Close Encounters of the Awkward Kind - How Awkward Are You?

There are those of us who revel in social situations, they have it down to a fine art. They love meeting new people, trying new things and in general, living life to the full. Then there are the rest of us. The people who almost shit themselves when they meet someone new for the first time and find Tinder great because there's no real face to face communication unless you want there to be. Now these are two extremes, some people may only have a minor case of  'social cop the fuck on to yourself anxietyitis'... These are a few examples to see at which end of the scale you belong to.

1) Meeting New People

Meeting new people makes you wish you had some sort of turtle shell. You feel like the huge awkward elephant in the room. You have forgotten everyone's names as soon as they were introduced to you and instead of asking for them again you simply make some sort of strange bird call or grumble to get their attention. If the friend you have in common with the rest of them leaves to go to the bathroom you want to die inside. You know you can't take out your phone because that would just be rude and you pray that they will just forget that you're there and leave you be. But these people are normal so they're going to ask you questions like where are you from? What do you do? You're so engrossed in wondering when your friend is going to come back you give half arsed answers and then after the second degree has stopped you realise that you never asked them any questions? Now all you can think about is how rude they must think you are. Oh what a cruel world.

2) Dating

Well that just doesn't happen now does it. Unless you are on Tinder trying to meet people you have to succumb to the fact that you will be forever alone. Meeting someone  that you have mutual interests with face to face? That's just crazy talk. If the unbelievable does happen and you find yourself having a pants party with someone you find moderately attractive. Dear God above, do not try and talk dirty. This will not end out well.


3) Going the Wrong Direction

We've all been there. In amongst your own thoughts walking down the road you realise you were supposed to be going in the opposite direction. This is when panic ensues, do you keep walking hoping that there will be some little side street that will put you back on the right path? You're hardly just going to turn around and look like a fool now are you? Everyone is judging you. All the time...

It's time for the classic phone trick, 'oh look I have just received a text from my dear old friend who has changed the plans on where we should meet, I better turn around and go find her.' You have a look on your face which makes passersby think that she is the idiot and not you. This is all necessary of course because everyone on shopstreet is fascinated by these turn of events. Possibility for embarrassment avoided. You old pro you.

4) Emotion

It doesn't matter if the person is delighted to see you or if they're drowning in a pool of their own tears. You find any form of emotion incredibly hard to bare. Any human contact makes your skin crawl? They are hugging me so should I hug them back? One arm or two? Do I pat their back? If they're crying do I try to console them and if so, goddammit how?


5) The Creep

Now this can happen especially if you're a boy. A girl can make herself come across as cute and awkward by putting a bow in her hair. A boy just comes across as being creepy. On paper you're completely normal but in reality you have this strange humpback stance. You hate when people hear you speak so you speak softly but that makes it even worse. You look like one of those strange people  who goes to a Saturday matinee in the cinema... without any children.

6) Smiling

Once you know you're socially awkward you try your hardest not to be. For some reason you think that by smiling you will look normal. Yes everyone loves a smile thrown in their direction but when you're smiling 95% of the time, it doesn't have this desired affect.


7) Handshake/Hug Dilemna

You're in the pub with your friends. You've had a few drinks and you're feeling somewhat less inhibited. All of a sudden your good friend Mike walks in the door.It's Mike! You haven't seen each other in ages! It doesn't matter that you're only really acquaintances on Facebook and you're only really friends to begin with because you have the same mutual friend. You stand up ready to greet him with your new found confidence. 'MIKE!' You go in for a hug, Mike on the other hand goes in for a handshake. You are mortified. You try and spin it off as a half hand shake/hug kind of thing. A manly embrace if you will. Everyone has seen what has just happened. You sit back down and let this fester in your head all night long. It's cool though you've got a back up plan. You'll just never go out for drinks ever again. Simples.

8) Fear Of Saying No

So you're in a conversation with a group of people and you have no knowledge of what they're talking about so you simply smile and nod when it seems appropriate. You're quite happy to just simply be in the presence of them without anyone asking you something. All of sudden one of your comrades turns around and asks you your opinion. Instead of simply saying that you don't really have any knowledge on the subject, you just sit there, that stupid smile stapled to your face. You nod and let off this strange high pitched giggle, your face is now going all the various shades of red. You're sweating like Eminem did during his first rap battle. You just hope mom's spaghetti doesn't make a repeat performance.


9) Facebook Friends

Facebook is like your little haven. You can be yourself in a social form that's open to millions of people. That makes sense now doesn't it? You can put up whatever witty meme or status you like and you will recieve praise in the form of likes. Even if people don' find it funny it's grand because there is no dislike button!

10) Small Talk

Small talk is the Awkward person's worst enemy. You're on your way to work and you get to that awkward moment of passing out someone but you're still at that stage where they're right beside you. Then you realise that it's actually someone from the office. You've seen them, they've seen you. You can't keep trying to over take them so you get into stride alongside them and try to think of something to say. The weather can probably get you about two minutes of chit chat but who wants to be known as the weather guy? You don't know enough about their family to ask anything so you just awkwardly smile and grumble something about how you hear they're getting a new water fountain at work. Riveting stuff.


11) Eye Contact

What's worse then small talk? Well it would be the long debated question of how long are you supposed to maintain eye contact for. You know they're talking to you, you're trying to show that you are interested in what they're saying but staring at the wall directly behind them isn't really doing the trick. You take the risk and go for it. You're locked on and now you're so engrossed in what you should be doing apart from keeping eye contact that you have completely lost track in what the person was saying and now they're wondering should they call you an ambulance because you are clearly on something.

12) Jokes

See, you're funny on Facebook because you have time to formulate what you're saying, you can check and recheck your spelling and punctuation before you hit share. When you're trying to improvise you are a car crash waiting to happen. It is either highly inappropriate or you've lost your confidence half way through so you just grumble the punch line or else you have forgotten the punch line completely and panic sets in once again.  They're staring at you, what ya gonna do? Self destruct in 3, 2, 1...


Bronagh Flynn
Article written by
An English major in the University of Limerick. This country bumpkin may claim she spends her days reading 'War and Peace', contemplating life when in fact she is re-watching episodes of Girls in her quest to becoming a somewhat respectable member of society. An old man at heart, she loves a whiskey on the rocks and over packed clubs give her nightmares.

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