The Older I Get, The More Socially Awkward I’m Becoming — WTF?

I thought I was socially awkward as a teen, but it’s nothing compared to how I am as an adult. I feel like the older I get, the harder it is to know how to behave in public. I should be a pro at the social game by now, but instead, it’s harder than it’s ever been to come off as normal and well-adjusted. WTF?

  1. I say the weirdest things. When I’m feeling shy, I typically blurt out whatever comes to mind first, and it’s never anything normal. I have a hard time meeting people who intimidate me in any way. I feel like a big dork so I end up acting like one. This leads to awkward silences and strange looks. I’m positive I was better at this a few years ago. What happened?
  2. I don’t know how to approach strangers. Even when I’m normal and friendly, they look at me like I’m nuts. Maybe they aren’t used to strangers talking to them? I don’t consider myself particularly intimidating, but when I get this reaction, it makes me even more awkward than before the next time around. I used to make friends with strangers all the time.
  3. I feel like I’m annoying people. If I’m too quiet, I’m afraid I’m boring. If I’m too animated, I feel like I must be repelling everyone. I’m constantly monitoring and judging my own behavior in a way I never did when I was younger. I could act like a drunken jackass then and not care one bit. Now I have half a glass of wine and get super paranoid.
  4. I get shy and run away. This is the most embarrassing of my recent socially awkward tendencies. If I meet someone who I find smarter or more attractive than myself, I don’t know what to say. Even if that person is friendly towards me, I tend to clam up and avoid them at all costs. It’s not because I don’t like them — exactly the opposite. They assume I hate them, though, and I can’t blame them.
  5. If a guy flirts with me, I don’t know what to do. I keep to myself most of the time and men hardly pay attention to me anymore. It sucks, but then when a guy finally takes notice, I’m thrown off guard. I usually make a fool of myself right away and keep digging the hole deeper. I’m not good at recovering from my mortification.
  6. I’m quiet when I should try harder. Rather than put myself out there and risk sounding obnoxious or pushy, I tend to quiet down when I feel self-conscious. I’m very sensitive to how I do or don’t come across in a social setting. I worry constantly instead of just being myself. I don’t remember being like this when I was in my twenties. I thought it’d get better, not worse.
  7. I avoid eye contact. The best way ever to make people think you’re a jerk is to avoid looking them in the eye. That’s not why I do it — I just get awkward. Unfortunately, that’s what people assume about me when it happens. I seem like I’m either bored or lying about something. It’s a nervous habit that’s becoming more prevalent as I get older.
  8. I’m fidgety. I’m so awkward when I get nervous in public that I can’t decide how to use my body. I feel like people are scrutinizing my every move, so I stand weirdly and shift around a lot. I can’t just stay calm and still. It’s frustrating because I can’t seem to stop even though I know I’m doing it. I was much more confident physically in my younger days.
  9. I make really dumb jokes. Because I don’t feel at ease, words that I would never ordinarily say fly out of my mouth. I used to be witty, and now I just sound corny. I become the queen of awkward punchlines and compulsive giggles. It’s super strange, even to me, and I have to will myself to quit and just stop talking. Better to be silent than embarrass myself!
  10. I do fine when I’m working, but I can’t deal in social situations. The strangest part is that I seem to get more confident talking in my professional environment as I get worse in my social life. I can talk to strangers quite easily at work, but if I’m at a party or a bar, forget it. It’s like my job is armor that I wear, and it’s all gone once I leave. I used to be fine regardless, but I guess I go out less now so I don’t get enough practice being social.
A former actress who has always loved the art of the written word, Amy is excited to be here sharing her stories! She hopes that they resonate with you or at the very least make you chuckle a bit. She just completed her first novel, and is also a contributor for Elite Daily, Dirty & Thirty, and The Indie Chicks.