Spending time with other people can be fun, interesting, and even exciting. Having a strong social network can also boost your sense of self-worth and support you during tough times. however, sometimes people withdraw from social contact and do so for a variety of reasons. Here’s how to identify withdrawn behavior and what might be behind it.
withdrawn behavior is avoiding or not seeking social contact. people who withdraw may actively avoid spending time with other people. or they may not go out of their way to seek out social interactions. Some withdrawn people don’t mind being with other people, but they don’t feel particularly driven to seek out others. some would like to be social but have trouble doing so. others actively dislike being with others.
examples of withdrawn behavior
- spending a lot of time alone
- prefer to play or work alone
- reject social invitations to stay home alone
- talk less in social settings
- stay home instead of going to events where there will be other people
- do not try new experiences
- prefer not to meet new people
- stay away from unknown situations
- prefer jobs where they work with things rather than people
- start conversations less often or take longer than others
types of people who exhibit withdrawn behavior
It is important to understand that not all withdrawn behaviors are created equal. Retirees fall into several different categories based on their underlying reasons for leaving.
antisocial people are those who do not care, one way or another, to be with other people. they do not dislike social contact, but they do not seek it either. they are not particularly interested in trying new things. and they tend to be less motivated to go after what they want. the good news is that they generally do not engage in aggressive behavior. furthermore, they are often more creative than others who exhibit withdrawn behavior.
Shy people often feel anxious about being with other people. more than that, they have anxiety about being anxious. they take no pleasure in activities that others find pleasurable. if something is unpleasant for them, they tend to avoid it. they just don’t have much motivation to get what they want in life. Also, they tend to be more aggressive and less creative than people who are not shy.
People in this group may very much want to have an active social life. yet, at the same time, they fear it, often intensely. they may try to interact with others but fail due to their anxiety or poor verbal skills. or they may falsely perceive that their social skills are not good enough and not even try.
people who avoid social contact
In many ways, people who avoid social contact are a lot like shy people. although there are some differences. Instead of trying to be social and failing (like shy people), they try hard to stay away from other people. they tend to avoid unpleasant situations more than shy people.
people who enjoy a lonely life
While unsociable people don’t care if they’re with other people or not, lonely people enjoy being alone more than with other people. they derive pleasure from the time they spend doing things on their own. they like to reflect, to master new topics that they can learn on their own, and to do activities that interest them. these people may display withdrawn behavior. however, they do not usually have anxiety or avoidance problems. they may be perfectly healthy mentally. they just have different preferences than more social people.
people who feel rejected
Unfortunately, not everyone has control over how well they are accepted by their peers. Some people are rejected from social groups for various reasons. It could be because of their looks, their family background, or because they have different interests than others in their group. or they may exhibit withdrawn behavior that sets them apart from their peers. for whatever reason, the group excludes them.
These people do not choose to be alone. being left out can lead to low self-esteem and depression. not only are they physically alone, but they feel emotionally isolated from others.
causes of withdrawn behavior
withdrawn behavior doesn’t just happen. If you find a hermit living in a remote cave, you can be sure there is a reason behind his lonely behavior. While scientists don’t understand all the reasons people become socially withdrawn, they have identified some possible reasons why people withdraw.
biological predisposition to withdrawal
Some babies wake up more easily than others. when their environment is too stimulating for them, they become fussy and difficult to calm down. scientists believe that this phenomenon is based on biology. In other words, these babies are more sensitive to social and non-social stimulation in their environment from the time they are born. they are in a state of sensory overload most of the time.
their parents overprotected them
The second possibility often follows from the first. when a baby is difficult to soothe, parents can respond with constant cuddling. They worry that they are not meeting the child’s needs, so they nervously try to keep them from getting angry. They end up overprotecting them. this may continue throughout their childhood. if they remain dependent on their parents in some way as adults, it may continue even after they are adults.
they were not successful in the first social situations
As children make their way into the outside world, they begin to learn the unwritten rules of social interaction. this mostly happens on a trial and error basis. most kids are successful some of the time and make social mistakes other times. it is a natural process, and children usually learn from their mistakes and move on. however, if the child has more social failures than successes, she may become discouraged. they may start to fear being social, or feel like they just don’t have the skills to be social, and may eventually lose the motivation to try.
poor verbal skills
Interacting well with others requires that you have the right verbal skills for the current situation. not only do you have to be able to form a complete thought and say it understandably, but in many cases, you have to do it quickly. children who gain low verbal skills are often the same ones who struggle in social situations. they often display withdrawn behavior as a result.
Adults sometimes withdraw when they are exhausted at work. this is especially true in high-pressure jobs or among people who have more than one job. they get so tired of trying to keep up with the demands placed on them at work that they have no emotional resources left to interact socially when they are away from work.
have anger issues
People who don’t know how to manage their anger sometimes become socially withdrawn. they choose withdrawn behaviors as an alternative to becoming aggressive. however, they have no way of resolving their anger, so they end up having emotional problems long after the incident that triggered their anger has passed. furthermore, withdrawal does not always prevent them from acting aggressively. even if they don’t physically harm someone, they may try to “get back at them” through more subtle passive-aggressive behaviors.
they are taking the time to reflect
Most people spend some time every few years reflecting and considering if they want to continue on the same life path they are on right now. they may exhibit withdrawn behavior during this time, at least for a while. in this case, it is a natural process that can have beneficial results.
they have a mental condition
Sometimes people display withdrawn behavior because they have some type of mental disorder that interferes with their ability to interact well. Some of the mental illnesses that can contribute to this type of behavior include schizophrenia, major depression, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, autism, phobias, and personality disorders.
what to do if you find yourself socially withdrawn
For some people, overcoming social isolation is as simple as deciding to do it and making an effort. however, for most people, the problem is not so easily resolved. Whether or not you have a diagnosable mental illness, therapy can help you reduce your withdrawn behavior.
You may need to spend some time figuring out why you’re socially withdrawn so you can address those issues first. once you understand what you need to know about why you’re withdrawn, you can deal with any underlying issues.
then you can work on the current retracted behavior in several ways. You can learn social skills, improve your self-esteem, and find ways to feel less fearful in social settings. You can deal with early social failures and gain confidence when your therapist encourages and guides you in practicing your newly learned social skills. You can discuss these topics and more with a mental health counselor.
Understanding retracted behavior with betterhelp
Studies have shown that online therapy is a useful way to provide needed resources and counseling services for people dealing with social anxiety, low self-esteem, or other potential causes of withdrawn behavior. A study published in the online journal of medical research found that internet-based therapy is an effective and long-lasting method of managing symptoms related to social anxiety disorder. The study claims that online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) had significant effects five years after treatment was completed. Internet-delivered CBT can decrease the severity of symptoms by replacing harmful or intrusive thoughts and by providing the self-help tools needed to promote better social interactions and avoid withdrawal.
If you don’t feel comfortable meeting face-to-face, you have the option of contacting one of betterhelp’s licensed therapists from your home. Plus, unlike traditional in-person therapy, you have the option of working with a national group of qualified potential mental health professionals. this means you have a better chance of finding a counselor who understands exactly how to address your concerns. betterhelp therapists have helped thousands of people overcome social isolation. Read below for counselor reviews, from those who have experienced similar problems.
“I had the pleasure of working with Ann for a few months and she helped me a lot in managing my social anxiety. she was always so positive and encouraging and helped me see all the good things about myself which helped my self-confidence a lot. I have been using all the tools and wisdom that she gave me and now I have been able to control my anxiety better than ever. thank you ann for helping me feel better!”
“i was hesitant to start therapy for a variety of reasons…finally i worked up the courage to start therapy with minnie and she exceeded my expectations. his exceptional knowledge and experience blew my mind and ultimately changed my mindset from total isolation to a realm of hope, positivity, and mental wellness. my trauma, ocd, and anxiety conditions had taken over my life, and i never thought cognitive behavioral therapy would make a difference in such a short amount of time. however, with minnie’s unquestionable sympathy and support, i noticed great spiritual and psychological growth within me.”
Getting treatment for mental health conditions that may be behind your withdrawn behavior is important, not only for becoming more socially involved, but also for your mental health. take the first step today.