Why do people with autism avoid social situations?

I know they have difficulty reading body language and such, but what leads them to avoid social situations in the first place?

8 Answers

  • undir
    Lv 7
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Not all people with autism avoid social situations, but those who do have many reasons for it. The exact reasons vary between individuals, but below are some examples of common reasons for it.

    - Social situations require a lot of hard work from people with autism and they still usually get very little results or rewards for their hard work. They still make social mistakes or appear different and they still get bad reactions from other people, such as being ignored, avoided, laughed at, teased and treated differently. They don‘t make any new friends, get to know people better or strengthen any bonds or get much enjoyment out of the social situation at all, so all that hard work tends to be fruitless for them, so it just feels pointless.

    - They find social situations exhausting, draining or overwhelming, because they have a lot of difficulty functioning in them and must work very hard for minimal results. They find it hard to follow up with discussions/conversations that are taking place and taking any part in them. They don‘t know what is expected of them or what the unwritten rules are for each situation. For the most part they can‘t just be themselves like other people, because who they are is pretty much socially unacceptable to other people.

    - They experience a lot of sensory issues in social situations. There is usually a lot of noise, smells, touch, lights, movements, tastes etc., which can be downright painful for them or very unpleasant and overwhelming.

    - If they get overwhelmed with the sensory issues or social difficulties, they may have a meltdown, and trust me, meltdowns are extremely unpleasant and they are much worse for the person who is having them than for anyone witnessing them.

    - Many people with autism have had a lot of bad experiences with socializing, such as being excluded, ignored, bullied, teased, treated badly or misunderstood. If almost all social situations you went to resulted in some of the above, you might not be so keen on going yourself.

    - They don't like being constantly forced/pressured into doing things against their will or into not being themselves or not using their own coping mechanisms, because other people find them „inappropriate“. Examples: People constantly trying to force them to make eye contact even though they find eye contact very overwhelming. People stopping them from stimming to soothe themselves or deal with sensory issues, because other people think the stims are weird, annoying or embarrassing. People pressuring them into trying to socialize, only to get rejected once again.

    - They fear that they will make bad social mistakes and unintentionally insult or offend people or embarrass themselves somehow or have major misunderstandings.

    - They are not interested in socializing and find social events boring and would rather spend the time alone or with one friend, focusing on their special interest or something else that they enjoy rather than social chit chat that they find boring or pointless.

    Those are some of the reasons why some people with autism avoid social situations.

    Source(s): I have an autism spectrum disorder myself and I know other people on the spectrum too.
  • Bob
    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    We don't have excellent ability to connect to group in some situation. However, I beginning to realize that even though I have improved my social and communication skill. There is still a random chance of hit or miss in a group conversation or one on one.

    It is observed by PhD that high function autism lacks about 1/3 of their age in social and emotion. Any punishment or encounter occur during the teen year are a bigger impact to autistic. To this date, I still can recall difficult encounter.

    Self-confidence is also a problem which some people lacks. When gaining self-confidence, you will thrust forward your determination to be couragous. Social isn't scary but some autistic known to have problem about opposite sex. There were few encounter with girls that likes me, but I failed to connect because of self-confidence, non-verbal cues, and excuses. This will progress as I am doing what I can to improve in those area. I am only saying this because important moment are worth remembering which I can think back and figures out what went wrong, what can change, or just a replay.

  • 10 years ago

    its not always the case they avoid it

    its just that they can usually function better on their own,

    they dont seem to think as 'clear' in social situations,

    cos the mind, as ive been told, tends to work overload, most of the time,

    so doesnt stop in social situations, where as the rest of us can quiet down for a while, they usually cant, and for many the only thing that can quiet them is doing something they enjoy

    its not just difficulty reading body language or communicating, its much more than that, and most of us non aspies cant understand that well

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    well, i'm just an aspie, but it's just because of all those difficulties, for me.

    i do fine if it's just around a few people i know very well, or if i have at least one or a couple people i know very well in a group of people i don't really know, 'cause then i at least have an out. if i totally fail miserably at talking to the people i don't know, at least i have the people i do know to talk to so i don't have to just sit there for an hour doing nothing.

    somewhere between the lack of expertise on keeping a two-way conversation going, the lack of eye contact, and not being able to read body language/facial expressions/sarcasm much of the time, people in typical social situations, unless they know me well, just think i'm weird. having to put up with that far too many times makes it a bit tiring after a while and you just try to avoid larger social situations in general.

    and, just the effort that i have to put into certain situations is just tiring itself. that means if i go to a party or something one weekend, i may actually wanna go. i may even have a good time and be glad i went. but if something happens the next day or even the next weekend, pfffff. i just wanna hang out with my boyfriend or some of my best friends, or if i can't, just be by myself, and i'm totally fine with that.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • squidy
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    For me, it's because it's stressful and embarrassing. If you don't know how to act normal you have to stay on your toes constantly if you don't want to get funny looks or even make enemies. (That sounds a little dramatic, and it isn't really a problem now that I'm an adult, but it school it was a thing that could happen.) It's also that, a lot of the time, it just doesn't seem very interesting or intriguing to interact with other people. I mean, I like to watch people a lot more than I like to interact personally. And there are a lot of other interesting things to do instead.

  • @*o*@
    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    Unlike what another poster wrote, avoiding social situations does NOT define people as having autism. Some people with autism avoid social situations and some do not. The reasons are also not as unknown as that poster claims, they are pretty easily verified by simply asking people with autism. You've already received some good explanations in some of the other answers.

    Here's the thing: Most neurotypicals get pleasure from social situations. Social situations apparently give them enjoyment, an energy boost and a lot of good memories. For many people with autism it's the exact opposite. Social situations are often very unpleasant for us, they suck all energy out of us and leave us with nothing more than bad memories and a few more mental scars. We can't function well socially, so social situations are hard work for us and can be very frustrating, confusing and disappointing for us. We don't know how to act and how to cope with all the overwhelming things that social situations present to us (social cues that we can't pick up, sensory issues that we can't put up with, other people's behavior towards us). We get a lot of bad reactions from people, because they are uncomfortable with us or look down on us or are just ignorant about autism and treat us way below our age/cognitive level or think we don't have feelings and that they can treat us badly and we'll never notice.

    I don't particularly like social situations, but I go if I think it means something to the person inviting me. However, almost every time I attend a social event, I find it hard to get through it and usually have to excuse myself and leave early on the brink of a meltdown. Almost every social event leaves me feeling bad afterwards because things just never go well for me in social situations. I find it hard to socialize because I don't know how and it doesn't come naturally to me and my awkwardness and autistic demeanor seem to make many people uncomfortable for some reason, so they don't want to talk to me. I'm lucky if I just get ignored. Most of the time I also get laughed at or bullied or people try to take advantage of me or treat me badly just for their own pleasure, because they can. So I have to try really hard to keep up socially while also being on guard for people with bad intentions and enduring sensory issues and teasing and struggling with my physical coordination and trying not to escape into my own world. I get tired really fast from all this and I get overwhelmed and sad, frustrated and confused.

    THAT's why I'd rather not go to social situations very often. It's not worth it for me. I only go if it's either strictly necessary or if it means really a lot to someone.

    Mind you, I'm rather high functioning. People with autism who function worse than I probably find the whole thing even more difficult and unpleasant. I've heard a lot of horror stories from other people with autism and most of them have come to hate social situations. Most desire some social interactions, but with just 1-2 good friends at a time, which is easier to handle than crowded group events.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    its just a little harder for us because we're not the best with social skills. we dont necessarily "avoid" it

    Source(s): i have it
  • 10 years ago

    It's part of what defines a person as having autism. We don't know why people develop autism. When we know, maybe the answer to your question will be known too.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.