Why Being Awkward Is Kinda Awesome

A lot of people like to brag about being “awkward” because they think it makes them sound cute or quirky, but some of us actually are that socially inept. Fortunately, there are a lot of upsides to being a weirdo, so embrace those trips, falls, and conversational slip-ups.

  1. We have endless funny moments and stories to tell. My most embarrassing moment? Hmm, let me pick a favorite from my collection. Was it the time that I fell off the bike in SoulCycle or the time I fell into a lake? Be prepared to laugh at my tale of misfortune and be warned that it will probably involve falling. After the pain subsides, I’ll eventually look back on it and laugh too.
  2. We’re entertaining as hell. Beyond our hilariously humiliating stories, we also have incredible (-ly bad) dance moves and constantly say amusingly weird things. Looking through photos with us is fun since we just can’t seem to ever look poised. There’s never a dull moment. As an added bonus, we usually won’t get mad if you laugh at us… as long as we’re friends.
  3. Science says that we’re more likely to be passionate, intelligent, and successful. Psychologist Ty Tashiro says that awkward people are passionate about specific subjects. This hyper-focus leads to “striking talent” and unwavering persistence. Despite common stereotypes, not all of us weirdos are good at math or science, but this characteristic perseverance can ultimately lead to success.
  4. We excel at useless trivia. Whether it’s random facts about alpacas, conspiracy theories, or the history of pickles (just me?), we have an awful lot of bizarrely specific tidbits in our arsenals. Our highly specialized interests may not be the most graceful conversation starters, but we sure can help the crew win at trivia night.
  5. Awkward is the new cool. Thanks to celebrities like Zooey Deschanel and Anna Kendrick, quirkiness is attractive. Yeah, it helps that they’re both gorgeous, but the trend seems to apply to us real people as well. Heck, it almost seems like a lot of people are pretending to be awkward now. In a way, it’s lucky that we don’t even have to try.
  6. You can trust us. The Pratfall Effect, first described in research in the 1960s, explains that people who commit social blunders such as spilling coffee on yourself are more likely to be perceived as trustworthy. This finding has since been replicated in numerous studies. So don’t worry if you stumble in that interview—you may have actually improved your chances. In fact, an old boss told me that she found my interview more sincere since I made an awkward joke. She said I seemed less rehearsed and stale.
  7. We’re likable. Our weirdness make us seem more genuine and approachable. Everyone does embarrassing things once in awhile so they can relate to our flubs (even if they happen more often than they do to the average person). Think about it: we’re always rooting for the awkward underdogs in movies and TV. From Lizzie McGuire to Abbi in Broad City and Michael Cera in, well, everything, everyone likes the weirdos.
  8. We’re more compassionate. Constantly feeling embarrassed means we’re able to put ourselves in other people’s shoes more easily. Personally, when I see someone experiencing a mishap, I feel the pain like it’s my own. One study found that perpetually awkward people were more likely to show generous, kind, and empathetic behaviors.
  9. We have the best friendships. We’re not going to click with everyone, but the friendships we do have are really close. We’re not exactly the “cool kids” so people like us for us. In addition, we’re more likely to attract other awesome, awkward people that we get the joy of hanging out with.
  10. We make excellent wingwomen. We’re really good at breaking the ice (often accidentally). If nothing else, we make our “normal” friends look better in comparison to our blubbering selves. Plus, you and your new guy will be sure to have something to talk about.
  11. We’re adorable. Our desperate attempts to be normal are endearing, and perhaps even charming. Even Marilyn Monroe had a few comic mishaps (hello, white dress) and they just made her sexier. In fact, one study found that making mistakes humanizes us and increases how attractive others find us. Maybe that’s why the classic “accidentally bumping into someone” move works at the bar.
  12. Social skills are learnable; personality is not. We can always improve upon our social etiquette, whether that means going to Toastmasters or just continuing to put ourselves out there. But our quirky personalities are innate and they’re not going anywhere. On the other hand, some of the smoothest, most graceful people I know lack personality and are just plain boring. So be grateful. After all, your awkward qualities are a huge part of what makes you your unique, lovable self.
Danielle is a world-traveler based in San Diego, California. She loves hiking, yoga, classic movies, and sharing her adventures on her blog shepowersthrough.com