(Before I begin, I want to apologize for missing a whole week of blogs! I never said anything, but I was trying to keep to a schedule of Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, but that just didn’t happen this week. That’s all. Enjoy!)
Yes, I’m talking about me. Surprise, surprise! If you were around the internet circa 2011-ish, you’re probably aware of memes such as Bad Luck Brian, Over Attached Girlfriend, Successful Black Man, and Socially Awkward Penguin. I am Socially Awkward Penguin.
Here’s an example of one that I do all the time:
I just don’t always know how to respond to people sometimes. Its not that I didn’t enjoy meeting you, because I likely did. What am I supposed to say though? “Nice meeting you too!”? That just sounds so fake and forced to me, so I’m left with the ever so awkward, “Yep!” (I feel like I should talk about how the word “yep” is awkward in and of itself, but I’ll leave that for another time.) Here is another somewhat related example:
This is my life! I’m always mulling over what I could, or should have said in a situation to make it less awkward. Only on occasion are my witty comments on time, and then this happens:
Talk about the most relatable meme I’ve ever seen! Whenever I do have something intelligent to add to a conversation, nobody listens to me.
So what does this have to do with also being an extrovert? A lot. Socially awkward extrovert used to sound like an oxymoron to me. Before I learned what it actually means to be an extrovert, as opposed to a stereotypical extrovert. In case you don’t know, I’ll enlighten you. Stereotypically, extroverts are loud, outgoing, and the life of the party! While stereotypical, they can be true. Where do you think stereotypes come from anyway? One of the actual traits of an extrovert includes being energized just by being around large groups of people. You can love being around people and still be socially awkward!
Because of my social awkwardness, I’m often perceived as being introverted. Depending on how you know me, you probably see me as either a definite extrovert, or a definite introvert. If you’re family, or someone I haven’t spent a lot of time with, you’d probably say I’m introverted. On the other hand, if you’re a close friend that I’ve spent lots of time with, you likely view me as the extrovert that I am. The reason? I’m so much less awkward around people that I know really well! (The exception to this is the people I met while on a YE team, because it was my job to get to know them.)
Why am I writing about this? It sucks! I mean seriously, I want to be around people and spend time with them, but half the time I can’t even produce any intelligent sounding sentences. Most people prefer to surround themselves with interesting people, but its hard to be interesting when you’re plagued with social awkwardness. It really is a curse that many people suffer from!
In dealing with this my whole life, I’ve come up with some ways to spend time with people while not being completely awkward. Sports are a great option because you’re concentrating on what you’re doing while still enjoying, hopefully, each others company. Whether playing a team sport with a large group, or something one on one like tennis, it fills my extroverted needs of being with people while eliminating the social stress of conversation. Always having background music is a staple of my life. If there’s ever a lull in conversation, I can either start jamming out to the song that’s on or it will spark another subject to talk about. You can also just bust up some silly dance moves, which brings me to one of my favourite activities, dancing. Dancing is especially great for socially awkward extroverts because like sports, it lets you concentrate on something else. It also requires music and if you’re feeling comfortable, especially in partner dances such as swing, you can hold a conversation at the same time! Plus its fun!
So there you have it folks! The life of a socially awkward extrovert. Hopefully my 3am writing is coherent because I don’t really feel like editing today! =)