A Comparison of Avoidant Personality Style Versus Disorder

Personality Style

Personality Disorder

Comfortable with habit, repetition, and routine Prefer the known to the unknown
Exaggerate the potential difficulties, physical dangers, or risks involved in doing something ordinary, but outside their usual routines
Close allegiance to family and/or a few close friends; tend to be homebodies
Have no close friends or confidants or only one-other than first-degree relatives; avoid activities that involve significant interpersonal contact
Sensitive and concerned about what other think of them Tend to be self-conscious and worriers
Unwilling to become involved with people unless certain of being liked; easily hurt by criticism or disapproval

Very discreet and deliberate in dealing with others
Fear being embarrassed by blushing, crying, or showing signs of anxiety in front of other people
Tend to maintain a reserved, self-restrained demeanor around others
Reticent in social situations because of a fear of saying something inappropriate or foolish, or of being unable to answer a question
Tend to be curious and can focus considerable attention on hobbies and avocations; however, a few engage in counterphobic coping behaviors
Tend to be underachievers, and find it difficult to focus on job tasks or hobbies

Source: Handbook of Diagnosis and Treatment of DSM-IV Personality Disorders, by Len Sperry, M.D., Ph.D.