I‘m a fairly awkward person.

I’m that particularly difficult combination of introverted and shy, and while I do enjoy social occasions (especially when they involve people I’m comfortable around), they can be that bit harder for me than they are for the “Normals” amongst you. Over the years, I’ve worked hard to overcome my social awkwardness, and a lot of the time I no longer even notice it myself. (Confession: IT’S ALL AN ACT.) There are some things, however, that are pretty much guaranteed to make me feel instantly awkward: here are just a few of them…

How to make me feel awkward01.

Expect me to engage in social kissing and hugging

When you’re an awkward person anyway, social kissing is just THE WORST. Seriously, isn’t it THE WORST? It’s such a minefield. Some people kiss you on one cheek, some on two. Some people do that “three cheek” kiss, where they do a super-fast left-right-left. Some people don’t want to touch you AT ALL, and when forced to engage in air-kissing, will recoil the second they enter your airspace, making you wonder if you have cooties or something.

Some people change their “awkward social kissing” approach from day to day, so you never know quite what to expect – you go in for the usual double-cheek-kiss, only to discover that today they’re favouring the single-cheek approach, or, worse, are not doing social kissing AT ALL. Either way, they’ll look at you like you’ve tried to attack them, and you’ll feel like  the most awkward person who ever awkwarded. The next time you see them, you’ll remember that they do single-cheek-kissing now, but they’ll recall that you tried to go in for the double last time they saw you, so you’ll both mess it up again, and a situation you didn’t think could possibly be any more awkward will somehow manage it. Woe!

I HATE social kissing and hugging – especially when it involves people I don’t know very well, or am meeting for the first time. (Distant relatives are the worst: you often don’t know them AT ALL, but you’re related to them, so you’re expected to assume a level of intimacy that’s just super-weird for everyone involved.) I know it’s nice to hug people you know, but everyone else? Can we just NOT?

02.

Force me to open gifts in public

There are few things I find more awkward than sitting in the middle of a group of people, all watching intently as I do my best to provide the appropriate reactions to opening gifts. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I very much appreciate the gifts, and am very easy to please in that department (The fact that someone bought me a gift AT ALL is enough to make me want to give them a super-awkward  hug) – I just hate being the centre of attention while I open them: especially when faced with That Person who feels the need to constantly apologise for their gift and do the whole “It’s just a small thing, you probably won’t like it!” thing, so what should be a pleasant experience becomes weirdly stressful as you reassure them over and over again that you like it. SO. AWKWARD. If bridal showers were a Thing in the UK, I’d probably have eloped…

03.

Turn up at my house unexpectedly

I like having guests – when I know they’re coming and have had time to prepare for them. If you turn up unexpectedly, though, you’ll probably find me unshowered, with no makeup, and still in my workout clothes – bonus points if I’ve ACTUALLY worked out in them, and am a hot, sweaty mess because of it. My house will also probably be a bit of a mess, and I’ll be out of milk, sugar or anything AT ALL I can offer you. You may think nothing of all of this, but I’ll be horribly embarrassed by it, and will want my dirty floors to open up, swallow me, then spit me back out, but with makeup and clothes that aren’t lycra on. Please let me know if you’re planning to visit me: it’ll be so much easier on all of us…

04.

Draw attention to my awkwardness

Some people, when faced with a quieter-than-average person (i.e. ME) will feel the need to draw attention to this, and demand to know WHY the quiet person is quiet. Often they’ll do this repeatedly, and will make a Great Big Deal of It, to the absolute mortification of the quiet person. I call this the “Spotlight on James Brown” effect, although by “James Brown” I obviously mean “Amber McNaught”. There I’ll be, sitting there perfectly happily, not a care in the world, when suddenly it happens. “LOOKIT AMBER!” someone will say. “She’s SO QUIET! Why are you so quiet, Amber? Are you OK?” Then all conversation will stop, and everyone in the room will turn to stare at me accusingly. Now that the conversation is All About Me, I’ll normally go bright red with horror, at which point my interrogator will switch tactic to, “Ooh, she’s blushing! Lookit Amber blushing! Why are you blushing, Amber?” And then I’ll jump out of my chair and karate-chop them to the ground. In my head, obviously.

05.

Respond to my email or text with a phone call

I’m phone-phobic in the extreme: I absolutely hate the things, which is why I favour email or, at a push, text message, as my preferred means of communication. The internet has obviously made life a whole lot easier for the phone-phobics amongst us, but there’s always That Person, isn’t there? You know, the one who’s all, “I got your email, but I thought it would be easier just to call you than reply to it!” Well, it may be easier for THEM, but it definitely isn’t for me – especially when they’re calling on a cellphone with bad reception, which means the entire conversation consists of both of you going, “WHAT? WHAT? SORRY, DIDN’T CATCH THAT – CAN YOU SAY IT AGAIN?” JUST SEND ME A FREAKING EMAIL, PEOPLE! Quite apart from anything else, I like the fact that email allows you to get everything in writing, and gives you time to work out what you’re going to say – on the phone, I’ll be so busy trying to pretend I’m normal that I’ll forget everything you said to me. On the plus side, I’ll also probably agree to anything you want, just to get you off the phone, so if you want to borrow some money, you know what to do…

There is, however, one thing that’s even worse than phone calls:

06.

Facetime.

Or Skype. Or any kind of video call, basically. Lately I keep getting emails from PRs or marketing people, or sometimes even just students wanting to interview me for their dissertations (Yes, really.), and they’ll be all, “Can we jump on a video call to discuss this?” Which just makes me think, what’s wrong with them? Why do they hate me? And is there ANYTHING more awkward than being forced to look at your own stupid face in the corner of the screen (And why does that camera always make me look like Voldemort? No, really, WHY?) while you try to talk to someone? Because, honestly, I don’t think there is – but if you think you can beat the sheer awkwardness that is the dreaded video call, I’d love to hear from you!

Tell me, then: what makes you uncomfortable?

64 Comments
  1. I feel like this post is about me!

    I remember when I worked in London and went for a meeting with a digital client and they did all the double-cheek-kiss and I was like I don’t know you, get off! It didn’t help that I worked with an Italian lady who quite happily would do it meeting anyone. I don’t mind hugs as much, but the how many kisses, left or right dilemma is too much for me.

    I also hate the present opening part. I remember one year as a teenage at Christmas refusing to open presents from one family member as they always used to not be so good. It makes me feel so awkward.

    I’ve learnt over the last few years that I am an introvert but do still struggle with shyness even though I’m much much better.

    Something that makes me uncomfortable is when plans change last minute, especially social plans. I’ve already mentally prepared for whats ahead, WHY change it?!

    1. Oh God, yes, I hate it when plans change, too, I’m SO not a spontaneous person! Also when people make really vague plans, like they’ll say they want to meet you on “Monday, sometime”, but then it’s impossible to pin down an ACTUAL time so it’s impossible to plan ANYTHING for that day, because you’ve no idea where you’ll be going and when – aargh!

  2. I relate to this so much! I hate that there are no clear conventions for the kissing/hugging thing where I live, it makes things awkward for everybody. I also think we should be able to refuse being touched by people when we don’t want to without feeling rude. As for the gift thing… it’s the same for me, and also as a child (and a young teen, I’ll admit) I used to cry when people sang happy birthday to me because the attention made me uncomfortable. It still does.

    People drawing attention to other people’s awkwardness/shyness deserve to have their mouth sealed shut, seriously. They are usually those who talk way too much and don’t know when to shut up…

    1. I’ve always wished there were actual written rules for it, so everyone would know where they stood, and exactly how many kisses/hugs were required. Another element of it that I find awful is when you’re meeting a group of people, most of whom you know really well (so are happy to hug), but with one person who is a complete stranger – it feels so rude to hug everyone BUT the newcomer, but it also feels weird to start hugging someone you’re meeting for the first time: so awkward!

      I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t enjoy the birthday attention – even as a little girl, I never wanted to have a birthday party or anything like that. These days my friends and family have all been told that if they ever try to throw me a surprise party, I will never forgive them for it…

  3. Oh, I hear you on the introvert/shy combination. I am always reading about those introverts who say (rightly so) ‘I’m not shy, I’m introverted!” and always think ‘Ah! Wouldn’t that be more fun?!’ I also used to be a teacher, and so have this weird teacher game face which is how I cope with social situations which make me uncomfortable. Which.I.Hate. (hence not being a teacher anymore…!) Things that make me awkward…talking on the phone. To pretty much anyone, apart from my partner, my mum, my sister and one particular good friend. Awkward silences, accidentally talking over someone in an effort to avoid said silences…not good. Not my best life skill. Also, social gatherings where there are more than 5 people but fewer than, say, 12. More than that and you can slink into the background, or just talk to one person i.e. my partner(!), fewer than that and hopefully you know them all really well. In between – Just.Dreadful. I could say things like public speaking etc that everyone finds scary (when on earth do I have to do things like that anyway?) but really it’s those situations that are not necessarily anxiety-ridden for most people and so they really don’t understand why you should find them paralysingly awful and start behaving either oddly or silently or (my favourite) oddly AND silently!

    1. Haha, yes, I’ve always thought that, too – I wrote a post once about being introverted, and so many of the people who commented said they were introverted too, but not shy: I was so jealous! I also have a “game face” which I put on when I’m in awkward social situations – it’s the only way to cope! (Well, that and wine…)

      And I can’t BELIEVE I forgot to mention phones! I’ve actually just had to go and update the post to include it, because I think that’s probably the one I hate most – I particularly hate it when the person calling is on a cellphone and has bad reception, so the whole call is just you going, “WHAT? WHAT? SORRY, I DIDN’T CATCH THAT!” Hate it.

  4. What would you say if I told you that all these things make me really really uncomfortable? And they happen all the time!
    And about the fact that I don’t want people to show up without warning me first, everybody tells me I’m wrong but I really don’t want it. The only time someone came to my home without telling me first was when my mum came to tell that my grandad passed away so I would panic if this happened again

  5. Ugh, yes, all of these but especially Skype. I don’t get the appeal. At all. If you want to see my face, let’s meet up or, I don’t know, you could be all weirdly stalkery and scroll through my Facebook while you text me or something (just don’t tell me you’re doing so) but why would we want to look at each other on juddery, awkwardly tilted computer screens? *shudders*

    1. I can understand it in *some* situations – like, my mum talks to my uncle and aunt in Canada every couple of weeks on Facetime, and it’s actually really cool to be able to see them all, but for everyday stuff, nope, hate it. \i particularly hate it for “business” stuff, because the last thing I’d want a client to see would be my morning hair and messy house in the background! When I was freelancing, I used to have lots of clients who would ONLY use the phone, and seemed to hate email, and I just found it SO stressful because I like having things in writing, so I know exactly what I’ve agreed to do, and have time to formulate my response – on the phone I end up agreeing to anything, just to get the person off the phone!

  6. I can definitely relate to all of these, especially the drawing attention to your quietness one. Why can’t people understand that we’re perfectly happy we just don’t feel the need to talk constantly?! The worst for me is going on a car journey with someone who just won’t stop talking, I don’t talk that much when I drive (mainly because driving in central London requires lots of concentration!) and I find it so distracting if my passenger is just nattering about nothing all the time. When I drive I just like to listen to my music!

    1. Same here – if I’m driving, I need to concentrate, and if I’m not, I generally like to just stare out of the window and think about nothing. The thing I hate even more, though – and this seems to happen to me a LOT for some reason – is when I’m travelling in the back seat of a car, and the driver puts on music, cranks up the volume and then proceeds to talk to the person in the passenger seat (who is the only one who can hear them, anyway). I just find it so rude – it always feels like you’ve been deliberately excluded from the conversation!

    1. I don’t think I’d mind it so much if there were definite rules for it so I always knew what to expect – it’s those times when you don’t know whether or not it’s expected, and then what form it’s going to take that I hate. I almost ALWAYS get it wrong!

  7. Spontaneous huggers. (Because I’m not spontaneous about anything, and usually a little slow on the uptake, which generally means the other person is clutching me diagonally around the biceps and there’s nothing I can do with my hands.) “Visiting” without sufficient chairs. Hospitals are famous for the one-chair-per-room thing, which means “sick visiting” becomes “sick looming.” People discussing intimate medical or psychological details on the cellphone on public transportation. I end up mortified for them, and usually change trains when they don’t stop. People who stand too close in lines; hey, buddy, get out of my back pockets.

  8. Ah, the Space Invaders… why, oh why do they have to go and make things so awkward even though we give them all the space in the world so everyone can be comfortable… I always wonder… do they not feel it? Do they just ignore the awkwardness? Do they invade other people’s space on purpose? Or are they just lonely and secretly want a hug? (I hate being touched by people I don’t know well… riding a packed underground train is pure bliss for me as you can imagine… so, NO! NO HUGS FOR YOU SPACE INVADERS! No awkward kisses either!)
    speaking of awkward kisses, I even had these with really close friends… why do people change their kissing patterns?!?

    1. My theory is that the kiss-changers are working to some secret rule that only they know (or maybe everyone BUT me knows?) – like, it’s two kisses for people you don’t know THAT well, but then once you become closer to them, you move to a less-formal single kiss or something? I just want someone to write down the rules so I can learn them – it would make things so much easier!

  9. I’m starting to wonder now if we’re somehow the same person… everything you’ve said here – EVERYTHING – I’ve thought/felt at some point in my life. The social greetings is possibly my most hated thing about any kind of social situation – it’s just as bad when you’re saying goodbye as when you’re saying hello, as well. Two opportunities for the same ordeal on one day. My boyfriend’s friends are all real huggy, kissy people and every time we have to go anywhere to see them I get so stressed about even turning up it almost gives me a full-blown panic attack. Also, this post made me realise one MASSIVE bonus of being self-employed – no more opening presents in front of WORK COLLEAGUES. People who don’t know you buy you gifts and expect you to open them in front of you at particularly poignant, already stressful moments in your life like, you’re about to leave the company or have a baby etc. A room of 50+ people watches you while remarking on how no one likes to open their gifts at these things. And yet, yet!, EVERYONE is expected to still do it. It’s one of the worst things about having a job, I’m not even kidding.

    1. Oh God, yes! I remember when Terry and I left the call centre we used to work weekends in: we’d been there for years (it was actually where we met) and left at the same time, so they had this big presentation for us, with gifts, cards, etc. I absolutely bawled my eyes out – like, full-on ugly-crying. It was SO embarrassing – I couldn’t even speak when people were coming up to say goodbye to me. Needless to say, I’m very glad that can’t ever happen now!

  10. Yes to all of these! Especially the kissing and hugging (I’m American, and find the fact that Brits have so much kissing of strangers/acquaintances continually surprising/awkward making!). It feels rude but honestly I would prefer not to kiss or hug 95% of the people I am expected to! The space thing, for me Brits (sorry not picking on you guys honestly!), just have no sense of personal space,especially when it comes to queues – it drives me batty to have to stand in line with people literally breathing down my neck (if you’ve ever been to America you’ll maybe agree it’s not nearly as bad there!), especially at money machines, the post office, etc. I am also an introvert and I hate unexpected visitors too! We have this one friend who does it constantly and I try to just go with the flow but it does bug me and I think “why can’t you call first, what is wrong with you?” etc. ;-0

    1. The “breathing down your neck at cash machines” one is particularly bad, I think – I’m always terrified that they’re doing it so they can rob me!

  11. As I read this I actually believed it could have been about me, except for all the ‘Amber’ references, obviously. I am painfully awkward at times and because many of my family (especially of the extended variety) are loud albeit, lovely extroverts this sort of thing happens a lot. There should be set rules about air kissing and hugging in my opinion. Oh and small talk is a personal hatred of mine, especially with those I do not know and although unintentional I ALWAYS manage to kill the conversation…leading to awkward silences, another fear of mine argh.

    xx

    http://www.kirstytalks.co.uk

    1. Ah yes, I detest small talk, and am really, really bad at it. On the social kissing, it’s really weird because I actually don’t think I know ANYONE who actually LIKES it, and yet we all do it anyway!

  12. Yes to all of the above. The gym thing, what are those people thinking. Seriously? And I’ve taken to just brazenly and slightly aggressively demanding to know ‘how many kisses are we doing?’ before I even lean in. It’s an ice breaker.
    M x

    1. I’m totally stealing that line – that’s awesome! I must admit, there have been times when I’ve considered just announcing to the room, “Hey, everyone, let’s just NOT with the kissing today, OK?”

  13. This post is brilliant! I was nodding along the entire time, but especially on your last point about the phone – omg, the WORST. I’m like you, I will agree to anything they ask me to do, just to get them off the phone. Argh, I HATE the phone.

    1. I hate being put on the spot, especially over the phone. Like “would you like to take out a contract today?” Yes yes I would.. NOOOOO! I get flustered and I’m likely to say yes or agree with anything when I’m really screaming inside. I need time to think things over.

  14. I absolutely hate the queue thing!!! Just yesterday I was in a coffee shop and the woman behind me was virtually hanging off my back! Don’t people understand that there are still the same number of people waiting to be served and standing as close to the person in front as they can won’t get them to the front of the line any faster?!

    1. I know! It’s like the people who all crowd round the doors of the train as soon as it stops, so no one can get off – what do they think is going to happen?!

  15. I am super extroverted but also really shy. It’s an abysmal combination. I need a certain level of social interaction to function but I can find it really hard to get if my close friends/family aren’t available. Sometimes I don’t manage to make plans when my husband works weekends and by the time he gets home I’ve gone a bit weird.

    If it’s any consolation, I know that people generally prefer to be contacted in writing. I tend to be very awkward and anxious about expressing myself in writing. By the time I’ve given up and made the phone call I’ve made 6 or 7 attempts at email/text.

  16. One of the big things I miss about living in Spain is that the social kissing there was so freaking easy: you do two kisses for EVERYONE. Done. Easy. Simples.

    But in England? Everyone does different things! Someone goes in for a kiss and I go in for a handshake and then we end up doing some sort of crab dance and it’s awkward. So hideously awkward.

    I’m also not good at silences. If there’s really long awkward pauses, I’m very liable to rush in and try and fill it with anything. Which usually means I end up spouting absolute rubbish.

    Little Miss Katy

    1. Same here with the silences – and the stupid thing is, I always feel like everyone’s expecting ME to fill them – like, they’ll all be sitting there, thinking, “OMG, why doesn’t Amber just say something?” when the fact is, they’re all probably feeling exactly the same!

  17. The air kissing is the worst! People I’ve never met before will do it at networking events with me without warning, usually 60+year old men and I have no idea how to react at all. I’m not cool with kissing people I’ve only just met, why does it ever happen? I’m glad to not be the only phone phobic person too. I love calls with people I’m close to but when it’s a work call or with someone I’m not too familiar with, I would rather avoid at all costs. Actually pretty much any situation involving people I don’t know very well/small talk is the worst thing for me. Can we all just live in silence and indoors please? x

  18. One of my pet-peeves is when I’m in a store, and I’m occupying a changing-room, and the rest of them are vacant and wide open… And more often than not someone will come and open my door/curtain to see if its occupied. All this while there are like 5 or 6 empty stalls. W-h-y. And of course I am always half-undressed in this occasions… Same with toilettes: all the stalls are empty, I enter one, then like 30 sec later a person will knock on my door. With like 10 other vacant bathrooms which have their doors wide open. I don’t understand people.

    1. Yes! And then even although the door is locked, making it totally obvious that the stall is occupied, they still stand there trying to open it anyway: WHY?!

  19. All of these things! So much yes! My face turns tomato red at the slightest provocation, so having anyone then mentioning it makes it so much worse 🙁
    I hate when my husband will start a story, then turn to me and tell me to finish it since it was kind of my story. Now I’m stuck trying to tell a story that I didn’t want to share in the first place and have to get all the original details right while my husband/sister stare me down. Why for the love of god do you hate me! It’s kind of like that scene in the film war of the roses when they are telling how they got their fancy crystal glassware?
    I’m just so glad I’ve managed to find a job that is perfect for my shy introversion: data entry!

    1. Haha, Terry does that to me too, except he always says something like, “Oh, Amber tells this one much better than I do, it’s so funny!” which builds everyone’s expectations up nicely, only for me to then step in and tell some lame story that I only know because HE told it to ME – aaargh!

  20. All of these! Add anything intended to get me to “loosen up,” such as physically pulling me up out of my chair and toward the dance floor or making a big deal out of my declining an alcoholic beverage. And anything else that puts me at the center of attention at an awkward moment. “Why aren’t you singing and clapping along to [song I’ve never heard before]? Aren’t you enjoying the concert?” Finally, pointing out in front of everyone that I’m rather dressed up at an event that turned out to be on the casual side.

    1. I think there’s a special place in hell for people who make a big deal out of someone declining alcohol, and doing the whole, “Oh COME ON, have one! No, have one!” thing. There are just so many reasons someone might not want to drink (or explain why) – why is it so important to people to try and force them?!

  21. I can relate to all these so much. I’m also a shy and introverted person, and although I’m very talkative (odd combination, right?) my energy gets drained with just a little social interaction. I’m also the kind of shy person whose face turns a bright fiery tomato red when strangers talk to me or anyone brings unwanted attention to something I’m doing, like, you know, just being quiet. It’s gotten a little better as I’ve gotten older, but I’m still easily embarrassed and uncomfortable. Also I too hate when people show up unannounced at my home, why would anyone do that? It’s a sure way to find me grumpy, in pajamas, with messy hair and a dirty house. I’m a planner and hate last-minute visits or plans.
    And I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who hates talking on the phone. I panic whenever I have to call someone, especially in English as it’s my second language and though my skills have improved after living in the USA for 3 years, I always seem to get tongue-tied on the phone (which results in more embarrassment and mumbling).

    1. I’m better with it now, but when I was a teenager I used to blush at the slightest thing – someone would just have to say “hello” to me, and my face would be on fire. It’s so weird to me that people always want to make a big deal out of it – it just seems so obvious that someone who’s *already embarrassed* probably doesn’t want attention drawn to it!

  22. Opening gifts in front of others (especially the gift giver) is beyond horrible for all involved. Especially when the gift is actually amazing and something I really love, I have this anxiety that I didn’t react appropriately or didn’t convey just how much I really honestly love it in front of that person and then I over think it for days and worry that I seemed ungrateful and… well you can tell how this makes me feel. Closely followed by awkward air kissers. Why can’t a universal HIGH FIVE ever suffice?! Have a great Easter Weekend

    Megan || http://www.ohheyblog.com

    1. I’m exactly the same – I have this horror of not appearing appropriately grateful, even although I am, so I get all stressed about it: this is why I’ve never had a birthday party!

  23. I also hate it when people point to me being quiet. Sometimes I’m loud and sometimes I’m not but I really don’t need everyone’s attention on that. Also, when you walk into a room and everyone swivels their heads to stare at you. I’ve never lost the fear and irritation of that ever since school. WHY ARE YOU STARING AT ME?! HAVE YOU NEVER SEEN A PERSON BEFORE?! I hate it

  24. Ha – thanks for writing this, I sometimes think I am the only person who gets all awkward about stuff like this, and it’s nice to find a community of people who all feel the same way! The thing is, I have Asperger’s syndrome, so any interaction face-to-face with a person is liable to get awkward really fast. Mostly I can muddle my way along and no one guesses anything is wrong. I have also got over being embarrassed about a lot of things, being able to laugh at yourself goes a long way! One thing that I still find really hard? Telling people I have Asperger’s. I don’t normally go around dropping it into every conversation, but most people I tell fall into two categories – either go silent and start edging away as though it’s catchy, or start talking to me like I’m brain dead. Um, hello, I’m still the same person I was a few seconds ago, and no I’m not going to dribble on you! Or they will say something like, ‘Oh, you’re like Rain Man’. No, not like the Rain Man, although yes he did have Asperger’s as well. There is a very small group of people who will react sympathetically, mostly because they know someone else who has it. I am very careful now who I tell. But somehow it feels as though I know you really well through your blog, and it’s nice to know that there are others who struggle with the types of problems I have, and that it’s not just restricted to Asperger’s syndrome! Oh, and happy Autism Awareness Day!

  25. Yes! When I e-mail (or text) you, do not call me! I hate talking on the phone. It’s so awful. I’m 32, but the last time I called to order a pizza, the guy asked if my parents knew I was calling.

  26. I can relate to all of these! I really suffer with social anxieties and I’ve always been a shy person, especially around new people. I think the worst thing is people pointing out the fact that you are shy and quiet – do they really think that’s going to help the situation?! I also hate huge gatherings of people, whether I know them or not – small groups are much better! Thanks for sharing this. xxx

  27. I love this! I literally feel like I’m two people because I can be so loud and normal in front of people I’m comfortable with, but in large groups I just go to pieces. Even at work, I’m fine either everyone one-on-one but when we get together for meetings, I just melt. My voice goes all monotone and I feel like the most boring person in the world.

    We did secret santa this year and I honestly just don’t know how to react to opening something from someone I’m not close to. Like, what do I do with my face? Do I smile? Do I thank them? Where do I look? What do I say? What is this thing they’ve given me? I’m stressed.

    When people go in for the hug it makes me want to die. I just don’t know how to do it.

    Corinne x

  28. Very annoying when people quiz me on why I don’t drink alcohol, before assuming I’m no fun or a recovering alcoholic. Truth is I don’t like the taste, although from time to time I enjoy a single glass of Prosecco. Very worrying if folk assume the second reason is true (it isn’t) – if it were the case, shouldn’t I receive support in my remaining teetotal?

    The whole touchy-feely thing leaves me cold as well, with exceptions. I teach English language to foreign students so I’m aware that there are some cultures who are more tactile than others. If an Italian (female) I hardly know offers me a hug I take it a lot better than if it’s a Brit, seeing as we know we’re less inclined to touchy-feeliness. You can add overfamiliarity onto this – sometimes I think I must sound horrible, but I’d sooner someone didn’t act as if I were a friend when I’m a mere acquaintance.

    A couple of other pet peeves are down on bus travel in London. I hate people’s loud mobile phone conversations. Why do folk wish to have them in public? I don’t mean those who keep their voices low, but half an audible conversation is very hard to block out mentally, whereas two people chattering behind you just blends into the background. The other peeve is when folk don’t stand up properly to let you out at your stop, simply moving their legs for you to clamber over. The height of rudeness! Exceptions, of course, for an elderly passenger, a mother and child or someone with lots of bags. In those cases I’ll always smile and say don’t move, I can squeeze round you.

  29. Interestingly, in Japan where I stayed for 18 months you never open gifts in front of others. You always thank the givers and put them down somewhere in the background, ready to open them once your guests have departed. A nice custom, I think.

  30. Fab post! Agree with most of this for myself too, especially personal space and hugging and kissing! I have always hated it when people I don’t know very well hug me. At school all the girls were so huggy and I hated it. I’m still funny about people touching me at all like why don’t do that. Until I know someone and am super comfortable with them (which is like three people in total) I don’t want hugs. And I glare at people in queues if they get too close, or I say excuse me really loud and edge away from them. Probably embarrasses them but maybe that’ll teach them! xo

  31. oh I chuckled at this! Your writing is just fab! I can completley relate to all of this, I’m such a weird awkward person, social phobic and shy! I never get how ‘normals’ can just effortlessly cope with these things. Loving your blog!

  32. Thank you for this post, so nice to see that others struggle with the same stuff!!
    Back home the whole kissing thing sometimes freaked me out a bit, but as it was generally three kisses all was save most of the time. But here in the UK its a whole different story. There are so many different ways people greet and it can just get so akward, hate it!
    Also dont like people getting in my personal space. Like when you are queuing and the person behind you gets sooo close. Why do thhey do that??!! Same problem when I go to a gym class and people get too close… Too much!

  33. Eating in public – I’m always so self-conscious! Or being out in public with someone and they go to the bathroom, and I’m sat there awkwardly so I feel the need to look at my phone constantly. Or…just anything in public really…

    xx Lauren

  34. People coming to my house and I have to make them a cup of tea. I don’t drink hot drinks but I aware that there is some sort of magical art in brewing a “good cup of tea.” I therefore become paralysed with fear that my attempt will be too milky, to weak, the wrong brand etc. Would anyone care for tap water? If so, you are welcome to call around anytime!

  35. I know right??? That moment when a friend asks “Oh are you okay, you don’t look okay? What’s up??” and the WHOLE lunch table has suddenly ceased all activity and you see a dozen 13 year olds’ faces boring into yours… yeah, not a fan. Add in the fact that I’m probably mid PB&J sandwich, most likely with strawberry jelly dripping off of my face and hands… again, not a fan.

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