While misanthropes express a general dislike for humanity on the whole, they typically have normal relationships with individual members of society. Misanthropy may be motivated by feelings of isolation or social alienation, or simply contempt for the perceived prevailing characteristics of humanity.
Misanthropy is commonly misinterpreted and distorted as a widespread and individualized hatred of humans. Because of this, a great number of false negative tie-ins are often associated with the term. An extreme misanthrope may indeed hate the human species generally, but it does not necessarily entail psychopathy. Misanthropes can hold normal and intimate relationships with people, but they will often be very few and far between. They will typically be very selective with whom they choose to associate. This is also where their aversion is most prevalent, because their perspective may show an overriding contempt towards common human faults and weaknesses in others and, in some cases, themselves.
It is because of that aversion that most misanthropes will often be categorized as loners, living in seclusion. They may not find solace or effective functioning in society as a result of their perspective. However, effectively functioning in society may have little or no value to the misanthrope, and the prospect of fitting into their culture may seem unnecessary or undesirable.
Misanthropy can often be characterized as disillusionment with what is perceived to be human nature. The misanthrope, having grown to expect humanity to assume a romantic and simplistic ideal, is consistently confronted with conflicting evidence. On the other hand, the object of a misanthrope's dislike may be a pervasive culture which is perceived as denying human nature. In both cases, the misanthrope may (or may not) view themselves as somehow distinct from a majority of the human species. Many misanthropes often express a highly sarcastic sense of humour, and often have a preference for various forms of social or political satire.
Overt expressions of misanthropy are common in satire and comedy, although intense misanthropy is generally rare. Subtler expressions are far more common, especially for those pointing out the shortcomings of humanity.