Social Awkwardness

Being smart hardly puts people in the most popular situation. My geekiness gained me more enemies than friends. (Oddly enough, my rival Danielle turned into one of my good friends shortly after fifth grade.) Another friend I’d had since first grade — a person I’d considered my best friend — spread vicious rumors around school about me and caused me trouble with parents and college guys when I was at 12 years old. The unfolding years became no better as teasing from classmates and soon, teachers, intensified. By high school, I shut myself off from other people and making new friends. I built an armor of self-rejection around myself so the darts of rejection thrown at me could not pierce my skin. I continued to hope that my intelligence would garner social points but I quickly learned that my popularity immensely increased with tests and quizzes and then sharply declined until the next time. My social awkwardness continues to this day — in my head, I overanalyze the implications of a new friendship or conjure reasons why a stranger probably dislikes me. Such is the life of a perfectionistic, socially awkward, depressed person.

20 Comments

  1. Graham Smith said,

    January 12, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    I assume that everyone new I meet will find me a less than desirable person to know… And to this day I am continually baffled as to why these people continue to want to know me… It just does not make sense, I wouldn’t want to be my own friend because I consider myself a nightmare to know, I know.
    This was a quote I wrote that summed it up…
    “it often seems to me that others see me in a way that to be frank baffles me, my perception of my own apperance and actions are not at all how it appears they are interpreted. Is this a misinterpretation by those others, or am i simply unable to comprehend the results of my own way of being? Either way, I am neither happy, sad or confused over this… “

  2. Mark said,

    February 2, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    I am a mental patient, a mental patient is me. Having been hospitalized at the age of 18 the experiance there(and today if I go/sent back)made/makes me who I am. I think of it throughout the day in simple little ways, such as when I can drink some water(memories of being tied down with incredible thirst) , and when I can go to the bathroom( tied down and having to go to the bathroom). And anywhere outside under the sky I am I am entertained, as I can remember the many hours and days and months locked in the rooms of psychiatry.

  3. December 22, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    I know exactly what you are talking about. My wife reminds me of this tendency in me all the time.

  4. December 22, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    I know exactly what you are talking about. My wife reminds me of this tendency in me all the time.

  5. cam said,

    December 30, 2007 at 1:13 am

    I randomly stumbled upon your blog from researching “Social Awkwardness.”
    I continued to hope that my intelligence would garner social points but I quickly learned that my popularity immensely increased with tests and quizzes and then sharply declined until the next time. My social awkwardness continues to this day — in my head, I overanalyze the implications of a new friendship or conjure reasons why a stranger probably dislikes me. Such is the life of a perfectionistic, socially awkward, depressed person.
    ^That’s me a in a nutshell…

  6. GregK said,

    February 10, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Sounds just like me.
    I wonder if it’s even possible to change? It’s easy to change how we look by eating less and working out; it’s slow but we know it can be done.
    With personality we have this sort of illusion that we could just some day stop acting like we are right now and become another person. As everyone here probably knows, it is a lot harder than it sounds. Either way, I think I’m going to keep operating on the assumption that it is, at least, possible.

  7. Bob Thompson said,

    February 15, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Change is possible. It’s not an overnight thing. The bad thinking habits took time to develop and undoing them will take time.

  8. Jasen H said,

    February 22, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    I used to get picked on a lot… especially in grade 8, where i got beat up for the first time.
    In Highschool, I was extremely depressed for 3 years… I feel like my anti-social dad just added to my problems. To this day, while i live with him, we still don’t talk much.
    I turned it around the only way i knew how, by moving in with my mom, who i had lived with before my dad long after the seperation… up ’till highschool. My Dad was against this move.
    But.. A little bit of therapy and a strict; open-minded, self-realizing mother… it helped me a lot.
    I’m more socially acceptable now… on the outside. Now and then i have episodes where i feel overwhelmed and can easyily succomb to depression, especially if it’s between friends or my past brought up.
    I’m not looking for sympathy.., just another story.

  9. karla said,

    May 31, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    Wow, this describes me exactly. The strange thing was, in high school, I was certainly one of the cutest and smartest girls in my grade, but I was never accepted. I was just weird and awkward, and I still am. I never know what to say and I always the say the dumbest things at the wrong time. I am constantly chasing away friends and potential relationships with my insecurites. I wonder why people want to be my friend. I’m just pathetic, I feel. If I had a chance to trade in my looks for a different, more positive mindset, I would do it in a heartbeat. I fear I’ll never change because I’ve been this way my whole life and I hate it.

  10. Jordansagar said,

    July 20, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    I continued to hope that my intelligence would garner social points but I quickly learned that my popularity immensely increased with tests and quizzes and then sharply declined until the next time. My social awkwardness continues to this day — in my head, I overanalyze the implications of a new friendship or conjure reasons why a stranger probably dislikes me. Such is the life of a perfectionistic, socially awkward, depressed person.
    ^ this is also me in a nutshell man… It makes me feel better just knowing there’s other people like that.

  11. Pat said,

    September 22, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    “Wow, this describes me exactly. The strange thing was, in high school, I was certainly one of the cutest and smartest girls in my grade, but I was never accepted. I was just weird and awkward, and I still am. I never know what to say and I always the say the dumbest things at the wrong time. I am constantly chasing away friends and potential relationships with my insecurites. I wonder why people want to be my friend. I’m just pathetic, I feel. If I had a chance to trade in my looks for a different, more positive mindset, I would do it in a heartbeat. I fear I’ll never change because I’ve been this way my whole life and I hate it.”
    You basically summed up my life in this one post. I have been quite attractive my whole life but it’s all wasted because of how fking awkward I can be sometimes. I love people, but I seem to screw things up when I talk to most of them because of how worried I am about what I’m saying. Sometimes I wonder how I’ll ever be able to find someone to love, or who loves me.
    By the way, I, too, have contemplated what it would be like if I could trade in my physical appearance for a better personality. Just have to work with what we’re given I guess…

  12. brit said,

    October 25, 2008 at 1:08 am

    It’s kinda comforting to know i’m not alone. I hope we can all find a way to overcome this, i’m tired of all the missed opportunities and regrets I have because of my problem. I feel like i’m suffocating in my awkwardness.

  13. David said,

    November 15, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    I am an attractive and intelligent guy. I can relate to Jasen H. To this day I am still awkward although things have improved somewhat. I have been in once-a-week talk therapy for approx 10 years. I have continued to challenge myself and learned to accept adversity and rejection and all of this has made me a more realistic person. Last year I took 6 months off work to do some soulsearching and at the end of it I realized how much I hate my parents and how much of my trouble had been from subconsciously choosing to stay loyal to the role they had put me in. I realized the role I was playing was causing a tremendous internal conflict with what I really wanted. This conflict created a civil war inside of me and zapped me of my energy and made me engage in all kinds of self-defeating behaviors. All because my parents were so extreme themselves and put me in a specific role in a very extreme way. Breaking ot of the role felt very wrong and was difficult and is still going on to some extent but I can never look back. Finally I am feeling more in touch with who I am. One major change is that I actually allow myself to get angry at people. I used to be such a people-pleaser and could not even fathom the idea of having someone not like me. As a result of all of these realizations my social awkwardnes is going away because I value what I think of others as much as what I think they think of me.

  14. David said,

    November 15, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    Correction – I was referring to Karla’s comments not Jasen’s

  15. David said,

    November 15, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Wow – now that I’m talking about this I’m really on a role. I think my social awkwardness came from having strong internal conflicts. For example, if I liked someone, I couldn’t just let that be the pure motivation for getting to know them. Inevitably a whole bunch of other issues would arise like – do they like me? Will I appear weak if I show them I like them? Am I good enough? etc.. The more you are able to identify your own feelings (can’t do this if you had a parent that told you that what you feel is wrong), the feelings of others (need parents that are honest about how they feel and don’t bamboozle you with contradictory messages) the easier social interaction is. Social interaction is relatively easy when you see your own desires and motivations as they are and are able to act on them. You can’t have smooth social interactions if you have learned to mistrust your own feelings or those of others because your primary caregivers gave you extremely conflicted messages or told you to ignore what you were feeling. It can take years to unravel this. I suggest to anyone out there that they work on this on a regular basis with a professional and expect this to take years to unravel. Thiking that this can be fixed overnight is yet another manifestation of the same narcissism or magical thinking that underlies social dysfunction in the first place.

  16. Manuel said,

    May 3, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    I feel like I’m reading a mirror of my mind – I’m still in highschool, finally about to leave. I’m relatively handsome and have always been naturally smart, getting good grades without ever studying. I’ve never been picked on, I’ve done that to myself for the last 4 or 5 years, almost picking up where my father, brothers, or whatever as**ole has left off. My dad, who made of fun of me when I was a little kid (when I was still developing, I was being told I wouldn’t be worth much), who has always sent me conflicted messages, still to this day refuses to be direct to me about the way he feels. Because of that I’ve allowed myself to develop these fears of speak and action, and terrible thinking habits, almost desperate for acceptance or approval, and when I was accepted, I questioned it, “these people can’t be being genuine.” “There must be something these people are looking down on”. Not till last September did I realize not everyone needs to accept you, I realized my thinking habits and what they were doing to me, and the social awkwardness that comes with all of that. I’ve been working all year to try and eliminate these thoughts from my mind, and it just seems to get harder the farther I go. I feel sometimes, when I’m with anyone anywhere, I’m merely a spectator watching social interaction and learning. Is it wrong to not be the talkative one? Does that instantly make you awkward? I’m ready to eliminate those inner fears of mine, but am still trying to find a way to understand and validate my own thoughts and feelings, and cease looking for others’ validations.
    Sorry if this is too much information, It’s my head in a nutshell. I was surfing the web and saw this site, read others stories, and guess I just needed to get out of my head.

  17. Kelly Monaghan said,

    May 6, 2009 at 1:54 am

    This is exactly how I feel right now. I feel like the people that I am friends with now are only friends with me because of how I used to before I was hospitalized and people now are only polite to me, but they somehow sense that I am this depressed person that is just not right. It seems to me that no matter what I do out there in the social world I am the depressed person. The only place I dont feel like that is in school and in my job where I have a role and I know the rules of the game. Im just frustrated because this was not always me and I am having a hard time accepting that this is me now. It has been three years since my last hospitalization and I have done the medication and therapy thing, but part of me just feels broken and I dont know how to feel whole again or if I ever will.

  18. Tom said,

    June 23, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Lately, I’ve been learning more and more that I can be socially awkward as hell. I try to get myself into conversations and just say things that I am thinking relative to what situation I’m in, but I still get those looks from people. They are not necessarily dirty looks but they give off the impression that I’m not even worth listening to.
    One big problem I’ve noticed from my ‘disfunction’ is that my awkwardness seems to be effecting everyone I know and they in turn act the way I do. I keep having these paranoid, internal monologues and I just want them to stop. I really have trouble trying to show myself through actions and words. I want to be a more outgoing guy, but I feel that I have been like this for too long so I can’t change. The prospect of change seems impossible. The friends that I do have now seem to know that I can be awkward and this just puts more pressure on me. Getting my thoughts down makes me feel better and knowing that I’m not the only one like this really helps. But I need something. I need a change. I would really appreciate any advice people might have for me 🙂

  19. Kelsey said,

    June 27, 2009 at 3:38 am

    I stumbled across this blog after undergoing another round tonight of feeling socially unwanted. There was a party at my house, it would have been perfectly acceptable for me to have joined everyone in drinking games and hanging out. The whole time though it seemed like my brain was griping at me “no one wants to hang out with YOU they just think you’re boyfriend is cool”. And I sat on Facebook instead. My boyfriend is constantly informing me of how conversationally awkward I am and pass on my discomfort to many I speak to. He says just to chill out. But I cant! His mind developed normally. He is lucky enough to be both extremely intelligent and quick witted and cant comprehend my inability to behave “normally”.
    I think the misunderstanding/lack of understanding by those of the competently social just fuels the inner anxiety.

  20. August 13, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    When I re-established you and your new home, I found this page that for some reason, I missed or had never seen before!

    CLANG!

    Wow, did this ever ring a bell loudly in my Asperger’s head. Not to mention all that happened during my last hospital stay around mid-June (where it all came down to me being a smart Aspie that was “manipulating” my inpatient psych etc… for treatment.)

    I know. As I wrote on my blog, you can be a smart, intelligent Aspie but you can’t be in crisis at the same time. That’s what they said–in four days!

    I understand this post on so many other levels (in my life though.) Let’s just say massive resonation. I mean, we both haven’t lived each other’s lives!

    But forever awkward (yet smart?) all my life and paying a price. I’m still awkward. I know it. Sometimes I can squeak by or even manage. Sometimes, though, I still mess up. I can’t either find or keep relationships (as much as I want to!) I could go on and on but hey! Read my blog! *laughing* Start with the Asperger’s Category!

    Oh, I am ridiculous.

    Ugh.

    But I hear you sister. You’re preaching to the choir!

    Hugs,
    PA


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