It’s hard being someone who feels socially awkward at times. It can be frustrating and uncomfortable to be out with a group of people and not know how to interact with them.
All too often people will dismiss or ridicule those who are socially awkward, and all that does is amplify the awkwardness for the person. Socially awkward people aren’t boring, or disinterested. They just aren’t sure how to join in.
There are several distinctive traits of social awkwardness, and apparently the more you have, the harder it is to interact with others.
Nervous in social settings
Socially awkward people find social situations to be more anxiety producing then joy inducing. In fact a lot of socially awkward people will purposely avoid social situations just so they can avoid the anxiety.
The nervousness itself can cause you to act in odd ways around others, perhaps being inappropriate when you don’t mean to. And once you realise this behaviour is happening, it can cause even more anxiety or nervousness.. leading you into a vicious negative cycle.
Not understanding social norms
The above nervousness could lead to misunderstanding or not recognising what is appropriate in certain social situations. It’s like when out with mates and you suddenly tell some off-colour joke that isn’t appreciated, or when you act inappropriately.
Basically socially awkward people aim for a certain result, like people to laugh at a funny joke, but instead it arrives like a lead balloon or comes off as distasteful.
But it’s also about not knowing when and how to start a conversation, or even what to talk about. Which can lead socially awkward people to either just not talk at all, making those around them think they’re either super shy or just plain weird. And knowing people are thinking that of you compounds the feelings even more.
It’s not uncommon for most people to have awkward silences in a conversation, or for a conversation to come to an abrupt halt. But for socially awkward people this is the rule, not the exception.
Instead their conversations tend to be bumpy or inconsistent, and don’t usually seem to lead anywhere. Or at least it always seems that way to them.
Feeling avoided or ridiculed by others
One of the signs people are picking up on your social awkwardness is if they avoid your company or exclude you from group activities. Perhaps they see you as the ‘weirdo’ of the group, or just aren’t sure how to react to your social awkwardness.
Or if on the other hand they do include you but regularly ridicule or mock you, then perhaps they truly aren’t people you should be around to begin with. True friends would embrace you for being yourself, and would try their to make you comfortable in whatever situation you’re in.
Lacking meaningful connections with others
Many socially awkward people have few friends with a very small social circle, and perhaps tend to spend a lot of time alone. This is mostly because they struggle meeting new people, making conversations, feeling at ease around others, or even expressing themselves effectively.
This leaves them feeling very unfulfilled socially, and perhaps even like they’ve been left behind while others around them develop meaningful relationships, both socially and romantically.
Well.. reading about is makes it seem like this is the easiest thing in the world to get over. In fact, the article that influenced this one gave these three basic tips:
- Develop your social confidence
- Learn the basic social norms
- Get out there and get some experience
Really makes it seem so easy huh? Obviously the more you do something, the easier it’ll become in the long run. And that’s a good thing.
So the only advise I’d give is to just get out there and be yourself, weirdo and all.. and eventually you’ll find people who like you for you, and the awkwardness will fade.