I’m Awkwarder than You

I have been having the most awkward conversations lately. It seems like every conversation I have taken part in over this past week has been extremely awkward. Like, bordering painful.

This morning, for example, I was walking through the hall of the English department on campus and I noticed that the professor who left the message about my small fortune’s door was open and he was sitting there at his desk, so I just popped my head in and said this:

Hi, Dr. So-and-so. I just wanted to thank you for your nice message you left the other day.

He looked at me blankly, so I figured he must’ve forgotten me from the class I took with him a couple of semesters ago.

I’m Camille, I said. I won third prize in the writing contest?

Oh, yes, he said, well you’re welcome.

And then he just kept looking at me and I sort of panicked. I didn’t know what else to say besides thank you, and I had already said that, but I had his attention so it would be weird just to end it there. I stammered around for a few more excruciating moments, mumbling something about how his message had made my day, said thanks again, etc., and then just sort of shrank out of bounds from his door frame.

It was just bad in an all-around way.

And but see the reason I know it’s me with the problem instead of Everyone Else is that I am the person all of my conversation partners have in common—I am the one being awkward, the lowest common denominator. I don’t see them going around talking awkwardly to each other. Everybody else is totally normal and cool. I am the weird one.

I don’t know what my problem is.

Yes I do: I’m socially backward, a little bit.

I get too used to communicating virtually, too used to hitting the delete button when my thoughts don’t come out right, and I forget that things just don’t work that way in real life. I’m all the time starting sentences and then stopping them mid-speech, correcting my words, qualifying my sentiments. I can see people’s eyes glaze over after a few minutes of talking to me.

I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t want to talk to me, either.

I think what I need is some kind of intensive month-long program where electronic devices of any type are strictly prohibited, where I spend hours every day re-learning the fine art of when, where, and exactly how to drop appropriate jokes, and graceful ways to end a conversation without making excuses like, “Well, it’s been nice talking to you but now I have to go soak my cankles, it’s really quite urgent,” or just hovering around awkwardly waiting for the other person to go away.

I need social rehab.

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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6 Responses to I’m Awkwarder than You

  1. Kristen says:

    May I join you at this social rehab center or would that be too awkward? Sincerely, I so get what you are talking about it’s not even funny.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh, Mill, I’m sorry. I hate that feeling. I try to avoid it at all costs by just not leaving my house. But then when I actually go places it’s really bad. I agree; there should be some sort of social awkward rehab place. I would totally join you. Wait until you’re a mom and all you do is watch Leap Frog (Tad) and play Play-Doh. You’ll forget how to speak to other grown-ups (as I find myself referring to them) real fast.

  3. Maureen says:

    Conversations like that are one of the main reasons I avoid talking to people altogether.

  4. jami says:

    I have never felt awkward around you? Perhaphs you feel awkward around me?

  5. I love how you stated, “I am the person all of my conversation partners have in common—I am the one being awkward, the lowest common denominator”. This thought struck a chord with me. So true.

    -C

  6. TeamHaynes says:

    I had to think about this for a while. Am I socially awkward too?
    The answer is actually no. I’m a complete social butterfly. I love meeting new people, I usually say things to get to know them better, and I’ve found people enjoy me. Being the host of the party is just who I am and I really enjoy it.
    I think you are just an introvert. I don’t understand it being the social butterfly that I am, but I have come to appreciate people like you. You may not say the most perfect things in the moment under pressure, but you blog about it later in better ways than it could have happened in the moment. Your gifts are in your writing, and your words come after you have a chance to think of them. Don’t be too hard on yourself, I find it more entertaining anyway.

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