Internalized Antisociability

  "I’d rather be alone than hang out with them."

"I’d rather be alone than hang out with them."

I see a curious pattern play out among geeks, nerds, and otaku. They become cynical, they avoid other people, often under the pretext of people being “stupid,” and often tout how introverted they are, almost as a status symbol.

Then they commiserate about how lonely they are.

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I call this “Internalized Antisociability.” It’s a pattern of behaviours common among otaku in which they unconsciously wall themselves off from other people to protect themselves from being hurt, in the process keeping themselves isolated and in pain from loneliness. They build an identity around how antisocial they are, making themselves feel superior and absolving themselves of responsibility for being unable to make friends or form and maintain relationships.

Internalized antisociability manifests itself in a number of mindsets and behaviours. People get cynical, actively avoid people, and adopt an attitude of casual misanthropy. They throw around the word “introvert” like it’s a status symbol and an excuse for avoiding other people. They adopt an apathetic victim mentality.

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In addition, people in this mindset congregate and commiserate, creating a “crabs in the bucket” situation where any time someone tries to rise up and transcend the antisocial mentality, the negativity of the others in the group pull them back in. The most self-aware of us who fall into this mental trap can often recognize when it happens, but many don’t.

What’s important to realize is that social skills ­are just that: A set of skills. They can be honed and developed, and they’re worth building. Give people the benefit of the doubt, and be conscious of environments that attempt to drag you down if you try and better yourself. People say you can’t love someone unless you love yourself, but equally true is that it’s hard to love yourself unless you love people.