According to the web, something taboo is anything “proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable,” and when thinking of blog topics for this narrowly-titled day of the week, I decided that social awkwardness fits here, and social awkwardness is definitely something I understand.
I’m sure we’re all familiar with the socially awkward penguin meme, which sums up how anxious, shy, people-hating, nervous, introverted people feel, such as:
In this brief, unpopular blog, though, I hope to convince readers that being “awkward” in social situations may not be as taboo as we’re told. Brain farts, intimidating people, chaotic crowds, and pressure are all pretty common things, and experiencing them can normally and understandably lead to awkwardness.
So while I’m obviously on the penguin’s side, I do seem to regularly ask myself why I respond and react the way I do sometimes. Being nervous before an interview or standing alone, idly, waiting for your friend to show up to Starbucks…I feel those are more relateable to people.
Running into an old colleague or professor at the mall, however, for me, always turns into a sweaty dread, which does not really make sense. They’re people, just like me, and I know our run-in will only consist of the short little, “So what are you up to now?” thing. My brain likes to take imaginary ideas and run with them, though, so I always fear the convo will keep stalling on awkwardly: neither person is comfortable enough to dig deeper into talking, and both people realize there’d be no reason to, yet still stand there, waiting and urging or sweating.
So how do social awks deal? Perhaps we should just lock ourselves in our rooms, only coming out when absolutely necessary and avoiding as much contact as possible when we do. Some introverts turn to alcohol (or Red Bull or crack or whatever it takes) to lift their spirits and give them the confidence to survive. Speaking of confidence, on a more serious note, others find it necessary to talk their feelings out to a counselor, determining what the cause of shyness is. Another popular theory is to “fake it ’til you make it,” which honestly is sometimes all you can do, given the people you’re around and the situations thrown at you.
As for me, I constantly must remind myself how adventurous, beautiful, and creative I am and how others’ thoughts and opinions should not and cannot control how I act, what I say, or who I am. And this is the advice I want to pass on to you, you brilliant soul, you! Be who you are, because “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” (Bernard Baruch).