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I Don’t Want a Social Life. Is That Normal?

My regular therapist is advising me to get a social life, because not having one can apparently have negative health consequences. As I am health conscious, I have been attempting to follow his advice for several months now, with no success. I don’t like people. I always prefer to be alone and have no desire for a social life. I want to give up and just live alone so badly, but my therapist insists that I should find a social life. This onerous task gives me terrible anxiety.

What I want to know is, do I really need a social life? Why can’t I just live alone for the rest of my life? The supposed stress of loneliness is nothing compared to the stress of this task. Most importantly, is there a way I can avoid the supposed health consequences of social isolation without cultivating a social life? Thank you.

The underlying reason motivating a behavior matters. Are you rejecting your therapist’s advice because of fear? Giving into fear is typically a bad idea. That is especially true with anxiety disorders. When you acquiesce to anxiety, it becomes more entrenched in your life.

There’s a difference between having a social life and living in isolation. You mentioned not wanting to have a social life but didn’t define what you mean by that phrase. Without more context, this is a difficult question answer.

Generally speaking, humans are social creatures. They like to be with other people. It’s considered normal and psychologically healthy to have social relationships. It’s problematic to lack social relationships.

Loneliness has been linked to a number of health problems including poor cardiovascular and immune function, sleep problems and problematic stress reactions. Put simply, social isolation and loneliness are bad for your health. It’s so serious a problem that last year Britain appointed a Minster of Loneliness.

There is a middle ground between having a “social life” and living in isolation. If you have people in your life whom you care about, and the quality of those relationships is good, even if they are few in number, and you are happy, then, perhaps no problem exists. I would encourage you to discuss this in more depth with your therapist. Good luck and please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

from Ask the Therapist

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