Asocial people prefer to be alone, while antisocial people are actively against others and may lack empathy. Introverts, meanwhile, gain most of their energy from their inner world.

Many people like to be alone, including:

  • Asocial people prefer solitude and limited social interaction.
  • Antisocial people tend to have a blatant disregard for the feelings or well-being of others.
  • Introverted people, by nature, feel more stimulated and energized from time spent alone.

But how do you know where you or someone you know fits into these types, and when does a proclivity for solitude become an issue? Here’s what to know.

Asocial

Being asocial is considered a preference or tendency that may change over time. Asocial people may:

  • feel more comfortable alone
  • lack the desire to socialize
  • potentially feel anxiety or shyness in social situations
  • have difficulty enjoying or maintaining relationships
  • find it difficult to hold conversations
  • miss social cues
  • fear social judgment
  • judge themselves harshly
  • feel or be perceived as socially awkward
  • withdraw from society
  • have self-esteem issues

Introverted

Being introverted is considered a relatively fixed personality trait. Introverted people may:

  • need time alone to “recharge”
  • feel drained after excess time with others
  • have fewer relationships than extroverts but still maintain deep, meaningful relationships
  • work more effectively solo
  • be very creative when alone
  • dislike being the center of attention
  • spend a lot of time in their own mind
  • feel emotions deeply
  • occasionally zone out under stress
  • prefer writing to talking
  • avoid conflict with others
  • be more likely to be depressed

Being introverted is very common. According to a 2020 review, anywhere from 30–75% of the world population are introverts to some degree.

Antisocial

Being antisocial is considered a mental health condition. Antisocial people may:

  • lack compassion for others
  • prefer to spend time alone so they can focus on themselves
  • find it difficult to maintain relationships
  • view relationships in a transactional way
  • blatantly disregard societal norms or values
  • be aggressive, deceitful, reckless, or lack remorse
  • engage in violence
  • engage in substance misuse
  • take part in criminal behavior
  • act cruelly toward people or animals
  • desire to reject others
  • view themselves as superior to others

Being antisocial is rare. According to research, an estimated 3% of the U.S. population is diagnosed with the condition.

Treatment for antisocial personality disorder

Antisocial personality disorder often requires treatment to manage, especially when the person has a pattern of harming others, breaking the law, or being otherwise destructive.

If you think you or someone you know may have antisocial personality disorder, it’s important to visit a mental health professional like a psychologist, psychiatrist, or clinical social worker for a diagnosis.

Treatment may include:

Research on the most effective treatment for antisocial personality disorder is still developing, but visiting a mental health professional is an important first step.

Treatment for asocial-related anxiety

Being asocial isn’t necessarily an issue — some people simply prefer to be alone. It may be just a phase, or it may endure for a lifetime. But being asocial may also cause:

Any underlying mental health issue contributing to one’s tendency to be asocial may be a reason to seek treatment. Treatment for anxiety and feelings of low self-worth may include:

Treatment for introversion-related depression

Introversion is simply a way of being in the world and is not considered a reason for concern. However, some research suggests that introverts are more prone to depression.

Treatment for depression may include:

It’s recommended that those with antisocial personality disorder seek treatment before attempting to make new friends, so as to avoid hurting themselves or others. A mental health professional can guide them on the right path.

Meanwhile, those who are asocial or introverted may foster more meaningful friendships through the following:

  • joining a club, group, or team related to your interests
  • letting new friends know about your introverted or asocial tendencies so that they don’t take it personally
  • befriending other introverted or asocial people
  • bonding while doing another activity like watching a movie, going to a museum, or taking a class
  • attempting to connect more with people who you already see regularly (like in class or at work)
  • making friends online before (safely) meeting in person
  • setting social goals for yourself (like hanging out with at least 1–2 friends a week)
  • emphasizing being an active listener

Is it OK to be antisocial, asocial, or introverted?

It’s completely OK to be asocial or introverted, and not necessarily a reason for concern. However, you may want to seek mental health support if you feel it interferes with your overall sense of well-being.

Mental health experts recommend that those with antisocial personality disorder seek treatment in order to be able to have fulfilling relationships. Remember that self-compassion is still key here.

Those with antisocial parents or parents who misuse alcohol have an increased risk of developing antisocial personality disorder. It’s a legitimate mental health condition, but there is help.

Mental health resources include:

  • Findsupport.gov has mental health and substance misuse support resources.
  • Healthline has a list of the best online therapy services.
  • 988lifeline.org has emergency support for those having suicidal thoughts or who may be in crisis.
Was this helpful?

Introversion is a personality trait that causes someone to feel energized by time alone, while being asocial is simply a preference or tendency. Those who display antisocial traits are often hostile toward others; these traits may be severe enough to warrant a mental health diagnosis.

If you or someone you know prefer to spend a lot of time alone, you may wonder whether it’s normal or a sign of a more serious concern. In general, if the solitude causes harm to yourself or others, it’s a good idea to seek the support of a mental health professional.