Are You An Introvert or Anti-Social? How To Tell The Difference

Are You An Introvert or Anti-Social? How To Tell The Difference

They’re not the same thing.

One of the biggest misconceptions about introverts is that they hate people and are anti-social. For most of us, it’s a bit more complicated than that. For starters, being “anti-social” is tied to personality disorders that often come with social anxiety and avoidant behaviors, and while introverts can experience those things too, they are more able to adapt and adjust to circumstances. If you’re wondering if you fall more into the introvert or anti-social category, here are some things to consider.

1. Think Of Introversion In Terms of Your Social Battery.

Introverts often feel drained by crowds and social situations and need time to recharge alone after spending time with people. Their tolerance may vary depending on the day or the activity, but they always look forward to going home at the end of the night. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to be social — it just means they may have limits that someone more extroverted doesn’t have.

2. Anti-Social Behavior Is About Social Norms.

Handsome young man standing and posing in the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Social norms are unspoken rules about how people “should” behave in certain situations. They can vary based on culture, workplace, and the people you hang out with and can be categorized as formal and informal. Formal social norms are things like following the law and the rules put in place in certain settings. Informal social norms can be anything from tipping a waiter to holding the door open for someone behind you. Anti-social people have no interest in or respect for social norms — they just do whatever they feel in the moment.

3. Anti-Social People Can Be Insensitive.

hipster guy with glasses standing outside office

While an anti-social person can be fun at parties, they can also be the ones causing drama because they blurt out insensitive comments without caring about the consequences. An introvert is generally more aware of how their words affect people, and while they might not be the life of the party every time, they won’t be the person everyone wishes wasn’t invited either.

4. Introverts Can Be More Prone to Depression.

insecure guy laying in bed

Introverts value close friendships and high emotional stability, both of which can be hard to maintain at the standard they prefer. An anti-social person doesn’t recognize the value of friendships or understand how to maintain them so they aren’t as likely to be upset by drama or distance in their personal relationships.

5. Introverts Think Things Through Carefully.

guy sitting on couch in apartment

An introvert likes to take their time with decisions, no matter how big or small. They like to consider all angles to be sure they’re making the right move. An anti-social person is more impulsive and probably has a more act now, think later approach to life.

6. Introverts Are Happy When They’re Alone.

An introvert needs alone time to center themselves and feel grounded. An anti-social person may desire alone time but they spend it feeling bitter and angry towards other people, which is why they end up avoiding people and rejecting the social aspects of being human.

7. Introverts Can Solve Their Own Problems.

Happy young woman talking on mobile phone and enjoying coffee drink in a coffee shop

An introvert spends time alone inside their own head, thinking through problems and finding solutions that feel right for them. Anti-social people tend to blame others for anything that goes wrong so they don’t have to take responsibility.

8. Anti-Social People Can Be Aggressive.

Anger and rage are two emotions that anti-social people are familiar with. They let these emotions dictate their actions, which means they often lash out in an aggressive way. You won’t see many introverts acting aggressively — in fact, they hate making a scene and would much rather think things through calmly before reacting.

9. Introverts Respect Boundaries.

An introvert is generally pretty self-aware and they’ve learned what types of social situations they enjoy and what types they don’t. An anti-social person either doesn’t have boundaries or has a hard time recognizing them. That means they often don’t acknowledge or respect other people’s boundaries either.

10. One is Considered a Mental Illness.

serious blonde woman outside

Anti-social personality disorder is a mental illness as diagnosed by the DSM-IV-TR. It involves deviant behaviors that make it difficult for the person to fit into society, maintain relationships, and manage their emotions. Introversion is simply a personality trait that describes how someone approaches the social aspects of life.

11. Introverts Are Capable of Having Close Relationships.

couple chatting at home on couch

Both introverts and extroverts are capable of making and maintaining close relationships with people. An introvert just may prefer to have fewer close friendships than others. An anti-social person struggles to connect with people and their behavior often inadvertently hurts the people they are close with. They may have friendships on and off but long-lasting bonds are harder for them to cultivate.

12. Anti-Social People Have Trouble With Remorse.

woman with crossed arms at home

Everyone makes mistakes and sometimes people get hurt, but anti-social people might not feel the same level of remorse for their actions that other people do. Introverts are often the exact opposite and may actually worry that their preference for spending time alone is rubbing people the wrong way. That’s why they’ll sometimes push themselves past their social limit — because it’s important to someone they care about.

13. They Tell Lies for Different Reasons.

Both introverts and anti-social people are capable of being deceitful at times, but the reason behind their lies is completely different. An introvert may tell a white lie to avoid a certain social situation that they know they won’t be comfortable in, or to protect someone’s feelings. An anti-social person lies for their own gain and sees no problem with their behavior.

14. One Appears Friendlier Than The Other.

Introverts have well-developed social skills, have no problem initiating plans with people, and can talk to anyone under the right circumstances. They just prefer to have a degree of control over who they’re spending time with and when. An anti-social person may show up to social functions but they aren’t good at friendly chit chat. If they aren’t having a good time, everyone will know about it.

15. Introverts Still Desire Companionship.

woman taling to partner on bench

Introverts may need and cherish their alone time, but they also want that special person in their life. They put in the effort and time to build close, intimate relationships with people, and their need for time alone has no effect on their ability to have a relationship. An anti-social person avoids close relationships because they don’t know how to be vulnerable and let people in.

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By day, Courtney is a digital marketing copywriter living in Toronto, Canada. By night, she's a freelance lifestyle writer who, in addition to, contributes regularly to, IN Magazine, and SheBlogs Canada. Want to chat about relationships, Stephen King or your favorite true crime podcast/documentary/book? She's on Twitter @courtooo.