OMG! I Am So…cially Awkward!

For years I believed I was just weird. Social cues eluded me and I never understood how to “just be myself”. Turns out I am just socially awkward and I can be cured!

I am a social klutz!

Get me in a room with a crowd, and I clam up, I just don’t know how to read the scene. When I finally do break out of my shell to talk, I have no idea what to say, I end up saying something stupid and then end up regretting it later on. I am excellent one-on-one when I get going, but to break the ice, I am just a mess of awkwardness.

I feel uncomfortable saying hello and good-bye. When someone asks me how my day is going or how my weekend was, I overthink until I blurt out something negative or way over-exaggerated. Good-byes are especially uncomfortable for me as I have no idea how to end the conversation or the meeting. Do I hug? Do I shake hands? Do I scream? Do I run? I just don’t know!

When someone offers me a compliment, I freeze! Trying to avoid the spotlight, I dismiss the praise with some kind of humble remark. This is rude of me as it takes a lot of courage for someone to extend themselves to give a compliment and here I am shooting it down instead of basking in the glory offered to me. I am equally rude in giving compliments (or lack thereof) as I feel like I am intruding by doing so. WTF?

Then there are the ceremonial instances. The funerals, weddings or graduations, I have no idea what to say or do. No, that’s not true as I know of a million things to say and do, but I can’t-do them all at once. Do I hug? Do I cry? Do I laugh? Argh!

People say to “just be yourself,” but that makes no sense to me. I know who I am, but I am missing the module in my head that enables me to verbalize who I am and whenever I try to be me, it comes out all wrong. I am missing the words to social situations of where I can express who I am. It is only after you get to know me after a few meetings and afford me your patience that you get to know who I am. I really am one tough nut to crack.

For years I believed that I was just an introvert. Content to be on my own, alone in my thoughts. But the more I thought about that personality trait, I am not it. While I am not a full-blown extrovert and I often trip in social interactions, I do enjoy being in the company of others. Maybe I have social anxiety? No, that is not me either. I am not afraid of being around people, and while I sometimes get easily exhausted in social situations, it is not because I am scared, I am just tired from overthinking.

It turns out, I am just socially awkward. Like a deer learning to use its legs for the first time, I am continually fumbling around trying desperately to find a foothold in a social situation, but I often fail. When it comes to nonverbal cues in voice tones and facial cues, I am at a loss. I just do not have the learned ability to read them correctly; in fact, I can barely even hold eye contact with another person. So how am I to understand the situation correctly? Empathy over other’s emotions is another thing that I have great difficulty with, and it causes me to shy away from situations where I might have to console another person.

At first meeting, people think I am shy, or weird, or even arrogant. I am not one to open up freely, not because I don’t want to -I am exploding on the inside- I just don’t know how to! Those who are willing to give me a second or even third chance will find out that I am a very loyal, friendly and non-judgemental person. I love people! I just don’t know how to communicate effectively with them!

Being socially awkward doesn’t give me an excuse to continue being so. It is only a means to understand who I am and how I can improve on who I could be. Like someone who is learning to use a new language; in a social situation, I have a million thoughts racing through my mind, but I haven’t mastered the ability to effectively articulate any of them. The only way to learn how to do that is through deliberate social practice. I must learn the language of socialization, and maybe then I can finally unlock the secret that has been keeping me from my greatness.

Photo credit: Allie Brosh

6 thoughts on “OMG! I Am So…cially Awkward!

  1. Have you been evaluated for being on the spectrum? The way you describe yourself sounds like you may have some high functioning autistic tendencies. (What used to be called Asperger’s.) It’s not a bad thing- just a different wiring of the brain.

    1. No, I haven’t. I’ve been reading a book on the subject and I do not have tendencies of Aspergers like speech impairments or other physical issues. I’m just awkward in social situations because I have a highly analytical mind. I simply cannot just walk into a social situation without analyzing every element. Non awkward people just let the situation come to them.

      1. Most Aspies don’t have speech impairments or physical issues, either. They can have issues with eye contact, difficulty reading people, and social awkwardness. Again, it’s not a negative thing- a lot of Aspies are quite gifted!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.