The clear difference between the asocial and the introvert

The clear difference between the asocial and the introvert

In times of pandemic, being unsocial would seem more of a strength than a weakness; in this particular period, asociality expresses the maximum form of adaptation to the environment (in terms of survival of the species): by limiting human relationships, we keep ourselves safe, we avoid contagion … but it is not always the case, the other is also an invaluable resource. Contamination and contagion aside, let’s talk about asociality, correlations with personality disorders and difference with introversion.

Who is unsociable is a geek?

Some might think that there is no difference between  being unsocial or misfit . Man, by nature, is a social animal and to throw down a small syllogism, being unsocial would therefore be against the innate nature of man. But is it really so? Who is unsociable is a geek?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V), in its fifth edition, proposed dimensional criteria (which are added to the categorical classification of disorders) thus giving further importance to interpersonal relationships.

In its dimensional approach, DSM V examined pathological personality traits and the level of personality functioning: the mode of interaction is a hot topic for both parameters used in DSM V.

We are human beings and as such, social beings; we need “the other” to be. From an evolutionary point of view it is absolutely so, we are born with an innate program that leads us to tighten the  bond with the other important (attachment figure).

We immediately learn to distinguish the smell and taste of breast milk. Prehension, wailing and smiling are the weapons we use to build our first bond.

If this first bond teaches us “in a workmanlike manner” what trust, care, sharing, self-expression, security and … love are, then trusting others and forging stable bonds will not be a problem for us . Still following this same logic, those who are unsocial may have learned something anomalous from the first bond of attachment.

Before continuing with the article, it reports the definition of “misfit”.

In psychology and pedagogy, of a person who has not completed the normal process of adaptation to the surrounding socio-cultural environment and consequently finds himself in a more or less conscious conflict with it.

Who is  unsocial  is in conflict with the environment (the others) or despite knowing deeply trust, esteem and reciprocity … has he decided to give it up?

Keeping away from others would seem a salient feature in several personality disorders:

  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
    To avoid contamination
  • Paranoid personality disorder
    For profound distrust of the other
  • Narcissistic personality disorder
    In the class that Millon calls “compensatory” and Gabbard “Hypervifile”, narcissism takes on a defensive connotation
  • Avoidant personality disorder
    To avoid any social exposure upstream

In these cases, the person in question is not a “simple asocial”. The same applies to disorders with anxious matrix such as: social phobia, panic disorder, agoraphobia and generalized anxiety.

The comfort zone and asociality

The comfort zone is something very complex that incorporates places, ways of doing, habits, relational models … when we face something new, we don’t always do it with a proactive spirit.

When doubts and fear predominate, it is much easier to think that that “something” will not work, which is not for us … in short, that it is not worth it! So if ties are not for us, why invest so much energy in building them?

If you prefer to hold the earphones to your ears to avoid conversation (even if they are off!) You are unsociable, if you also keep your eyes in the void to avoid eye contact, the situation is much more serious than you imagine.

Many people nowadays call themselves  unsociable . Well, often those who call themselves asocial have the spasmodic tendency to criticize themselves and their neighbor out of proportion, to analyze the social interactions they have and can end up brooding.

The difference between an unsocial person and a sociable person is in the image she has of herself. Sociable people focus on the positive qualities of themselves and others . Asocial people stumble continuously into bias (cognitive errors) that provide false confirmations about how wrong the world is!

Differences between unsocial and introverted

Again I will use a definition from the dictionary.

Asocial : insensitive to social needs and obligations; unfit for coexistence.

In practice, the profile of the asocial approaches that described in the article dedicated to  misanthropy . There is a big difference between  being unsocial and being introverted .

If the socially ill-suited society, the introvert integrates with it by making a careful selection of people to keep in one’s life .

The introvert is characterized by a very wide range of emotions, associated with a lively intelligence, which together entail a high level of empathy for one’s own and others’ moods.

The introvert has a natural tendency to reflection, which however is often directed towards his own problems … Even the introvert is not released from bias (cognitive errors) that sometimes lead him to perceive an overall sense of a tiring and even painful life.

In the introvert, several authors have highlighted distinctly idealistic principles, in particular a strong sense of justice, dignity and the tendency to create extremely correct and transparent interpersonal relationships.

“This last quality involves a highly selective social vocation, which, in order to be realized, requires a high degree of affinity with the other person, a very intense affectivity and the tendency to establish very deep relationships with a few individuals. Other attributes of the introvert, besides the orientation towards reflection, are the tendency towards introspection and fantasy. “

Maslow’s pyramid of needs

Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs (1954) marks, in hierarchical order, a series of needs.

The motivation for behavior stems from the tendency to satisfy a need. We assume that the asocial does not feel the need to forge relationships and therefore does not activate any pro-social behavior.

According to Maslow’s theory, the lack of need to socialize should be sought in the failure to satisfy priority needs .

Maslow in his Pyramid marks a hierarchy of needs , that is, an order of priority. Only those who have met their security needs  will feel the subsequent need to forge social relationships and grow psychologically.

For Maslow, the relationship with others is a priority for self-realization . In other words, those who do not satisfy their social needs will not be able to fully realize themselves. The criticisms of the Maslow Pyramid are manifold: each of us has its own scale of values ​​and can feel differently realized …. however this is not what I want to focus your attention on.

Let’s take a step back. Let’s talk about security needs . According to Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs, to have the motivational drive to socialize we should have met the security needs.

These needs are placed on the second step of the Scala and refer to “feeling safe” both in a physical place and in a “psychic dimension”.

Returning to DSM V, a person who feels secure in his identity:

  • He has a constant and unitary self-awareness.
  • Maintains boundaries appropriate to the role.
  • He has a coherent and self-regulated positive self-esteem combined with a correct self-evaluation.
  • It is capable of and perceives and tolerates a full range of emotions.
  • It has numerous satisfying relationships in private and social life.
  • He wants and engages in different loving, caring and mutual relationships.
  • It works for collaboration and for the common good and responds flexibly to the range of ideas, emotions and behaviors of others.

In practice, he is capable of tolerating confrontation and enriching himself through relationships with others. On the contrary, those who are unsocial do not tolerate confrontation well and above all  manifest a strong rigidity and intolerance towards others .

Those who show a strong association should read the article dedicated to acceptance. Some people simply reject the relationship because they can’t make contact with a world other than the world they can control, their internal world.

Somehow, these people only establish relationships with their internal reality by rejecting what they have not already “incorporated”. They live in a dimension of fusionality, of non-separation between inside and outside. (Klein, 1945 and Theories of the English School of Object Relations).

Those who are unsocial express a form of unease. 

NB .: in the writing of this article, no association has been severely judged ! The text is meant to be an invitation to introspection . 🙂 Expressing a discomfort is not a fault at all, nor something to be ashamed of. With careful introspective analysis, one’s misanthropy can be transformed into something else.