From my experience,often in social interactions, the person who seems more desperate is the least desirable person to be interacted with. And no one wants to engage them.

More often than not, people seems to avoid desperate people,even when that person needed help most. An example would be a beggar on the street, if group of pedestrian walk by a beggar sitting on the ground, most of us would ignore and continue our journey. (I myself did this before) Even though the beggar might be in a dire situation (i.e Hunger, No Shelter)

Is there psychological theories on this that describe the avoidance or disgust from desperate people?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think it's simply to save our energy for what we feel more important to us $\endgroup$
    – Ooker
    May 16, 2019 at 6:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I recommend looking at Cialdini's six factors of influence and picturing where people that appear desperate fall in these dimensions - the evolutionary drivers of these heuristics are quite straightforward. $\endgroup$ May 16, 2019 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ It depends. I will hire someone who desperately want to do the tasks or make the performance-dependent salary/bonus. I will be more than happy to collaborate with someone who desperately want to do the project or desperately want to realized our common dream. $\endgroup$
    – High GPA
    Nov 22, 2020 at 5:45
  • $\begingroup$ Beggars sitting on the street have made beggong their job and method of getting money. People who just ask for some money while not looking like beggars don't have that issue and receive help (at least I never had a problem with people giving me a bit of money if I lacked them for a ticket). $\endgroup$
    – rus9384
    Nov 29, 2020 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


From a personal standpoint I would avoid these people because I expect people to be continually getting such needs met. I would wonder why a person doesn't already have a support network in place and be suspicious of them.

I the situation with the beggar I would think this would link more closely to the bystander effect whereby as an individual you feel less inclined and less responsible as there are many other people in the vicinity that could also make a difference.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.