Not everyone is born with the gift of the gab, and that’s fine. Thanks to the fact that pretty much all of our interactions happen via our phones and over the internet, pretty much everyone is socially awkward to some degree. However, if you relate to any of the following points, chances are it’s pretty extreme in your life and you might need to make some changes to make socializing a little less painful for you and others.
1. You overthink simple conversations.
Do you find yourself replaying simple conversations in your head, worrying about what you said or how you said it? If you often get caught up in analyzing every detail of an interaction, it could be a sign of social awkwardness. This overthinking might lead to unnecessary stress about how you’re perceived. Someone says they’ll text you later and you’re like, “Do they not want to talk to me now because they hate me and I’m annoying?” If you spiral like this all the time, you’re obviously extremely socially awkward.
Try to remind yourself most people don’t scrutinize every aspect of a conversation as much as you might think. They’re generally more focused on the overall interaction rather than picking apart every word.
2. You struggle with making eye contact.
Maintaining the right amount of eye contact can be tricky. You obviously don’t want to come off as a creep by staring for way too long, but averting your gaze constantly also looks a bit shifty (and socially awkward). Eye contact is a key part of communication, and getting it just right is a fine balance.
Practice finding a bit of an in-between when it comes to eye contact. It’s about connecting without making the other person (or yourself) feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to look away occasionally; just try to keep a natural, engaging level of eye contact during conversations. If you struggle with this, you might want to check out our sister site, Sweetn. They can give you some great advice and tips on how to get a bit more comfortable not just with eye contact but with social and romantic interactions in general. You can visit them here.
4. Small talk feels like a Herculean task.
People who are good at small talk tend to be pros in social situations. If the idea of small talk fills you with dread, or if you find yourself fumbling for words during these interactions, it could be a sign that you’re more socially awkward, especially since small talk is generally seen as a good building block of social interactions.
Remember, small talk is just a way to break the ice and build comfort in a conversation. It’s not about saying something profound; it’s about establishing a connection. Focus on easy topics like the weather, the event you’re at, or a recent popular movie.
4. You often misinterpret (or entirely miss) social cues.
Misreading social cues, like not catching when someone is joking or not realizing when someone wants to end the conversation, can make interactions awkward. If you often find yourself in these situations, it might be a sign that you’re more socially awkward than you thought.
Improving your ability to read social cues can take practice. Pay attention to body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. These often give more insight into the conversation than words alone.
5. You’re often the source of awkward silences.
Ever find yourself in a conversation where an awkward silence falls and you realize you’re the common factor in these situations? These silences might happen because you’re unsure what to say next or because you inadvertently shut down the conversation with a short response. You obviously don’t mean to do that, but it happens more often than you’d probably like to admit.
To avoid these awkward pauses, try to think of a couple of go-to topics in advance. Also, asking open-ended questions can keep the conversation flowing more smoothly.
6. You tend to misjudge the tone of conversations.
If you frequently find yourself responding inappropriately to the mood of a conversation – like laughing at a serious comment or responding too formally to a casual chat – it could be a sign that you’re extra socially awkward. Understanding the tone and adjusting your response accordingly is a key part of smooth social interactions. It’s all about being able to read people and the room.
Improving this aspect involves being more attuned to the context of the conversation and the other person’s mannerisms and expressions. With practice, you can get better at matching the tone, making your interactions more harmonious.
7. You avoid social situations or turn up late to avoid having to mingle.
If the thought of walking into a room full of people makes you want to run in the opposite direction, or if you purposely arrive late to events to miss the initial small talk, you’re definitely socially awkward. These situations can feel overwhelming, so it’s no wonder avoiding them altogether seems like a better option.
Try easing into these situations by arriving with a friend or setting a small goal, like talking to at least one new person. Remember, it’s okay to take small steps and gradually increase your comfort level with larger gatherings.
8. Your jokes seem to go over like a lead balloon.
Not everyone has a naturally killer sense of humor, and that’s fine. However, if your jokes often seem to fall flat or are met with awkward silences, it could be because you’re more socially awkward than you thought. Timing and understanding your audience are crucial aspects of making a joke work.
When it comes to humor, it’s often safer to stick with light and broadly relatable topics. Observational humor or self-deprecating jokes (without being too harsh on yourself) can be a safer bet.
9. You rarely get invited to social events.
If you notice a pattern where you’re not being invited to parties or other events, even when they’re hosted by people who are supposed to be your close friends, it could be because your social awkwardness is more apparent than you realize. Maybe your past reactions or interactions have made people hesitant to include you because they don’t want to have any drama. It sucks, but it’s possibly true.
Working on your social skills can help change this dynamic. Try reaching out and showing interest in attending events or gatherings. Sometimes taking the initiative can help shift others’ perceptions.
10. You feel drained after basic social interactions.
Feeling exhausted after simple social interactions, like a quick chat with a colleague or a cashier, can be a sign that you’re really socially awkward. These interactions can be draining if you’re constantly worried about how you’re coming across or what to say next. In general, they’re totally casual and not something to overthink so they shouldn’t be intimidating or something you dread.
Finding ways to relax and be more in the moment can help reduce this fatigue. Deep breathing, mindfulness techniques, or even preparing some conversation starters in advance can ease some of the stress associated with social interactions.
11. You don’t know how to start or end conversations.
If initiating or ending conversations feels like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, it could be because you’re socially awkward. Maybe you’re not sure how to break the ice, or you linger in conversations longer than appropriate because you’re not sure how to exit gracefully when the chat has run its course.
Practicing some standard conversation starters and closers can be helpful. A simple “How’s your day going?” can kickstart a chat, and a polite “Well, I should get going. It was great talking to you!” can be a smooth way to wrap up a conversation.
12. You feel like people misunderstand you a lot.
If you find that people frequently misunderstand your intentions or feelings, it could be due to socially awkward communication. Maybe your body language, tone, or choice of words isn’t conveying what you truly mean, leading to confusion.
Working on clear and effective communication can help reduce these misunderstandings. Paying attention to not just what you say but how you say it – including your body language and facial expressions – can improve how your message is received.
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