Wednesday, 20 September 2017

11 ways to be socially awkward: advice from an expert

There are many ways to be socially awkward. I know this, because I am an expert. Throughout my life I have uncovered myriad ways to create a portable miasma of vague discomfort.

If you are a novice and you would like to learn how to do it, you’ve come to the right place.

I have tried and tested all of these methods and I can guarantee that
these moments will not only be awkward at the time, but they will revisit you throughout your life to remind you what an enormously awkward goober you really are.

1. Overthink the social kissing

Social kissing is an awkward goober’s kryptonite because there are so many ways it can go horribly wrong. The secret to cocking it up is to overthink it to oblivion.

Who should I kiss? Just close friends or do I kiss that friend of Sue’s as well? Should we kiss now or in a few seconds? When’s the social kiss coming, is it coming at all or can I relax? Are we kissing on the left or the right? Are we making actual lip to cheek contact or just air-kissing? We’ve already kissed goodbye but now we’re at the car, do we kiss again or should I just wave like a puppet to signify the social interaction has finished?

2.  Mistake the social hug for a social kiss

If someone goes for the hug and you mistake it for the full service social kiss, it ultimately means you will unwittingly kiss some part of that person that should never be casually kissed: an ear, a nose, an eyebrow.

In my case, it resulted in a slow-moving Nosferatu impersonation: I lurched around for a landing point that ultimately ended with his neck.

3. Miss the exit on the revolving door

For extra points: miss it once, then lose your nerve and miss it again so that you end up doing a few laps and have to keep saying “Hi” to the people waiting to come in

For bonus points: mistime your entry and accidentally enter someone else’s segment of the door. Now you are both jammed into a small space, trying to shuffle along at a synchronized rate so as not to accidentally bum each other. Maximum awkwardness achieved.

4. Push on the door that clearly says, “PULL” as you are leaving a crowded cafĂ©

And by “push” on it, I mean: really wrestle with it like you’re trapped inside a burning building and need to get out before you perish.

5.  Wave enthusiastically at a stranger

Make sure you do your wacky and ironic Humphrey B Bear wave - that private joke that’s only funny to you and your close friends - because it’s not someone you know, it’s just a random woman with glasses who looks like someone you know.

It’s important to finish this off by morphing the wacky-wave-for-close-friends into a wide-arcing and implausible nose scratch.

6. Trip over a crack in the footpath and pretend it’s your new jaunty walk

This must be done in front of a crowded bus stop full of bored commuters who have nothing better to do than to watch your “I’m-tripping-no-I’m-walking-funny” charade from start to finish. Because to prove it’s your new jaunty walk, you’ll have to keep doing it until you are out of their line of sight.

Extra points for saying something like: “Whoopsie-doopsie!” at the time of tripping.

7. Allow someone to get your name wrong because you’re assuming that you’ll never see them again

Make sure you let them say it numerous times so it’s clear that you also think that your name is “Pammy.” It will then transpire that she is the mother of your son’s new best friend. So you will be seeing each other regularly and just long enough each time for her to call you, “Pammy”, but not long enough to warrant a full-scale retraction.

This one has a nice long-range kicker: because at some point five years down the track you will have to come clean and admit that your name was never “Pammy” then explain why you didn’t say anything sooner. Good luck!

8. Mutter a random word whilst shaking hands with an acquaintance

And by “mutter”, I mean, don’t move your lips and by “random” I mean, something inexplicable like: “Awesome.” (I don’t know why I did it, but the handshaking was just so intense and silent I felt I had to say something.)

9. Shout “Hello!” at an unnecessarily loud volume when greeting an acquaintance

I do this a lot. And I know the trigger: someone who makes me nervous.

·      The intense German woman at my kids’ school
·      The old man from next door who tinkers in my garden unannounced (I mean, serious tinkering; presently he is cutting up bricks with a machine and relaying pavers. To be clear, I never asked him to.)
·      The barista who sprays his broad brushstrokes “flirting” across all ages and genders

10. Overhear a compliment and assume it’s for you

This will happen when you’ve gone a bit outside your comfort zone fashion-wise: a brave new hair colour, a fashion hat, some bold statement jewellery. And because you are thinking about it, you will assume everyone else is thinking about it too.  Spoiler alert: they’re not.

In my case, it was a jazzy knotted kerchief at the neck. I just thought I’d try it and so when I heard a work colleague behind me say: “She’s such a fashion plate …” I naturally assumed. I should have left it at the assuming but because I am a master player, I felt compelled to thank her for the compliment.

She wasn’t talking about me.  Oh how we laughed … and by “we laughed” I mean: she laughed AT me and I laughed whilst dying inside.  

11. Fall into step with your neighbour and realise too late you are headed in the same direction and don’t have enough conversation topics to cover the terrain

The most awkward way out of this is to pretend you need to stop and tie your shoe, then continue to stalk them from four paces behind for the rest of the way.

1 comment:

  1. I don't usually read these list posts because I don't think they're funny but yours was. Thanks Pammy... I mean Penny.