I wouldn’t consider myself to be a very jealous person, but I’ve always been envious of people who were “as cool as a cucumber” in life. It’s a silly saying, but I wish I had the capacity to be calm and to go with the flow in every situation. When I’m with my friends I’m completely fine, but people who either intimidate me or I barely know turn me into this socially awkward freak of nature. Don’t even get me started on public speaking, since it’s one of my top fears along with spiders and drowning. I know this is why a lot of people drink, but you can’t have a glass of beer or wine everywhere you go, or else you might have a more serious problem.
I Don’t Know How to Make Eye Contact
The struggle is real for me when it comes to making eye contact! Something about staring into the eyes of someone makes me super uncomfortable. It feels like they’re staring into the depths of my soul, and I don’t even know what the depths of my soul look like. I can literally have a conversation with you while staring at an inanimate object nearby. When my boyfriend and I were first dating he used to ask me, “Why do you never look at me when you talk to me?” At that point I knew I had to change some things.
Having a career in media, I have been trying to make a conscious effort to improve my eye contact with people, but it’s hard! There is a fine line between making eye contact and staring people down. Now I feel like I’m making too much eye contact when I talk to people. Then my eyes start to water, which results in me blinking like there’s no tomorrow. Maybe one of these days I’ll master this trivial weakness.
My Nervous Laughter Kicks In
I laugh a lot, but nothing is worse than nervous laughter. I will throw in a cheesy little laugh after almost everything I say when I’m feeling uncomfortable. It either a.) makes me look really nervous, b.) makes me look like a well-functioning drug addict, or c.) makes me look like the most insensitive person ever.
I don’t know if I will ever be able to change this, but I am definitely not proud of it. I’ll never forget the time in elementary school when another little girl told me her pet bunny Snowball died, and I nervous laughed. It was terrible and it made me look like an insensitive jerk, when all I really wanted to say was “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
My Mouth Starts Doing Weird Things
I never thought I would be publicizing this on the Internet, but I have a large tongue. It’s short, but it’s wide enough that it takes up the entire space of my mouth. When I get nervous, my mouth tends to get really dry and I in a sense “trip” over my own tongue. Consequently, I will slightly stutter and have to re-pronounce words that I have known since I was a young child. Nothing is more frustrating when you can’t say a word out loud that you know perfectly in your head.
Also, my lips will get extremely chapped. This leads to me clenching my lips together mid-conversation. God only knows what the other person in the conversation is thinking when I do this. It’s moments like these ones that make me want to run and hide.
I Will Not Shut Up for the Life of Me
From what I’ve heard, this is a much more common problem out there. A little voice in my head tells me that I have to carry on the conversation, even when it completely isn’t necessary. No one should ever have to feel like a conversation conductor, but in reality we all do at times.
I’ve actually caught myself repeating the same sentence 2-3 times in a row. I’ll say each sentence more emphasized than the last, but it’s still the same stupid sentence. I have to question myself, “Haley, are you really this desperate to keep this painful conversation going?”
Oh, and I Can’t Forget About My Clumsiness
When I say I’m clumsy, I don’t mean that I fall over a lot. I’m clumsy in the sense that I run into things and constantly knock stuff over. I don’t know why, but when I’m out of my element I tend to lose my sense of perception. My nerves will get the best of me and I’m physically all over the place.
Sometimes we all have to take a deep breath and realize that there’s no need to be nervous. Unfortunately, this is harder for some than others. In the last year or two, I’ve had to speak in public several times and go on a couple different interviews (whether it was for work or I was interviewing someone as part of an assignment). I believe each of these experiences has helped me better myself, but I still struggle with my social awkwardness on a daily basis.
Infographic of the Week:
Question of the Week:
What situations make you feel socially awkward?