have a very blessed, and busy life and find no use for visiting, talking on the phone, or drama!!! And being a woman, true friends are usually a disappointment. I’m 43 years old and have evolved into the person whose company I am very fond of:). And I’m also very lucky to call my husband “my best friend”! I like my routine and somewhat, boring life. But feeling like an amenity has always made feel like I may have a personality disorder…your story has made me feel differently…and I THANK YOU!!!!

    Always stay true to yourself,
    Marie S.

    • Samantha
    • August 10, 2014

    I love this blog post! I’d also like to thank all of you who have responded and shared your stories. I am a 38 year old woman who has always been a quiet introvert. I’ve been ridiculed for it my entire life, in school, by co-workers, and even by my own family. I have a vivid internal life. I love reading, writing, and soon I will try my hand at painting. I love caring for animals. I don’t feel understood by anyone. I have always been considered weird. I’ve only had one real romantic relationship, which ended badly in part because I’m not a social butterfly. I was made to feel as if there was something wrong with me, and I had even convinced myself that I had terrible social anxiety. But after being out of that relationship for a while, I’ve realized that the anxiety I felt was due to being pushed into social interactions that were simply not comfortable for me. I was forced into trying to be someone that I’m not. I am an introvert and an HSP (highly sensitive person). When I’m alone, I’m so happy! So happy that I don’t even understand why other people view it as strange or some kind of illness. I’m so glad to see there are other people like me in the world. I think we often feel completely alone in loving our solitude (ironic, huh?). But we are kindred spirits. Even though we will never meet each other, we are kindred spirits.

    • MadRecluse
    • August 14, 2014

    I’m so happy I found this blog. I enjoyed reading everyone’s posts because it was like listening to my own thoughts out loud. I live a reclusive lifestyle as well. What has made it possible for me is that I receive a disability pension. It’s just me and my beautiful dog. I text and phone a family member a few times a week, but other than that I only talk to my neighbors, strangers on the street, and the cashiers at the food store. You see, I have no problem being sociable to ‘strangers’ because I know the interaction will last pretty much 4 minutes – and then I can be on my way. As others on this site have said, I’ve always been a quiet introvert since childhood – though I don’t think it’s because I was born that way. I think it had to do with my environment – my parents divorced when I was very young, and soon after that my dad moved far away. The next time I saw him I was a teenager. The divorce and subsequent ‘disappearance’ of my dad just devastated me. The fact that I lived in a very isolated rural area where school was both an escape and a brutal experience. (I was repeatedly made fun of for basically being poor). Having a mother who resented me for loving my dad so much.. these are the things that eventually led me to never want a marriage, children, or a large group of friends. And, thankfully, I never did. I am so completely happy in my life right now – and I only had to wait 40 years. In my experience, this world is a terrible place where all is false. True peace & happiness can only be achieved from within one’s own self. Luckily, I love what’s in me 🙂

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