The Awkward Files

19 Things You’ve Probably Done if You Have Social Anxiety

All the things I’ve done because of social anxiety…

One day last week, I was out for a run, when I happened to arrive at a road I needed to cross, just as a car started to drive down it. As I slowed down, I noticed the driver hesitate, as if they were wondering whether or not they should stop for me, so, to save them the trouble, I did something I’m sure my fellow awkward people will understand:

Instead of crossing the road, as I’d intended, I calmly turned left, and pretended that was the way I’d been intending to go all along, even though, no, it totally wasn’t. My intention here was to just run along until the car was out of sight (Which, to be fair, should only have taken a few seconds, given the road layout…), then cross the road at that point.

But the car stopped anyway: presumably for some other reason than letting my stupid self past.

So, instead of just going a few metres out of my way in my bid to not inconvenience this random driver, who I knew I would never see again, I ended up having to fully commit to this new path I found myself on, and now I live in a different village, under a new name and identity, the end.

I have NO idea why I did this. Like, none. I mean, it’s not like I’d have been committing some hideous faux pas if I’d allowed the car to stop for me, is it? Hell, it’s not even like either of us would’ve remembered it two minutes later. Even so, I went ahead and somehow managed to make a totally normal situation awkward: because that’s what I do, basically. It’s kind of like my superpower, except it’s not really a “power,” exactly, and there’s absolutely nothing “super” about it either, so… yeah. Like I say, I have no idea. What I DO know, however, is that I do things like this a LOT. And, if you have social anxiety – or are just plain awkward – I bet you do, too.

The Awkward Files

Here are some other things social anxiety has made me do: tell me if you relate to any of them…


Assumed that everyone you know secretly hates you, even in the absence of any evidence of this.


Lain awake at night cringing over something you did twenty years ago, that you will literally never get over the embarrassment of.


Felt like the odd one out in every social group you’ve ever been part of.


Pretended to recognise someone when you’ve absolutely no idea who they are. (I seriously almost invited the pizza delivery guy into our house one time, because we were having a party, and I assumed he must be someone I knew, but didn’t recognise. The poor guy was so bemused…)


Been forced to continue the charade even once you realise that the reason you didn’t recognise them is because you’ve never actually met them before. So now you have a new best friend, and neither one of you knows the first thing about the other. Excellent.


Taken the stairs because there was already someone in the lift when the doors opened and you didn’t want to have to make awkward conversation / equally-awkward silence with them for the two whole minutes the ride would’ve taken.


Sat in a club or bar on your own, while all of your friends pair off with handsome strangers, never to be seen again.


Pretended that you actually prefer sitting on your own, anyway.


Avoided going into a shop you want to buy something from because you go there so often that the shop assistant has started to recognise you and want to chat, and it’s just so awkward.


Bought something you didn’t need because the sales assistant was lovely, and you just couldn’t bring yourself to say no.


Had to go through social media and un-tag yourself on every single photo posted after a night out, because while everyone else looks effortlessly normal, you never fail to look like an extra from The Walking Dead.


Pretended to be doing something super-important on your phone, just so no one tries to engage you in conversation.


Asked someone to repeat themselves twice, because you couldn’t hear them properly, then, the third time it happened, just pretended to know what they said. Then spent the next few minutes in an agony of suspense, hoping you’ve given the appropriate response, and not just laughed at the news that their goldfish just died or something.


Thought you recognised someone from a distance and started waving enthusiastically, only to realise it’s actually a complete stranger, so now you have to pretend to be waving at someone BEHIND them, who is ALSO a complete stranger.


Refused to answer your ringing phone, then spent 20 minutes Googling the number that called you in a bid to find out who they were, and what they might have wanted.


Spent the day driving to four different post offices (Three of which are nowhere near your house), just because you have a ton of parcels to post, and you don’t want to be That Person standing at the post office queue for 30 minutes while a huge line develops behind you.


Waited until the street was empty before leaving the house, to minimise the chances of having to interact with anyone.


Avoided going into that shop you want to buy something from, because you know the sales assistant is going to pounce the second you walk through the door, and, honestly, you just want to grab the thing I need to buy and leave, with the absolute minimum of fuss. (YES, LUSH, I’M LOOKING AT YOU, HERE…)


Bought something you didn’t need just because the sales assistant was SO NICE.

These are the kind of things I do: and, if you’re a fellow Awkward Sort, they’re probably the kind of things you do, too. It’s important to note here, however, that you don’t have to fulfil ALL of the absolve criteria in order to qualify as awkward, and that many of the traits of Awkward Girls are ones shared with introverts and social anxiety sufferers, neither of which groups are necessarily awkward. Are you following this? Because it’ll be awkward if you’re not, won’t it

OK, your turn: what kind of things have YOU done, purely because you’re socially awkward?

19 things you've probably done if you're socially awkward

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  • Steph


    Oh god this made me laugh so hard because IT ME!! I regularly end up on much longer dog walks than planned because I change routes to avoid other dog walkers – my dog will 100% want to say hi to the stranger dog and I 100% don’t want to say hi to the stranger human! I also do a ridiculous ritual when I’m in town with Bailey of walking past coffee shops to see if there are any tables inside and if I can’t see I just keep going, because for some reason not getting my coffee is better than the (completely imaginary) embarrassment of having to walk in, realise there’s no where to sit, then walk out again. I’m only like this on my own though, if I’m with someone else I’m (kind of) normal?!

    October 6, 2020
    • Anne


      7, 8 and the changing direction to avoid meeting someone still happens, have (almost) gotten rid of doing 4 and 5. I was a lot worse before meeting my husband who’s an outgoing introvert, have learned a lot from him. But I still get irritated when colleagues call me when they could’ve emailed…
      Thank you for the post about your heel treatment, btw. I ordered the same stuff and my feet had the best summer ever!

      October 6, 2020
        • Laurie


          What is the heal treatment you use? And I just discovered your posts – LOVE THEM!!!

          September 14, 2021
  • Mary Katherine


    Who has NOT done #7, I ask you?!?!? That one gets worse as you get older, because you don’t want people to think you’re old & deaf…
    My husband has social anxiety, so I know so many of these to be true! He also thinks he recognizes every 3rd car we pass on the road (he doesn’t), and that guy walking down the street is Uncle Frank (it isn’t).
    Thanks for today’s chuckle.

    October 6, 2020
  • Nic


    I do this thing where I tend to sort of “mirror” people’s energy so if I’m talking to an extrovert I’m fine, but match me up with a fellow awkward person and WOW does the conversation go downhill fast. I’ve had coworkers that I intentionally avoided talking to, not because I didn’t like them but because I knew it would end up being unreasonably awkward.

    October 6, 2020
  • Candice Sandler


    Haha I have definitely done a few of these! I am just an introvert

    Candice x

    October 6, 2020
  • Fiona


    Social distancing has just made the whole world more awkward. I routinely end up crossing roads or taking routes I had not planned to, just to avoid the awkward ‘who’s going to veer off onto the road to distance themselves from the other person’ saga. Let’s be clear – I don’t cross roads to create distance,
    I cross roads purely to avoid the social etiquette…

    October 6, 2020
  • Miss Kitty


    I stopped going to the pharmacy I always went to, because the lady there was over friendly. I just think it’s weird when some random lady who I never see anywhere else knows my name and even remembers what I bought last time. I would rather just be treated as another anonymous shopper thanks! Especially because things you buy from a pharmacy are often very personal in nature. What if she bailed me up in the street and asked me if the cream for my athlete’s foot was working or something?! ???? I just stopped shopping there even though it was the easiest pharmacy for me to get to. I have also waved at someone’s car I thought I recognised, only to realise it wasn’t them so you have to try and adjust it to a mirror adjustment or something ???? But I totally fall asleep during beauty treatments, and it helps to avoid the small talk too ????

    October 7, 2020
      • Emerald


        My mum told me how, as a young Scottish woman in Swinging London, she would go to the same place each day for lunch and order tomato soup and a roll because it was the cheapest thing on the menu. One day the woman there shouted out “Usual, love?” My mum was mortified and felt exactly the same as you – awkward. When I asked her she said it was because it seemed a little bit familiar, even though the lady was friendly and kind.

        October 14, 2020
      • Lindsay


        I thought I was the only one…. my favorite store to shop at is Garage, and the salesgirls are really nice and friendly. They always try to start small talk and stuff like that, and it doesn’t help that my dad calls me “sweetie pie.”

        January 18, 2021
  • Donna


    Today I went to the local shop near my new house. I wasn’t 100% sure where it was so walked up and down the road a little bit looking for it. Then I worried people thought I was behaving suspiciously so I stopped and stared intently at my phone until all the people who were there when I got there left. And no I didn’t look at a map, because someone might have seen that and asked if I was lost and tried to direct me to a shop which turned out to be two seconds away…

    October 7, 2020
  • Erika


    Oh, yes, I do stuff like this all the time! ????

    October 12, 2020
  • Emerald


    Extroverts can experience social anxiety, though I can attest this isn’t me now that I’m more aware! In my twenties I had a habit of introducing friends and friend groups, occasionally with some success, often with none. Yikes! And I would feel very uncomfortable if there was a quiet person and would try to integrate them into the general conversation. It was coming from a good place, but it must have made them feel really put on the spot and did little to assuage how I was feeling.

    Another example was when my dad and I were invited to a wedding – Irish groom and Polish bride, so we thought it would be really lively and we’d spend the reception socialising. Instead everyone there was very quiet and we both felt really awkward.

    October 14, 2020
  • Lindsay


    I am 10 years old and i am very awkward lol. Shopping is the WORST. Especially shoe shopping. I’m like “uhhh can I try uh… these.. in a 2 and a 3?” and then when they tell me to walk around to see if they fit I just walk around in circles like a weirdo and everyone stares at me (or at least I think they do). And whenever I see someone I know in public I pretend I don’t notice them and I pray they don’t notice me.

    January 18, 2021
  • Andrea


    LOL. Uncanny reading about myself here ;p
    What’s even worse is when your social awkwardness costs you money.. Case in point.. I’m buying some meds yesterday which would be covered by medical insurance. The pharmacist sends me to the cashier, who says I’d need to go back to the pharmacist to out it through on the insurance but I feel too awkward to repeat that interaction so end up paying out my own pocket. And then beating myself up with regret over the sillyness of it for the rest of the day.. Ughh.
    And this kind of thing happens regularly!

    February 15, 2021
  • Kate


    One day, my husband and I went out for breakfast and found we didn’t have knives at our table so we just took very large bites of our food that we really did need knives for. Same breakfast, they came by and refilled my mug with coffee instead of tea, and I don’t drink coffee, so my husband drank a whole extra cup of coffee, rinsed my mug out with water from one of our glasses, then we pretended nothing happened and I politely accepted my next tea refill. It was hilariously terrible

    May 14, 2021
  • Sarah Farrage


    OMG this has all made me laugh out loud as its so relatable. I feel relieved to have found your page Amber. Especially the health anxiety. When I had my second child the doctor came out to our home to visit me and he told me he was leaving so this will be his last visit, most normal people would say okay it’s been great thanks. Nooo not me, when he went to leave I just didn’t know what to do so I gave him a hug and kissed him on the cheek to which he looked suprised (obviously) with my Bird nest hair, leaky boobs and dressing gown on and shut the door. My husband then said “did you really just hug and kiss the doctor goodbye” and we both just burst out laughing and continued laughing and still do to this day and it was 21 years ago. I felt so socially awkward and still to this day have no idea why I didi that but I did. I have continued to do many more since then but ultimately it always just makes us laugh. xx

    May 19, 2021