As we progress through life, our social behaviors and preferences also change.
For example, you previously enjoyed going out every weekend, staying until the early morning hours, and having a large group of friends. You appreciated the opportunity to meet new people and disliked being alone.
Now the situation is entirely different. You replaced clubbing and social meetings with quiet evenings at home.
Do you know those funny memes about differences in life in the 20s and 30s? So, on the one hand, we have a guy or a girl in their 20s whose evening starts at 10pm, while on the other hand, we have the same person who is now in their 30s sleeping at 10pm. Well, you are the embodiment of those memes.
Why do you become more antisocial as you get older? First of all, because of a change in priorities and much more obligations as we get older, but also because of accumulated life experience, being overwhelmed by social responsibilities, and finding comfort in privacy.
Before we go further into this article, it is important to highlight something.
People often confuse the terms asocial and antisocial.
An asocial individual is uninterested in socializing. It’s not that they dislike it; they simply have no concern for it.
To the general public, being antisocial is synonymous with not wanting to socialize. However, in psychology, the term antisocial is linked to sociopathy, a type of personality disorder known as Antisocial Personality Disorder.
In this article, we will deal with that term as most people perceive it, but it is important to emphasize that it has a different meaning in psychology.
Now that we’ve explained that, we can move on.
Why Are You More Antisocial as You Get Older? 5 Crucial Reasons
Although it sometimes seems to you that you are the only one to whom this happens, know that this phenomenon is common, even expected.
Here’s an example: Have you recently attended a class reunion for your graduation anniversary? You must have noticed that most of your friends from school now live a quieter and more secluded life. Even those who seemed to you that they would never calm down.
Some would say that we become antisocial and asocial with age, but the term more introverted is perhaps the most appropriate.
Therefore, why do we become more introverted with age:
1. Shifts in Priorities
It is entirely normal for your priorities to change with age.
Although lack of time and numerous responsibilities seem like major contributors to this, quality time and a well-defined list of priorities are actually more crucial factors.
Socializing and forming connections with others during early adulthood and middle age are essential aspects of life.
However, as individuals age, their focus may shift towards personal growth, self-reflection, and spending quality time with loved ones. As a result, they may lose interest in socializing with acquaintances or participating in large social gatherings.
Therefore, socializing with people becomes less of a priority now.
2. Accumulated Life Experience
As we age, we tend to accumulate more experience. It’s like leveling in a video game.
You learned a lot more from your mistakes, and you know much easier to recognize a situation to avoid.
Undoubtedly some wrong choices contributed to this, but it’s all part of the process.
This helps you create boundaries and not participate in things you don’t want. For example, when you were younger, you often went out even when you didn’t feel like going out, just so you wouldn’t feel left out. You may also have been drinking, even though you hate the taste of alcohol, just to be part of the group.
Maybe you even got into some trouble because you were too reckless.
Today, you have a hunch when you need to avoid something. Your intuition is like spider sense; you quickly assess any situation that you need to avoid. And the most important thing is that you don’t feel you missed something afterward.
3. Burnout from Social Obligations
You may have been a social butterfly before, but that has completely changed.
Attending numerous social gatherings can be exhausting and eventually make it feel like a burden.
Here are some examples:
Nothing against a good party, no matter how old you are. Fun has no age limit.
However, you are tired of standing in a crowd where you don’t know anyone and forcing yourself to try to have a good time even though you don’t feel like it.
Let’s not even talk about the exhaustion that will follow tomorrow and the feeling of wasted time. And if you decide to drink, well, you know those memes about hangovers in the 30s? They are highly accurate.
- Family Gatherings
Also, family events, as much as they are an excellent opportunity to get the family together, can be extremely tiring. Especially if you don’t get along well enough with your family and quickly become annoyed by their company.
This can lead to many unpleasant situations, and of course, they love to ask many questions that will make you angry.
What’s the point of attending those family gatherings if you’re going to feel emotionally drained afterward?
- Work-Related Events
Here we understand you the most.
It is irrelevant whether you like your job or not; forced work-related events are overwhelming. If you hate your job, such events can feel like your own personal hell.
Some companies know how to overdo that “building team spirit” or “we’re all family here” approach. You think that you already see enough annoying colleagues at work, so why is it necessary even after work? Because of this attitude, we assume that you are not the most popular among your colleagues.
4. Smaller Social Circle
Just as you go through changes as you age, so do others.
It’s normal to lose touch with some people over time, even if you were close before. It’s all part of life.
But we must mention all those people who influenced you to become introverted because they are people in whose environment you do not feel comfortable.
First, there are two-faced people who are ready to talk about one thing and do another to get some benefit, and you don’t have time and nerves for that.
Then there are jealous and vain people whose toxic energy spreads quickly. It is well known that miserable people make others miserable.
Let’s not forget those narcissistic people who always have to let everyone know they are better than them. Such people are usually burdened with material things, and their thinking is very shallow.
5. Dissatisfaction and Mental Health Concerns
Of all the reasons we listed, this is the only one you should change.
When someone is dissatisfied with their life and feels insecure, they may become withdrawn and try to avoid social interaction.
When you look around you, everyone has jobs, careers, families, and houses with perfect front lawns, while you feel you are falling behind in achieving those same milestones.
Because of all this, you can easily fall into the mindset of hating the whole world, but that is a huge mistake. With such an attitude, you will never change your life.
We must also mention mental disorders such as depression or social anxiety, significantly affecting your desire to socialize.
How to Start Enjoying the Company of Others as You Get Older?
For the above reasons, being less and less social is not such a bad thing.
You have more time for yourself and those closest to you, can easily identify situations you wish to avoid, and are more determined to achieve your objectives.
However, suppose you are depressed when you are alone, and the reasons for your asociality are disappointment in people or mental health problems.
In that case, these can help you enjoy the company of people more again:
1. Start Enjoying Being Alone
This may seem counter to the point here, but it is crucial.
If you don’t enjoy being with yourself, you won’t enjoy being with others either. It’s simple as that.
Focus on self-care and self-improvement, find interests that make you passionate, and suddenly you will love your company much more.
2. Learn to Set Healthy Boundaries
Communicate openly with others about your limitations.
By following this approach, you can avoid feeling disrespected or insecure with others. It will also help you recognize when you should leave if you feel uncomfortable.
Make sure to prioritize activities that help you relax and recharge. It’s okay to say no to invitations if you need to. Don’t feel guilty for taking some time for yourself.
Becoming more antisocial as we age is a natural part of life, influenced by various factors, but excessive isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnection.
Once you comprehend the root causes of your antisocial behavior, you will clearly understand whether you desire and are capable of changing it, as well as how to do so.
You don’t have to force yourself to be highly social all at once if it doesn’t feel natural to you. It is essential to find a balance that works for you and your comfort level when it comes to socializing.