I don’t like people

I don’t like people. True story.

Sure, I like taking care of people, but, as a whole, I don’t like people. Mostly the issue lies with dealing with the utter bullshit people pull. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule, but they are just that: exceptions. Generally, I like my colleagues and coworkers, and enjoy working with them. But out of uniform, I don’t like them. I like meeting new colleagues, and enjoy hearing their ideas. But, if it’s not EMS related, I tend not to care.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish ill on anyone, or want anyone to get injured. But those genuinely ill or injured people are getting fewer and further between. Maybe it’s the years upon years of pretending to take “complaints” of neck pain from a parking-lot fender bender seriously, or maybe is burnout, I don’t know.

I would much rather spend a day at home, alone, than with others. I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a loner, or recluse though. I have friends, mind you, but they are a very small group. 2 of my roughly 10 friends aren’t involved in public safety. And I don’t see them often enough. But at the same time, I see them plenty enough.

It got to the point that a loved one suggest I see a psychiatrist, so I did. Nice enough lady with the fancy diplomas on her wall. She said I exhibited signs of an “avoidant personality disorder.”

“What’s wrong with not liking people?”

“It’s not normal. It’s not supposed to be like that. You should like, and want to be around, people.”

“Why?”

Then she spewed some crap about “normal” relationships, and prescribed me some magic pills that were supposed to make me happy. Even though I’m not unhappy. I told her I wouldn’t fill the prescription, and that she was wasting paper and ink, but she wrote it anyway.

Maybe it’s burnout, maybe I’m tired of putting up with the stupid crap that people do. Maybe it’s normal, and nobody else out there wants to admit it.  Maybe, just maybe, I should fill that script for the magic pills, and see if they make me a better person.

Comments

  1. Not liking people in general isn’t abnormal…. it’s a direct result of being able to see through the bullshit. The psychiatrist is a prime example of why people are becoming less and less tolerant. Stop spoon feeding us this “Leave it to Beaver” love the world, everything is roses horse crap and see the world for what it really is!

    You admit yourself you have a very select, close group of friends (2 of whom you admittedly dont see enough). This just shows that you DO have social skills and don’t have “trust issues” or anti-social tendencies.

    Pretty much you’re “Normal”

  2. Well said… is it possible that more of us feel this way. I couldn’t agree more. Does it really make me abnormal because I LIKE being home. I avoid concerts because I can’t stand crowds. I don’t have a ton of friends but the ones I do have I don’t hang out with often. I am just happy the way I am.

  3. I never knew.

    I’m reminded of the West Wing episode where Donna, Toby and Josh were in a cafe in Indiana trying to get some lunch and the woman taking the order was very hostile. Her husband came out to find out what was going on and after getting the picture said, “Don’t worry about her. She’s been in a bad mood for.. well, about 45 years, I guess.”

    • West Wing is silly liberal propaganda, Flash. i thought you played for the Red team?

      • It was originally nicknamed “The Left Wing,” and the first year or so it tended more left, except that the President was pretty aggressive with respect to a war situation. It balanced out after that though it was still left leaning. Nonetheless, it was a very interesting, informative and enjoyable and to me, it was the best show that I ever saw on television.

        There were some really great moments on the West Wing and in particular the military and public safety was treated with respect.

  4. Hey man, I feeli like that sometimes too. Don’t like crowds and I work in an office by myself all night which is fine with me. Rather spend time home than out with people. You aren’t alone.

  5. I have just been hired for my first EMT position, & haven’t actually started yet. However, I’ve been working retail for over 11 years. I have two retail jobs I still work for, including a full time overnight position at a gas station. Seeing the crap I see on a nightly basis, never mind what I am gong to see on the ambulance, I don’t like people either. I have a small circle of friends, but other then seeing one or two of them once a week, I’m happy all by myself at home with a book! I think it’s more common then people let on.

  6. exactly my feelings, you don’t need those pills

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I haven’t been on the truck very long. Only around 4 years. But I used to be the same way at my old job. I got in rural EMS and now I can differentiate. I don’t tolerate the BS, but I still have compassion for the people that actually need us. Maybe you’re just burnt out. I like to stay home sometimes but I love going out with my husband more. Plus with a baby on the way, being active is important for a healthy munchkin. So yeah sometimes staying home is good, but going out with friends is important too so that avoiding social gatherings does not turn into something worse. Just my opinion. Hope everyone is having a great day :)

  8. I can tell you all I know I am burnt out because where I work at it is the same old shit everyday. I am to the point I don’t feel like I am making a difference in anyone’s life anymore. When I am home that is where I want to stay. When I am at home I know I am not having to put up with someone else bull.

  9. I feel the same way. I’ve been working security for a year, did police volunteering 3 years prior to that and for years have been medical standby for events. I noticed a change in the way I used to act a few years ago and now. I prefer to be at home or alone, and when I’m with friends, I’ll only be with a select few of them. Ever since security, I’ve either pushed a lot of them away or they have left me and I’m completely fine with that. It’s normal, people in the first responder-like jobs, like already mentioned, see past all the bullshit that people spew out there. We see the reality of things, the majority (Sheeple) don’t.

  10. Man I know just how you feel. Still love the job, but don’t get to do the job that much anymore. Seem like an a huge amount of extra BS goes along with getting to do the job.

  11. Not being sarcastic, but how is the sex life? A good to great sex life that is consistent will make the world much more tolerable than a poor or infrequent one, especially as an EMS provider. The physiological and psychological benefits are too many to mention. Try that if possible before you try the pills. Good luck!

    • This may be part of it. I have friends that are EMTs and I worry about them bc of the eating habits and sleep cycle disruptions that the job comes with. Sex drive usually goes down with it. If there’s a relationship to begin with. Besides all of this, try volunteering somewhere that doesn’t cater to moochers. Maybe in a children’s cancer center or help to provide a service in the community with cleaning up. Honestly, you’re not going to find a place completely free of the lower life forms that chant “me,me,me!”, but you may see a higher concentration of people who can commit themselves to a higher calling and can help you remember why it’s still a good idea. Heck, try to teach a few kids why they should stay in school, work hard and understand that they’re not going to be handed a free ticket. You’d be doing them and everyone else a favor. I hope you feel better soon. Seriously. We need you guys to be on your toes when some idiot runs us off the road with our children in the car. Much love and thanks!

    • From your ABOUT page at the top of the blog.
      “I love my job. I like my coworkers. I enjoy my patients. When I am not taking care of critically injured or ill patients, I am a family man, and aspiring golfer.”

      For a self-described affable guy, there may be no time better than the present to find the courage to face your realities. Otherwise, you just may find yourself brewing bitterness for way too long.

      • “Affable” means “politeness, characterized by ease and friendliness.” It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with liking people.

        But point taken. Thanks for reading.

  12. This is a very timely article for me. I was thinking last week, how much I hate people. I dislike the BS from the patient’s who don’t really need us, the hospital staff who see us in two capacities (the taxi service or the get them the heck out of my hospital before they die), either way we are screwed, the taxi ride doesn’t get paid for and if you don’t take the trip the hospital staff treat you like crap for weeks— I like my books, my family, my dog and my couch ( my new pretty couch). By family I include a few people not blood related but folks who circle the wagons should the need arise. Burned out??? Probably, but I’m still a good provider, and a good person, I just don’t like many people.

  13. I’m sure your quite normal, especially given the job… you probably like people just fine as long as you don’t have to interact with them or witness their mundane stupidity. or worse yet, have to deal with it…

    You see the worst humanity has to offer and know it happens on every social and economic level… you know everyone you see is capable of some horrendus acident or act of stupidity or some crisis…life is fleeting and closeness with people opens the door to perssonal loss…

    and, you don’t want to be one of them so, you become one of “you”…

    Do your job without emotion or feeling, that’s the only way to cope… and, you know it works…

    forget the pills, you’ll be crying at every sprained toe, forget the shrink, that’s just epicac for the soul…

    your fine man, working all day with (the extreams) of) people is exhausting, i don’t blame you for wanting some solitude and peace of mind… a time when you don’t have to have so much social responsibility .

    You can know the world, but… i think it’s better to know yourself…

    good luck and enjoy your life any damn way you want to live it!

  14. I often feel the same way, and say the exact same thing. Some people find it odd considering what we do, but I think they take the word “hate” to an extreme… or perhaps I don’t take it far enough. I don’t have a burning hatred of people, but I prefer not to be around large groups and am not by any means a social butterfly… which is extremely ironic when you truly ponder things.

    Yet, I greatly enjoy interacting with others online. I think a large part of the attraction to that is I am able to shut the computer off when I no longer feel like being sociable… whereas going out with others means I’m kind of stuck doing whatever the activity is whether I feel like doing it or not.

    It’s also probably important to note that I’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression and PTSD. I was also prescribed “happy” pills and did take them for a short amount of time. What I found was that although I seemed to have more energy and went out more often, going out was more often to work and I seemed to have been sucked dry of any and all of my creativity. In the end, I decided what I gave up was not worth what I got back from those pills. You may have the exact same experience I have had or a completely different experience… but you’ll never truly know unless you try.

    • I’ve thought about trying them, I really have. Your advice is good, and I appreciate it. I just think it happens to be my personality. Your analogy to interacting with people on the computer is spot-on. I interact well with people at work, and enjoy spending time with people at work, but once that shirt with patches comes off, I’m done with it.

      This job has been emotionally taxing lately. That might have something to do with it as wel.

  15. Solid post. Well-written, relatable, succinct.

    Man. He sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.

    Think about it.

    • Interesting you say that, that quote just popped up on my Facebook page. Interesting what the Dalai Lama had to say. But then, he has lots and lots of time to think about really deep stuff to say.

      Thanks for reading!

  16. Oh man this is so spot on for me! I was just starting to think that I’m weird because I don’t like people anymore, which is strange because everyone in my family is the oposite! My mom always has friends and family over, so do my sisters but I generally prefer to be left alone. When I’m at work or in class I enjoy spending time with co-workers and classmates, but once I leave I’m rather be on my own, I go hiking, biking, running, swimming, shopping but I don’t go to places where there are a lot of people, that is my time and I like to be alone in nature!
    Don’t get me wrong I go out with friends and have people over but not often, I have a handful of close friends, but nothing like say in high school when I was friends with anyone and everyone, and was always with friends now I just prefer to be left to do my own thing! Thanks for sharing and making me realize that I’m not alone in solitude!

  17. I don’t like ppl either. But I think that may be why I am good at my job. When an animal gets hurt, it hurts me cuz I know that they are innocent. With ppl, I can’t think of anyone over 16 that’s innocent anymore and on top of that adults understand (or shoal that when they are sick or injured it isn’t a punishment. Outside of work… I would rather be alone with my book BUT I know that it’s extremely unhealthy to become a hermit just because of work and I know when I feel like I really want to stay home it because of some call that really bothered me or something I’d rather not talk to ppl about. But I am on those little happy pills cuz I know that if I don’t force myself to get out of the house ever once in a while & deal with ppl outside of work I will end up wallowing in bitterness at some point in time. Humans are supposed to want company. We aren’t solitary animals. Try going out twice a month & you may go from being “not unhappy” to actually being happy! Imagine that!

  18. This post took me back in time. I too hate people, from time to time. I’ll expand on this on a post this morning, but I realized too late it was a form of OCD that was making me hate people. The folks who can’t see that what they’re doing not only bothers me but interrupts the natural flow of what is supposed to happen. Not on some kind of “let’s all get along” track, but…OK, the people at the Costco who park their carts in the middle of the main isle to get a sample of the pulled pork salsa, then are oblivious of the complete and total inconvenience they have caused. We all hate those people but I used to fume…for hours.
    We don’t have to like people, but not liking everyone makes me wonder if there are other issues at hand, issues that little doses f chemicals sometimes can’t help. Just my 2 cents.
    Great post, thanks.
    Justin

  19. “avoidant personality disorder.”

    Yeah, right. You realize that they make this type of diagnosis up so that they can get paid for seeing you, right? Anytime a mental health professional starts talking about a “disorder” my BS detector goes off.

    We in EMS are seeing what cops have seen for decades. If we aren’t dealing with low lifes, we are dealing with people who are having some pretty bad stuff going on in their lives. Very often they aren’t very nice to us.

    Or we see some 20 something complaining about his five month old low back pain right after we’ve transported a 40 year old guy who is in cardiac arrest and has a wife and kids who aren’t going to have a husband and father because he’s dead and we aren’t going to get him back.

    Yeah, that sort of thing.

    So, we have little patience for BS, like clerks at Home Depot who waste 20 minutes of our time trying to get us to sign up for a Home Depot credit card. As a result, we love the self check out lines at Costco, Lowes, Home Depot, and the grocery store. We love self serve gas stations. We prefer to order on line instead of going to a store. Hell, I’d order my coffee on line if I could.

    Oh, and we much prefer texting to talking to people on the phone.

    Like Greta Garbo, I want to be let alone.

  20. Not going to lie, this article made me giggle just a little bit. I have been in the field since 2004 and a paramedic since 2008. I was starting to think that I am a very strange person, while I may not hate people,I do however have a strong dislike for most people. I am typically a social person, I do not go out to bars or clubs because I cant deal with it. When not at work, I love to just be at home by myself, not talking to anyone, when my roommate and her kids are out, I sit on the couch and watch a movie or read a book. rarely am I out doing stuff that involve other people. I attend church on sundays after I leave my 24hr shift and that is about it. I also find this comes in phases, but have not yet found the pattern. Great post.

  21. Hello there, nice to meet a fellow introvert!

    The best definition of depression that I know of is “I no longer get excited about or take joy in things (activities, hobbies, interests, friendships), even ones I used to really enjoy.” If that’s true for you, then go find a therapist (preferably one who understands introverts!) and maybe consider the medication. It helped me a ton, but I think I’ve got a brain that is legitimately chemically out of whack. I was extremely lucky that the first medication I tried had minimal side effects and worked. It also took a lot of therapy to break the bad habits that I’d formed to deal with the depression.

    If that’s not true for you, if you have activities that you love and people that you’re thrilled to see, and you’re more or less satisfied with life, then feel free to ignore everyone else’s opinion. There’s nothing inherently ‘better’ about extroversion. There’s no set amount to which you ‘should’ like being around people. Enjoy your evenings at home.

  22. CCC, I feel you. If this is not a problem for you, then it is not a problem you need to seek help for. You wouldn’t go to a regular doctor unless something bothers you either.

    Seeing someone only to appease a loved one does no good. If you do choose to see someone, keep in mind that the competence level of mental health professionals vary as much as the competence levels of EMS providers. There are lots of crazy ones out there, so shop around. They also specialize in different things. Tom Bouthillet and I are both paramedics. Some patients have me interpret their ECG, some luckier ones get him.

    Psychiatrists generally prescribe medication more than talk. It’s just they way they’re trained; when you describe the problem they think about the best medication for it. Therapists are for talking to. These are psychologists, licensed counselors, and licensed clinical social workers.

    For me, I finally admitted that I had a problem. I was frequently anxious, preoccupied, and irritable. I saw one therapist who gladly took my money to feed me crap, but now see one who is very good. I always feel like my copay was worth it after a session. Medication has also helped, and I’ve gotten even more from therapy with it.

    I know I am a better husband and paramedic since getting help, but that’s just me. Only you know what’s a problem and what isn’t.

  23. Many many thanks, CCC for your honesty and, whether you realize it or not, being part of the solution as well. I’m especially appreciative of the many responses you got, so it helped me see it’s time to report on a trend I’m seeing on-line in EMS. Check out my Blog http://emsoutsideagitator.com/2011/10/maybe-its-burn-out/

  24. Is your “avoidant personality disorder” new or have you always been this way? Hmmm. Maybe it’s just gotten worse over time? Well, I don’t like people either, so I guess we share the same ailment. I’ve been debating, over the past 3 months, whether or not to start on some magic pills of my own. Haven’t decided yet. Screwing with my brains’ chemistry scares me. Hope you find some way to make things better for yourself.

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