Antisocial, asocial, or introversion: Is your social awkwardness a sign of a problem?

People often confuse introversion, antisocial and asocial because they seem so similar, but they aren't. Two are personality traits, the other is a psychiatric illness. Know the difference!
social awkwardness
Being socially awkward can be a result of various reasons. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Arushi Bidhuri Published: 27 Jan 2023, 02:07 pm IST
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Do you like time spending alone? Or do you prefer spending time with your close ones? Or do you hate socialising completely? Believe it or not, it’s not the same! If you avoid social situations, you could be asocial, or you could be an introvert if you love spending time alone. But what about people who feel threatened in a social situation? Well, it could be a totally different mental health disorder. Yes, it can be confusing at times.

To give you some clarity, Health Shots reached out to Dr Kersi Chavda, Consultant psychiatrist at P.D. Hinduja Hospital and MRC, Marim, Mumbai, to understand the difference.

Introvert vs antisocial: Know the difference

People often refer to antisocial casually as a person who avoids social gatherings, but that’s not correct. Dr Chavda explains that someone who avoid social situations because they are afraid or they like to be along as a means to feel safe is an asocial individual.

introvert vs antisocial vs asocial
Introvert vs antisocial: Know why you are socially awkward. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

When referring to asocial behaviour, it is generally a voluntary choice to avoid interacting with others. The individual may not want to interact with people due to feeling threatened, negative, or simply not enjoying the company of others and preferring to be alone. This behaviour can be a symptom of other issues, such as depression, but it is not related to feeling frightened, explains Dr Chavda.

On the other hand, introverts enjoy alone time and self-care, rather than feeling uncomfortable in social situations. They typically prefer a small number of close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, points out the expert. They are often given a bad reputation for not seeking out more social interactions. But introverts get energy from spending time alone, in contrast to extroverts who gain energy from socialising. This can make introverts appear to dislike socialising, but in reality, they simply prefer it in smaller doses, elucidates the psychiatrist.

Also Read: 5 ways to help every introvert build long-lasting bonds

While these are general traits, if the presence of someone around you is making you indulge in weird behaviour, it could be something serious. The person could be suffering from an antisocial personality disorder, sometimes referred to as sociopathy.

What is an antisocial personality disorder?

An antisocial personality disorder or sociopathy is a condition that requires medical attention. People with this condition tend to engage in behaviours such as lying, breaking laws, impulsive actions, and showing a lack of concern for their own safety or others around them, asserts the expert.

introvert vs antisocial vs asocial
What is antisocial personality disorder? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“They also tend to have a lack of empathy towards others and do not feel remorse for actions that may harm others, resulting in poor or abusive relationships. However, the symptoms of this disorder may decrease with age.”
Asocial behaviour may cause minor issues such as discomfort for loved ones, whereas antisocial behaviour is a serious psychiatric illness that can lead to legal problems, he adds.

Asocial vs introvert vs antisocial personality disorder

To sum it up, when we are talking about an asocial, it’s basically a person who does not want to interact. So, it’s a voluntary thing he or she does not want to interact with people. To some extent, he might feel threatened, just not enjoy other people’s company, and prefers to be on their own. This could be symptomatic of other issues as well like depression where you are not very social often but it has nothing to do with feeling frightened or things like that.

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On the other hand, when we’re talking about antisocial we are looking at a person who has a psychiatric illness, A person who does not bother with the norms of society, A person by and large who does what they want to do without bothering what the rules of the society are all about because they don’t fear the consequences of their actions.

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About the Author

Arushi Bidhuri is a journalist with 7 years of experience in writing, editing, and conceptualizing story ideas across different genres, including health and wellness, lifestyle, politics, beauty, fashion, and more. Arushi has a strong connection in the industry that helps her write concise and original stories as she believes in working towards writing pieces that can enlighten people. ...Read More

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