Antisocial vs not being very good at being social

I wonder how many of us are seen as being antisocial when the issue is more a difficulty in knowing how to, or a fear/aversion to socially engaging with others?
Is there a tendency for some people to conflate sociopathy with ASD/Asperger's/Autism?

  • Yes, sounds familiar. The really odd thing is that when things are o.k. for me I'm seen as very helpful, easy to approach and other positive things, but when something is wrong and I overreact (because I may actually be reacting to something entirely different) then people find it most logical that my character must have changed or they suddenly interpret the same things that were once seen as positives in a completely negative way and again this can only be explained by a bad character change.

  • Very perceptive.

    This describes me and I suspect many people on the spectrum.

  • I have Asperger's, I don't have a huge amount of friends, I would say four close friends, the kind who would do anything to help and vice versa and maybe 20 wider friends but who aren't nearly as close.

    I don't think they see me as antisocial, but they all see me as totally honest, which can often be brutally honest. I know that it's a trait that my close friends really appreciate, in always tell it like it is, but other people may see that as antisocial. I'm aware I don't have the filters that are normal in social situations but I think many people would see me as a bit awkward rather than antisocial.

  • Yes, absolutely.  Also, because my experience with other people throughout life has been negative to a greater or lesser degree, I tend to be very wary and much less inclined to trust too much to others or go out of my way to be friendly with them.  I mostly interact with colleagues at work, and get on with the majority of them.  But I wouldn't want to be friends with them.  And I tend to keep conversations at a phatic level.  I've learned to reciprocate if people ask me about myself or show some interest in what I do.  For instance, people might say 'Did you have a good Christmas', and I'll tell them about my Christmas... but then forget to ask about theirs.  Probably because I'm not really interested in small talk like that.  But, of course, it can seem unfriendly.

    I suppose, if I'm brutally honest, I don't really show much interest in other people or what they do.  Perhaps that makes me more 'anti-social'.

  • Someone on another forum mentioned being asocial vs being socially inept. As they said

    is a person a hermit who chooses not to socialized, or is the person eager to socialize but to inept to do it right, and therefore afraid to socialize?

    My reply was .

    As for being asocial vs socially inept -surely it is possible to be both? I am both not driven to socialise and also anxious/nervous when I’m put in the position to socialise because I’m quite socially inept.
    I can see that it is possible too to be asocial and yet socially skilled.

    I guess I'm too asocial to make a big effort to improve on my social ineptness.

  • Yes.  I'm 'social'... but only because, in certain situations, I have to be.  I think I'm probably more 'asocial'.

    I remember once bumping into an old acquaintance who asked me what I was up to.  I said I was writing a book.  He then said 'Oh, I've got a friend who's a bit of writer.  I told him about you.  Maybe you'd like to get in touch.'  I was straight into 'flight mode'!  But I said 'Okay', and he gave me the chap's email address.  I could have chucked it away.  But I felt that I ought to make contact rather then seem unfriendly.  So I sent a message.  Big mistake!  He sent me a file with one of his books and asked for an opinion.  I skipped through it.  It was okay.  I gave him some feedback.  After that, I got inundated with emails, suggesting we meet up for a coffee.  That's not something I do!  In the end, though - again, being a people-pleaser - I agreed.  I didn't enjoy the experience at all, and it soon became clear that all he was after was some pointers about agents to approach, publishers, etc.  I told him I couldn't really help, as I didn't know anyone.  He then said 'But you've had a book published.  You must know someone.'  I pointed out it was a small publisher, and I didn't make any money out of it.  But he was persistent.  'Can't you at least tell me who it was?'  I gave him the name, as it seemed unreasonable not to.  But I stipulated that they only handled books on certain themes, and his book didn't qualify.  Didn't stop him approaching them, though, and name-dropping.  Same with the agent I'd used, who was a little pee'd off about it.  Then I started getting more emails from this chap, saying we should meet up again.  He even invited me to one of his parties.  I tried, as politely as I could, explaining the situation.  I didn't want to pursue the acquaintance in any way, but I just told him that I had social anxiety problems and didn't like parties, and politely thanked him for the offer.  Next thing, I have a terse email going on about 'some people like to make themselves hermits,' etc. 

    That's a more extreme example, but it seems to be fairly typical of many human interactions I've had over the years.  And then people wonder why I don't encourage friendships.

    Also, I recently joined a Facebook group for people with Asperger's.  Almost immediately, one of the other members noticed that I live in the same town as he does, so he commented on my 'Thanks for the add' post to ask if he could message me.  I replied that I prefer to get to know people first, and he was quite understanding.  But not long afterwards, he was posting to ask if he could become 'friends' with other people who might be local to him.  As far as I know, he didn't get any replies.  I feel for those who are desperate to find friends.  It's just not for me.

  • It's definitely possible. When people see you and meet you, they aren't going to know that you have autism, or have any other reason to have issues with socialising. So if they notice you aren't interacting "normally", they are much more likely to think that it is "just how you are", rather than a underlying condition. And as people don't generally want to investigate why someone is not being socially normal, so they just call it sociopathic and move on. 


  • This sounds exactly like me, it's really difficult to remember to reciprocate with questions like "Did you have a good Christmas?" because it IS very much forced and I can't believe that it doesn't sound forced. While i'm thinking this they've finished with their answer, which I obviously wasn't listening to and it's now my turn to speak - but because I wasn't listening I have no idea what to say next. It's horrible. 

  • I feel for those who are desperate to find friends.  It's just not for me

    I find the same, although it's hard to describe to an extent. I have a small number of friends and I would miss them if they weren't there long term, but that is because they are friends now rather than because of any longing for friends specifically. I've become accustomed to their presence in my life and I'd miss it if they weren't there, I genuinely care for them and they me. The same with family, it's important to me and I care about them deeply.

    That being said I don't need people, I could take a week off work and be quite happy not speaking to or interacting with anyone for that whole week, I don't feel a need to. In some kind of apocalyptic scenario I could quite easily function on my own or as some kind of hermit.

    That side of things can make friendship difficult, it takes effort to maintain friendships and for me as there often isn't the driver of needing human interaction it can be easy to not speak to people. I make a conscious effort to do it and when I make myself I more often than not enjoy it. There have also been people in my life I genuinely enjoy spending time with, that I miss when I don't see and speak to them and who I've deeply connected with.