Socially awkward people: there's really no one quite like us. We're not necessarily introverts, just a small group of millions of regular people, introverted and extroverted, who aren't exactly good with, well, other people. While we mean well, we tend to not pick up on certain social cues, or even enjoy a lot of social norms. In fact, being confronted with some of these cues and norms may even terrify us.
As we navigate this weird socialized world in an attempt to feel "normal," we still tend to ask ourselves, "why on earth am I like this?" Although, science offers no real explanation other than the response that we were just born this way, there are some memes out there on the internet that are sort of creepily accurate in summing up just how living as a generally socially awkward person really is.
Do you dread large social gatherings? Does small talk seem incredibly unnatural to you? Are you convinced that you come off as incredibly annoying or incredibly b*tchy to others, even if others think you are nice? If you answered "yes" to any of the above, then you'll find the list below all too relatable.
15 When you have to make the first move
If you consider yourself socially awkward, then you definitely know the struggle of making close friends. You may become familiar with a few acquaintances relatively easily when put in an arranged setting, but taking those friendships to the next level is way more stressful since putting yourself out there is kind of the most frightening thing ever. Even if you love being around people, the actual act of going up to someone and finding something you have in common with them seems so much nicer as only an idea in your head. Then after that, in the modern day, there's the expectation to exchange contact information once you reach a certain point, and the dreaded "who's gonna text first?" thought arises. While us, socially awkward people, probably won't die alone as the comic implies, it sure does feel like it when we almost pee ourselves every time we realize we should probably "get out there" and make some friends.
14 When there's even a tiny possibility for self-doubt
So obviously the majority of us, of the socially awkward class, actually do have at least one friend, and that friend (or friends) probably appreciates us very much. Only thing is, we don't believe them... ever. Because it's so hard for us to make friends to begin with, I feel like we're just so shocked that we somehow succeeded at making even a few friends that we've convinced ourselves. Even being invited places feels surreal when we finally find some true friends because we're just so used to being the one in the friend group who gets left out.
With this mindset, even the tiniest thing can make us doubt the entire structure of our friendships. For example, in this admittedly outdated meme which perfectly captures a socially awkward person's thought process when we get something cryptic like a one worded reply. It's really not that cryptic when it's coming from someone we know is our friend, rather than, say, some random Tinder match, but it's difficult not to overreact when losing this friend over something dumb would mean having to venture out once again into the dreaded realm of friend making.
13 When successfully flirting is actually a huge victory
Even if we're totally self-confident and always owning it (as we should be), the act of willfully trying to get someone to be attracted to us is like the Everest of a socially awkward person's life. The exchange is accompanied by a lot of awkward pauses, accidental cut-offs, talking too fast, and, of course, stuttering. One second, we know exactly what we want to say, and the next, we're wishing we had never opened our mouth to speak – that's just the circle of life. However, it does lead to a pretty satisfying sense of gratification when we actually successfully make it through a flirting venture without stuttering, which definitely makes that feat worthy of the "flirtee" in question "remembering the name."
12 When you're at a friend's place and accidentally refuse water
We've all experienced it. You're at a friend's place and almost as soon as you get there, one of your friends (or their parents/partners) asks, "Would you like some water?" To which you reply, "Oh no I'm fine," because who wants to risk being an inconvenience, right? Except in mere minutes, you're not fine. You're casually chatting with your friend about how their family just adopted a new dog or how their recent vacation went, but any interest or impression is completely synthesized because all you can think of is, "I need water!"
Not unlike the episode of Spongebob that the meme is based on, your mouth slowly starts to dry up as you continue to talk as if nothing is wrong. Because you've already rejected the kind gesture of water, you must suffer and accept the consequence! A different person may speak up and say, "You know what, I would actually love some water, thank you," but in all honesty you'll probably let that thirst go unquenched until you're offered again in an hour or so.
11 When you make a small mistake and it feels like the end of the world
It seems every moment of a socially awkward person's life has the potential to result in a reaction like Hagrid's. We are constantly worrying about saying the wrong thing, and when we do end up in such a terrible situation, it's pretty much like we've accidentally revealed a really really big, dark secret that has been going on at Hogwarts. Maybe the cashier asks, "For here or to go?" and you accidentally respond with, "Yes." Maybe you say, "You too," after someone wishes you a happy birthday, even though the person's birthday was months ago. Suddenly you're having this out of body experience, watching yourself melt into a pile of agony and regret, but there's nothing you can do anymore. You made a mistake, it happens. And yeah, of course, it isn't going to kill you, but man does it ever hurt internally.
10 When anyone but a close friend or family member "gets physical"
Expressing affection is one thing. If we see a friend or family member for the first time in a long time, of course we're not going to reject a hug. I mean, we're not complete emotionless robots after all. If a person we've only met a select amount of times, on the other hand, comes barreling toward us with their arms spread, ready for a firm embrace, then yeah, you can sure as hell expect us to react like my friend, Benedict Cumberbatch, here. A hug is just way too much physical contact for someone who barely even likes social situations, period. The other person's face is alarmingly close to our own, their hands could roam anywhere at any given second, and we can't even see their face and try to assume what they're thinking. In short, it's pretty much our worst nightmare.
9 When you're forced to play getting-to-know-you games
Oh god, I can't even begin to describe how much getting-to-know-you games or ice-breakers or whatever you want to call it stresses me out. Being socially awkward, it's like this weight that's pressing down on you until the circle finally comes around to you and you just deflate completely. During the entire stress-inducing duration of the other people in the circle going around and completing whatever activity has been put forth, you either plan out every detail of what you're going to say or do, or you decide that it's lame to do that because no one else seems to be thinking about it, and wait until your turn, only to get completely stuck and only be able to provide a look of panic and a few stuttered words.
No matter your decision, you end up hating yourself at the end, and for what? To play two truths in a lie and not even really listen to what anyone else is saying because you're too busy overthinking? Rocket has a point: getting-to-know-you games really are meant to make us look like jackasses.
8 When you're anything but "turnt" at the club
Maybe not every socially awkward person hates clubs, especially if we're going with our best friends, but clubs definitely make us uncomfortable. It's hard enough to interact with one person at a time, and now we're being forced to collectively interact with at least a hundred people in a very tight space. Not only that, but we have to be mindful of trying to look good, and if our friend has decided to drag us because they want to meet someone, we're probably going to have to be a buffer until they find what they're looking for.
Meanwhile, we probably won't be attracting anyone because the clear self-consciousness on our faces and our awkward dance moves aren't exactly our most attractive features, either. Much like Thomas Sanders backing out of confidently finishing describing what big thing he has, we may often outwardly act confident, but most likely be dying on the inside. The only situation we feel comfortable in, or at least in my case, is when we go with a group of close friends and vow to stick together. This is especially fun if one of our friends isn't afraid to fend off grabby passersby.
7 When you have to partake in small talk
Oh, small talk, how we loathe you so. Whether it's a first date, a meeting with the parent of a friend, or a conversation with an acquaintance at a party, it's kind of inevitable. But just because it's inevitable, and that it happens often, certainly does not mean we've gotten any better at it. It proves extremely difficult to pick up on a person's interests and actually get an interesting conversation going that you wouldn't mind partaking in. Instead, the stereotype becomes true: we usually start talking about the weather, or something equally uninteresting, yet easy to make vague comments on. In these kinds of situations, I'm sure we all wish we were like the lovely blonde queen of awkwardness herself, Amy Raudenfeld, and had an outgoing friend right around the corner to save us from our misery.
6 When you have to make a phone call to anyone but your mother
Why must people insist on still using phones to make calls in this day and age? It's bad enough to have to text someone first, or email them, but a phone call just leaves so much more room for awkwardness. Our voice could come off weird, we could stutter like we always do, we could accidentally call the wrong person, and all the while we can't even see the other person's face for reassurance.
If it's someone we really know, then it's easier, especially if our conversations usually go the same. We call our mother and the conversation is almost always along the lines of "yep, washed my dishes... yep, I'm eating well... yeah, I can do that... no, I don't need a Slapchop... yes, I'm sure... love you too, bye." Yeah, it's that simple.
Calling someone else, however, is a different story. We don't know what turn the conversation is going to take, we might not even know their rhythm of speech if we've never spoken to them before, and end up cutting them off by accident. The bee's inadvertent terminal effect on the world might not even be an exaggeration in this situation, because, all in all, calling people genuinely sucks.
5 When you don't have an eternity to make friends
As previously mentioned, we're not exactly the best at making new friends, but given a solid period of time, we can usually scrounge up at least one friend. That's kind of why going places without people we know for short periods of time is a bit of a nightmare.
For one thing, summer camps were immensely trying on our energy, as the entire vibe of summer camps is essentially pushing you toward making new friends. That doesn't stop us though. We would gladly hang around the counselors or inside our cabin until (hopefully) one day, someone came up to us to give us a compliment or our bunk-mate just happened to be exactly like us.
I recently noticed that even after growing up, I've made most of my friends in the exact same way: either by coincidence or through my roommate/friend. There's nothing wrong with that, because I really do love my friends, but it just takes me – and most likely the majority of other socially awkward people – a good bit of time and/or luck to meet someone we truly bond with.
4 When you have to make an important judgement call
While we usually develop our own brand of sarcasm as a sort of defense mechanism, we can still have a bit of difficulty when other people use it. There's the certain voice people use when they're being blatantly sarcastic, but then there's the other type... the sneaky type. The type when a person looks at you dead in the eyes and says something without even a hint of a smile, that's intended to make you feel a little bad for a few seconds when you fail to realize it's sarcasm. This kind of sarcasm is honestly horrifying. No one wants to hurt anyone's feelings, and they also don't want to be called out for being so thick they can't even recognize when someone is being sarcastic. Sarcasm is great, don't get me wrong, but it becomes one stressful trip as soon as someone whips their head around to deliver a very heavily disguised dose of it.
3 When you're stuck at a standstill
As I said before, some socially awkward people are, in fact, extroverts. Just because they're not exactly good at socializing doesn't mean they hate other people. Hell, even the more introverted ones don't hate other people, that's such a strong word to begin with. As a whole, us socially awkward people do enjoy occasionally going out and trying to meet people, it's just that the whole time we do engage in this activity we're quietly panicking inside. Yet we do it anyway because even we know it's just not healthy, mentally or physically, to do nothing but sit alone at our computer for days and days on end. Our ideal situation really, when we do decide we'd like some social interaction, is having a few good friends over, just for that nice does of human conversation we occasionally crave.
2 When you're confronted with dealing with people's emotions
As we're not affectionate people, we're also not the most empathetic people either. While we can theoretically understand why a person is sad, it's a little difficult to helpful when they actually end up breaking down in tears. A crying person to a socially awkward type is like a computer to a dog: we have no idea what we're supposed to do with it. Of course we want to be there for whoever is crying, and can maybe dole out some useful advice in the midst of it all, we don't exactly know how to stop that person from crying for good. Evidently taking Liz Lemon's approach and not even forming proper sentences is not the best, but hey at least it's something. In reality, a person crying usually doesn't need you there to stop them from crying, they just want someone there to pat their back while they do (and I think we can at least do that).
1 When you accept you're awesome as you are
All these memes are totally relatable, and even the most cringe-worthy ones are probably not of unknown subject matter to anyone socially awkward, but the thing is, that's okay. We may not put ourselves out there as often, or successfully engage in conversations all the time, but anyone who really knows us knows our social awkwardness really is a super power. Because we have such difficulty making friends, our actual friends already know how much we care about them, without needing us to awkwardly address our own emotions. Maybe some things like phone calls are less positive hurdles, but every time we do overcome those hurdles, we become stronger as people, while still keeping in touch with who we are. It may be annoying at times, but to sum up, being socially awkward makes for some pretty cool and unique people, and some pretty funny anecdotes too at the end of it all.