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9 Things You’ve Probably Done if You’re Socially Awkward

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 the socially awkward amongst you will surely 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 which was taking me in the opposite direction from home, just so the person didn’t realise I’d only been pretending to want to go that way. 

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. 

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

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01.

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

02.

Felt OUTRAGED when I’ve been in the lift on my own, and, at the last minute, someone has dashed forward and squeezed themselves through the barely-open doors. Like, they couldn’t just have waited for the next one? REALLY?

03.

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

04.

Avoided going into that shop I want to buy something from, because I know the sales assistant is going to pounce the second I walk through the door, and, honestly, I 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…)

05.

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

06.

Pretended to recognise the person I just answered the door to, even though I’m pretty certain I’ve never seen them before in my life. (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…)

07. 

Asked someone to repeat themselves twice, because I 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 I’d given the appropriate response, and not just laughed at the news that their goldfish just died or something. I can’t even count the times I’ve done this now…

08.

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

09.

Pretended to be so relaxed I’m almost asleep during beauty treatments, when I’m actually wide awake, and just desperate to avoid small-talk. Like, HOW do people actually SLEEP during beauty treatments? HOW?

*

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

COMMENTS
  • Steph

    REPLY

    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

      REPLY

      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
  • Mary Katherine

    REPLY

    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

    REPLY

    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

    REPLY

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

    Candice x

    NatalyaAmour.com

    October 6, 2020
  • Fiona

    REPLY

    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

    REPLY

    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

        REPLY

        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
  • Donna

    REPLY

    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

    REPLY

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

    October 12, 2020
  • Emerald

    REPLY

    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
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