Hi, my name is Indy (or close enough), and I’m socially awkward. When I was a kid this caused me a lot of worry. I worried that I couldn’t make small talk with people, call people on the telephone, or talk to people I didn’t know. Age and years of working retail has given me a friendly demeanor that I rely on to get me through social situations. If someone starts a conversation, I can usually help keep it going.

Yesterday I went to a social function for my part-time job. It involved a lot of the higher-ups and people I don’t know. And so I clutched my glass of beer and stuck with the people I knew. I joked with a few people. I exchanged pleasantries with my boss’s boss. I caught up with a former colleague, and hugged the lady who was retiring. Finally I sat at the table with some of my colleagues, making polite conversation, until I finally gave up and turned to one of my colleagues to talk about writing.

I warmed right up. There was no relying on awkward jokes; I had ideas, opinions, questions, conversations on conversations. My colleague, who had also been sitting there awkwardly, warmed right up too. Clearly I need to do nothing but talk about writing for the rest of my life.

I’m taking care of a lab puppy. He’s a maniac, but lovable. At the park, he tore off and said hi to a group of dogs. The humans stood around talking. I’m bad with faces, but recognized a few of the dogs. I’ve been coming to this park with my dog for two years. While the dogs sniffed each other’s butts, the humans couldn’t be bothered to say hi to me. One woman commented on the weather, and I said something about the sun, and there was no response.

I walked away puzzled. I understand regional reserve. But to not manage a simple “Hi, how are you?” Fuck that. At least I wasn’t trying to sniff their private parts. I hope the lab shook on them.

C’mon, cheer me up, tell me your stories of social awkwardness.


7 responses to “Awkward

  1. Here’s an exercise for the socially awkward (that includes me): Walk in to the [social event, pub, whatever] head high, shoulders square, and look around and check out who’s looking at you. You’re entitled to look back. Even to smile if you feel like it. After all, they were the ones who looked first.

    Try it some time. It helps you to get in the room.

  2. Dog people always know the dogs’ names, and they never ever know the names of the people. I see people out and about and they say, Hey, you’re JoJo’s mom!

    Dog people.

  3. The other day at work I was speaking with my boss (this was at my newer job) about the re-contracting we’re doing right now with several of our funders. She was saying how she had finally slept (she’s a night owl) and thought we might be close to finished. Due to the fact that I’d earlier that morning purchased a large iced coffee and guzzled it down within an hour, I was wired. After she said we were almost done with the project, I fist-pumped and said “WOO!” far louder than I intended… if I even intended to do that in the first place. She kept talking as if it hadn’t happened and I stood there half listening and half thinking, what the fuck was that?!

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