Working from home has always been a dream of mine, and recently my dream came true (though not for the reasons I might have hoped). Everything was perfect for a while and I really relished being able to complete projects on my own schedule. I felt more productive and less drained than I did while working in traditional roles, but it hasn’t been without its downsides. Sadly, the whole thing has turned me into an awkward mess who can’t even hold a conversation!
Going to work has never been a thing to me, like, ever.
Growing up, the thought of going to work every day sounded like nothing short of torture. As I grew up and inched my way toward a career, I realized I was right. A 9-5 job truly was torture. Throughout college, I had a few internships in the middle of cubical land. I literally only spent 10 hours per week at a desk and I wanted to die. Not to mention, you had to actually look presentable. I realized this lifestyle would never work for me. I would rather claw my eyes out than go to work every day.
Once I graduated college, I put off getting a job for as long as possible.
I never planned on working, but I went to college because it seemed like the right thing to do. Okay, so I earned my degree; now what? My student loans were creeping up, but I just couldn’t force myself into a career. I worked at a local restaurant for about a year until I eventually got sick of that and quit. The universe must have felt my energy because that same week I was presented with the opportunity to do what I love, all while working from home.
A job that follows my passion AND my dream lifestyle? Yes, please!
Now, I have to be honest: the pay sucked. I was making far less money than I was at the restaurant, but I was happier than ever. Although I was starting from the bottom, I knew hard work and dedication would lead me to the top. And the best part of all? I was able to work poolside every day. A bikini was my dress code and no makeup was required. I could wake up whenever I wanted, and take a lunch break at any hour. If I was going on vacation, I didn’t have to call off or miss pay. I simply took my laptop with me and the world was my office. I was living my best life!
I’m an extreme introvert, so not having to deal with people was amazing.
I no longer had to deal with annoying co-workers, rude customers, and a boss telling me what to do. Of course, I still had an editor and people I needed to work with, but that was all done via Skype or messaging app. Amazing, right? Very, but the flip side of this was far from it. Because I no longer had annoying co-workers or rude customers to deal with, I no longer had anyone to engage in social behaviors with. Working from home left me with absolutely zero human interaction. Cue the red flag!
The longer I worked from home, the more awkward I became.
Because I was spending so much time alone, it was like I was losing social skills by the second. When I was out in social settings, I could literally feel the awkward look on my face. I couldn’t even hold a conversation without being embarrassed by my lack of skill. My awkwardness wasn’t limited to strangers either. I was even becoming awkward around my family and best friends. Ugh!
I became so comfortable with being alone that I craved it.
I spent my entire day by myself unless I chose otherwise. I worked from home all day, went to a private gym in the evenings, and ended my night reading or working on my blog, all by myself. I reached the point of being so content alone that all I wanted to do was be alone. If somebody asked me to go shopping or to a movie, I politely declined. If my friends were all going out that coming weekend, thanks but no thanks. Social settings became extremely undesirable. Besides, my bed and I had much better plans.
At first, I blamed my anti-social behavior on “growing into myself.”
I liked what I liked and I wasn’t going to do something because someone else wanted me to. Finally, I was taking ownership of my own happiness and doing things I wanted to do. But was that really the case, or was I choosing to be alone because I didn’t know how to be around others? I was way too young to have that kind of personality and I needed to get over it ASAP. Being alone is healthy, even encouraged, but being alone 24/7 is straight up toxic. Was my dream lifestyle proving to be not so dreamy? There had to be a silver lining.
This may sound weird, but I literally created a social to-do-list.
I’m pretty big on routine, so every day I set a schedule to follow based on what I need to get done. I started by writing down what I needed to accomplish for work and ended with a social to-do-list for the day. I was going to get out of this awkward state one way or another. I wrote things such as “compliment five people face-to-face,” and “say yes when someone asks to hang out.” Eventually, these became normal habits and I inched my way back to my semi-social self.
I forced myself back out of my comfort zone.
Although I’d only been working home for a couple of months, I got set in a pretty debilitating comfort zone. In order to get out of this funk, I needed to start meeting new people. I wasn’t exactly comfortable talking to strangers in person, so I used the great tool of social media to save myself from any awkward run-ins. A girl I’d been following on Instagram seemed to have a lot in common with me, so I decided to reach out. We both loved fitness and nutrition and ended up clicking right away. We met up in person and she introduced me to an entire community of like-minded people.
I ditched the awkward phase and I hope it never returns.
I began hanging out with more ladies with my same interests and attending more social events. Although I still didn’t really like going out, I felt myself enjoying my time more and more when I did. Don’t get me wrong, the awkward look on my face stood its ground for some time, but it eventually faded. I realized there was a happy medium between being alone and being in a social environment, and I finally found it. I still work from home, but I’m a lot more mindful of how fast it can turn you anti-social.
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