If social interactions don’t go for you as well as you would like and you sometimes tend to put your foot in your mouth during conversations, you may be asking yourself: “Am I socially awkward?”
Drawing from my experience as a social confidence coach, I want to explain the characteristics of socially awkward people and help you comprehend if you are socially awkward or not, as well as show you what to do about it.
The Profile of Socially Awkward People
Socially awkward persons possess a set of distinctive traits. The more of these traits you have and the larger their degree, the higher on the social awkwardness scale you’re likely to be. Here they are:
1. Feeling nervous in social settings. The typical socially awkward person doesn’t feel comfortable in social situations. They are anxiety producing.
This is one of the main factors that often make them behave in weird ways around other people. Nervousness leads to a creepy demeanor, and realizing that your demeanor is creepy creates even more nervousness, so we have an ongoing negative cycle.
2. Not understanding social norms. Often when I talk with a socially awkward person, they tell me they often don’t know what’s appropriate for them to do and what’s not in a social situation.
They don’t know how is it OK to start a conversation, what conversation topics is it best to talk about and when, or what is it suited to joke about and what is it not. Obviously, this lack of understanding can lead to either weird or shy behavior.
3. Often having a different impact than intended. It’s common for socially awkward people to joke about something and others to find the joke uncalled for, or to try and give a compliment, only for it to come off in a distasteful way.
In other words, they intend to generate one result, and they end up generating a totally different one. This mismatch is a sign of a deficiency of social calibration.
4. The lack of conversation flow. Everybody has conversations that don’t flow, have awkward silences or end abruptly. But for socially awkward people, this is the rule, not the exception.
Their conversations are habitually like a rough wagon ride on a bumpy country road.
5. Frequently being avoided or ridiculed by others. If others actively try to dodge interactions with you, or they often mock you during them, they probably see you as the weird person in the group.
And if they see you this way, it can be a sign that your social behavior is awkward and makes it easy to attract the derision of others.
6. The lack of meaningful connections with others. Since they struggle with making conversation, feeling at ease around others and expressing themselves effectively, socially awkward people typically lack strong connections with others.
They generally have few friends, if any, and a very small social circle. They spend a lot of time alone and to say their social life is less than fulfilling is an understatement.
OK. These are the 6 distinctive traits of socially awkward individuals. Taking them into consideration, this is a good moment to ask yourself again “Am I socially awkward?”
If The Conclusion Is “I Am Socially Awkward”
If the conclusion of this self-assessment is that you are socially awkward, this is likely an issue with a visible negative impact on your life. You could have much better relationships and be a lot happier if you deal with this effectively. I have three essential pieces of advice I can offer you.
The first and most important is to develop your social confidence. To a very large extent, social awkwardness is produced by shyness and anxiety in social settings.
When you’re anxious, you can’t think straight, you stumble, bumble and fumble around, and thus you embarrass yourself. Work on improving your social confidence, and I promise you that most of this will take care of itself.
Check out this free presentation I’ve created to learn how to eliminate anxiety and boost your social confidence.
The second advice is to learn the basic social norms. The basic principles of social interactions can be learned from books, courses or socially savvy people. Knowing them and applying them will aid you adjust your social behavior to the situation.
However, beyond the basic principles, everything else can only be learned through experience. No other person can tell you exactly what to do and say during a social interaction.
This is why the third advice is to gain lots of experience interacting with others. Meet new people, make conversation, experiment, notice the results and fine-tune your behavior accordingly.
In time, this real-life social experience will transform you from socially awkward to socially intelligent. And of course, a huge part of the nerve to do all this socializing comes, again, from developing your social confidence.
If you want to discover exactly how you can do this, make sure you watch my social confidence presentation.
Fortunately, overcoming social awkwardness is absolutely possible, no matter who you are. You can become a socially calibrated person who makes conversation effortlessly, has awesome friends and enjoys a great social life.
The key is to use focus on achieving this with determination, seek the best advice available and implement it.
Image courtesy of DaveAustria.com