Antisocial vs. Asocial – Does the Difference Matter?

Below is a brief description on the difference between an individual who is antisocial and one who is asocial. I hope this clears up the misused terms used here, and gives a greater number of people understanding on introversion and psychopathy.


A person who is anti-social is said to be so due to a diagnosed Anti-Social Personality Disorder. This disorder is found among psychopaths and sociopaths, and incurs that the person with ASPD does not have the capacity to feel empathy for others. With this disorder, being cured is incredibly rare (but not unheard of). Many of the people with this disorder are involved in criminal activity, many have suffered from severe child abuse, participate in reckless and highly impulsive behaviors, and completely disregard the well-being and safety of others and, at times, themselves.


Asocial is a set of behaviors found in individuals with anxiety, more specifically, Social Anxiety Disorder. People with SAD have such a strong fear of being humiliated in front of others, and because of this fear, being with and around others is eliminated and avoided all together in order to ensure humiliation does not occur. These are normal people who are scared of getting embarrassed. They are not psychopaths, and they (as long as there is no dual diagnosis of ASPD) can feel empathy, guilt, and love. They are “fully human” if you will, but cannot be around other people because of overwhelming fear.

I hope this clears things up in a short and sweet distinction between antisocial and asocial individuals. I’ve often heard people call me antisocial, when really I simply am an introvert and need a break from being around people. Even here, there is a difference between being an introvert and having asocial behaviors.

With this, remember that words mean a lot and impact innumerable amounts of people. You do no know another person’s full journey, so it’s best to minimize our ignorance and use the correct terms.



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