I know a person who keeps saying that he likes to be sad and just live his life without any enthusiasm or motivation. He prefers to be alone and he doesn't want to engage in activities that are fun-filled. Is there a word which can capture this description?

  • A downer. Someone who turns every situation negative or prefers to be sad.
    – jfa
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 10:08
  • @JFA there's an answer with the word "downer" already Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 10:09

5 Answers 5


I don't think there is a single word for this. Melancholic is close, but doesn't really imply a desire to remain so. Calling him a loner is also close but doesn't fully denote a lack of enthusiasm or motivation for anything he keeps to himself.

However, it does sound a lot like self-defeating personality disorder:

The person may often avoid or undermine pleasurable experiences [...]

[and] rejects opportunities for pleasure, or is reluctant to acknowledge enjoying themself

There's more to it than that, but since this is not an appropriate place to practise amateur psychology I will leave it there.

  • 1
    Self-defeating personality disorder's symptoms can be matched to the description I have given. Thanks a lot for the answer @Matthew Read Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 4:33
  • 2
    perhaps "melancholic by choice" would describe such a person Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 10:09

Unless this person is suffering from what was mentioned already I think you'll need more than one word to describe him.

Introvert would be an obvious first choice. Introverts can be hard to get close to and they can seem very shut off from other people. Depressed is certainly a possibility.

"Emo" is an option, but this is such a negatively loaded word that I wouldn't recommend using it.

  • But do introverts claim themselves that they are fine being an introvert? This person wants to be sad and not just shying away from people. Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 5:41
  • Introvert is part of your personality, it is not something you choose. So the people who are introverts don't consider changing that part of themselves, at least not the majority of them. They find ways to make it work. The person you are talking about seems to have chosen a sad path? Almost sounds like something he wants.
    – masarah
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 5:46
  • Yes. Self-defeating personality disorder reconciles with his personality. Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 6:02
  • 1
    As a happy introvert I must protest. Just because you think I must be sad without you constantly in my life doesn't mean I am. And stop playing with my Star Wars toys. Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 11:38
  • I am an introvert myself, and I'm also happy. This is why I said that you need to use more than one word to explain such a person. 😊
    – masarah
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 11:43

One (slang) option is downer. This is more commonly used either for depressive drugs or experiences, but it can be applied to people as well:

down·er (dou′nər)

n. Slang

  1. A depressant or sedative drug, such as a barbiturate or tranquilizer.
  2. One that depresses, such as an experience or person. - thefreedictionary.com

Masochistic would maybe fit even though this term is mostly used to describe the desire for physical pain:

2: pleasure in being abused or dominated : a taste for suffering
(definition from m-w.com)


You could call him an Eeyore in reference to the donkey character in A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh books (and more recently in the Disney film derived from them). This is a fairly recent popular usage but would be recognised by most people. One positive aspect of using it is that it would be pointing rather gentle fun at the target.

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