If you’re like me, there are some situations you would prefer to avoid because the build-up is just too much. Oftentimes, they are the simplest of things that cause the most anxiety. Personally, I struggle being disingenuous, meaning I feel tense going to places where I have to, as they say, fake it to make it.
Of course there are the common situations us socially awkward introverts tend to avoid, like large social gatherings with small talk or classroom presentations, but there are other situations you may not realize cause us some extra angst. The following are the strangest situations that people who are socially awkward tend to avoid at all costs:
Here is the problem with shopping: the sales clerk. Before going into a store I prep myself with what I will say to the sales clerk if they approach me. Typically I use the I’m just looking line and I’m fine. However, if I am literally just looking, I usually feel a bit anxious. I feel the store clerk watching me, and I attempt to come up with my next line. I promise myself not to buy anything out of guilt, and play hide-and-seek between racks so no other clerk approaches me.
- Talking on the phone
I usually have to plan out an entire conversation before making a call. For new friends, the phone call is a new territory and I don’t know what to expect. For interviews, I suddenly forget who I am and speak in disjointed sentences that make absolutely no sense (check out New-Age Bullshit Generator and that is me). The absolute worst is when I receive an unexpected phone call. Typically I just won’t answer. Far easier that way.
- The lunchroom at work
The lunchroom at work is the uncomfortable zone where you are still at work, but people are meant to let their guard down. I never know how much of it to let down, and where the line begins! It is extremely straining to sit in a lunchroom where co-workers are badmouthing other co-workers. I understand the need to vent, but it just creates an environment of distrust. In situations like that, socially awkward people typically try to keep to themselves. Then, if invited into the conversation, they just laugh or try to change the subject.
4. Giving fashion advice
When a friend asks my opinion on their outfit, I usually take a while to respond in order to give myself ample time to really consider the options in order to be honest. Sometimes I try to buy time by saying, “It looks good,” in a prolonged manner. But the slowness of my response as well as the long pause usually results in my friend thinking I don’t like the outfit, and no matter what I say afterwards, they won’t believe me anyways.
5. Talking about weight
I absolutely hate conversations about weight. I could never tell my friend they look fat, because of the negative implications, but I also can’t lie. Instead, when asked I either just don’t respond, forcing them to keep talking, or say that I still think they look good. I know the expected responses: “No, you are so tiny,” “Actually, I think you lost weight,” or “You have never looked better.” But, the way my voice rises when I feel ingenuine, totally gives me away. Don’t discuss weight with someone who is socially awkward since you aren’t going to hear what you want to hear. You will just engulf yourself in an awkward situation where your friend uncomfortably tries to answer you and you call them out on BS.
6. Consoling someone
The fact that physical contact comes unnaturally doesn’t help my hug-game so after a couple lame strokes of the arm I attempt to verbally console. Just like weight talk, I know the right things to say, but I also know that they won’t make the person feel better. Sure, those words might sound comforting for .3 seconds, but when the person is alone again in their room they are going to wonder why things aren’t better yet. So, when I know a friend is down I typically stumble over my words, repeatedly say, “I’m sorry,” or bake them a cake, which will do the talking for me.
For us socially awkward people out there, these situations cause our hearts to beat a little quicker, and our sweat glands to open up. They seem like normal situations you can easily make it through, but the inability to act fake causes us to panic a bit. In addition, if we are introduced to a new context in our friendship, don’t be alarmed if we say some strange things, we are just trying to test out the waters and aren’t quite sure how to swim in those areas yet. We will go back to normal eventually, but don’t leave us out to drown!