flotsam

Socially awkward

BlackBerry Storm Smartphone
If my smartphone were really smart, it would keep me from talking. Image by liewcf via Flickr

I am socially awkward. I’m also an off-the-charts introvert. And I’m shy around new people and/or people who intimidate me (although I am noticing that more and more if I tell someone that I’m shy, they laugh, so maybe I don’t know me as well as I think I do).

And I have a knack for self-weirding.

I am, in other words, a disaster.  Though I prefer, as much as possible, to chalk it up to being “quirky” and hoping for the best from that point on.

The other evening, an old friend called. It was good to hear their voice. Unexpected. Enjoyable. Pleasant enough. A nice conversation, all in all. We caught up for a few minutes. They were just finished telling me that they’d had occasion to get together with a bunch of people we both knew (well, people that I knew more tangentially; people I knew OF, anyway). And I said something about getting in touch with me next time they’re in town.

And then I felt really odd about that. Because I could hear that while all I meant was a friendly offer to get together, if/when they ever found themselves at loose ends in the area (and of course if they were interested in doing so, which I don’t at all assume to be the case) … it might be coming off wrong in so many ways. It might be sounding like something I didn’t intend at all. It might be coming out with a tone that sounded like pressure, or obligation, or even a bit of an admonition that they hadn’t reached out previously.  (With no disrespect meant to my mother, whom I love dearly, I suspected that I might have sounded like my mother sometimes does when I’ve inadvertently disappointed her.)

And of course, none of that was my intention.

So, yeah, I did a great job of self-weirding, because I am truly gifted at it.

Oh well. I can’t actually know if I weirded them out. I can’t control their perceptions. And I don’t see any point in trying to (over) explain myself; either they understood it the way I meant it, or they didn’t. So (inhale, exhale) it is what it is: socially awkward. Just like me.

Though I still prefer quirky.

7 thoughts on “Socially awkward”

  1. I’m kind of the same. I have trouble functioning in a smooth and casual way in social situations like parties or dinners out… Which is weird since I’ve got a job that requires me to interact with dozens of people every day, often the same ones over and over. I’ve always assumed I was shy, socially awkward, introverted. But I’m not really sure. Everyone says I’m fun to be around at parties and whatnot, even though I can only manage about 2 hours before feeling like I must excuse myself from the gathering to get some alone time.

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    1. Well, I don’t know you, so I can’t really make an assessment on whether or not you’re shy per se. If you need to get some Alone Time to recharge your batteries before facing more Face Time, that’s a sure sign that you’re an introvert. I’m sure you’re encouraged by signs that your social awkwardness is more in your own assessment, and not something everyone around you finds palpable. 🙂

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  2. I’m weird: I’m an extrovert when it’s on my own terms, but otherwise, I’m a huge introvert. Example: I walk up to somebody at work and start a conversation. The words flow easily. Somebody walks up to me at work and starts a conversation: I’m at a loss as to what to say. I’ve never understood that about myself. Must be some sort of control issue.

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    1. Definitely a control thing, and not an introversion/extroversion thing. I/E doesn’t change with circumstances, but social awkwardness totally does. (Even I get slightly less socially awkward in settings where I know and am comfortable with everyone in the room.) 🙂

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    1. Thanks for forwarding, I love the piece (well, except for the part where it’s a little anti-extrovert, but I guess they can handle it). 😉 I’ll include a link to this in my follow-up blog in the morning. Thx again!

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