overcoming social awkwardness (or just learning how to roll with it)

I think at some point everyone in life has experienced social awkwardness first hand, whether as the perpetrator or onlooker.  I've been both, but mostly the perpetrator.

This is NOT one of those posts from someone who has overcome social awkwardness, alas, I can make even a quick Walmart visit awkward.  BUT.  I am here to tell you that I have found some really helpful tips to overcome social awkwardness and nerves that have helped me along the way---


It took me awhile to realize this, but it's true, EVERYONE is awkward, everyone experiences some sort of awkwardness in public.  The only difference between being labeled "socially awkward" and being labeled "confident" is how you react when you're placed in an awkward situation.  Some people have the knack for rolling with awkward and making it work while some people have had to learn how to deal with it.  Which can be hard especially when you've caused the awkward. 

One time at work a sales rep was leaving for a trip and came to my office to say bye.  As he was leaving I shouted "Have a good trip!" to which he responded "Thanks, you too!".  Obviously, I wasn't going on a trip.  And this coming from a sales representative who traveled the state and had excellent conversation skills.

Realizing that everyone is awkward helps in learning to roll with it.  My tip?  Go watch confident people when they're in a socially awkward situation and see what they do.  We're all awkward and sometimes a little awk really helps loosen up serious situations.

Not convinced that everyone is a little awkward? Have you ever ridden on a metro or stood in an elevator with a group of people?  YES. EVERYONE IS AWKWARD.


I was on the phone with a friend of mine when randomly in the middle of the conversation I said "I'm sorry, I'm really awkward on the phone" to which she replied, "Really? I didn't even notice." Nothing makes your awkwardness dissipate faster than joking about it and owning up to it. And another thing, you're never as awkward as you think you are. 

This same thing holds true for other things like nerves or shyness-- I once was listening to a guy giving a speech and the first thing he said to open was -- "I'm really nervous right now" which instantly lightened the mood, made the crowd chuckle and gave him the confidence to say his speech. 

So yeah.  Laugh at yourself.  We're funny lil creatures.


Often during conversations with people I get overwhelmed with what to do with body language.  I don't know how long to hold eye contact before it's creepy or how to respond to certain topics of conversation.  We all have that "certain" topic of conversation that is a little tricky to tread with.  Mine? EVERY CONVERSATION.  Just kidding. Not really. Ok, kidding. BUT. Sometimes the average conversation can get really awkward really fast if you let it.  Did you see that?  IF YOU LET IT.

I've been in convos where I'm watching the other person's mouth move but I'm so busy thinking "how am I going to respond to this???" that I end up missing what they said and I'm stuck smiling awkwardly and just nodding. 

YOU JUST NEED TO OWN IT.  And when you do, your mind switches from yourself to the other person. This may sound harsh but sometimes social awkwardness can be really selfish because your mind is too focused on yourself and how you're coming off to others that you don't actually listen to others.  

And honestly, there's nothing more awkward than someone trying really hard not to be awkward during an awkward situation.

So remember, we're all awkward lil humans.  Let's just own it and laugh at ourselves.  We take ourselves way too seriously anyway ;-)

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