What is the Meaning of Socially Awkward? | Symptoms, Causes, and Examples
Most of us have felt social awkwardness, making it more difficult to unwind and start engaging with others. We all have awkward moments, but many people can deal with them daily. Those of us who have ongoing difficulties socializing with others, on the other hand, frequently struggle with anxiety, low self-esteem, feelings of failure, and self-doubt.
People who work with social awkwardness often feel they never know what to say, when to say it, how and where to say it, when to stop talking, and how to engage others in conversation appropriately. In addition, socially awkward people are constantly concerned about how others perceive them, i.e., do they arrive across as weird, strange, etc.
If we continue to ignore such situations, we will most likely prolong the emotions that result, and we will try to figure out what went wrong. But, most of the time, this will be a waste of time because every situation is unique, and just because we managed to figure out what went wrong the last time does not mean we can do it again.
What Exactly Is Social Awkwardness?
According to researcher Joshua Clegg, social awkwardness is the feeling we have when we believe our desire to be acknowledged by others is attacked in a given situation. This emotion causes us to turn in on itself, boost our self-monitoring, and try to behave in ways that will increase our chances of acceptance.
Symptoms of Social Anxiety
Many people explain why people who are continuously socially awkward share certain characteristics. Socially awkward individuals:
- Failure to recognize minor social norms
- Routine social situations are difficult for you to navigate.
- Can have unusually obsessive concentration, especially on rule-governed topics such as logic or mathematics.
- Frequently demonstrate enthusiasm for disassembling things, studying the components, and then meticulously reassembling the parts differently.
- When it comes to the social graces, they are less intuitive.
While social awkwardness can be uncomfortable, Tashiro explains that it is not always a bad thing. For example, certain skills in systematic thinking come with increased intensity of focus. In addition, socially inept people frequently excel in specialized fields, bringing a new view to one‘s work and lives.
Another characteristic of social weirdness is frequently misdiagnosed as other personality characteristics or mental conditions. Understanding these distinctions is critical to ensuring that individuals receive the support and understanding required to thrive.
Social Awkwardness vs Social Anxiety
While social awkwardness describes a different way of being in the world, anxiety is a medical condition that causes significant social impairment. The Social Anxiety Institute defines social anxiety disorder as “an intense, recurring level of distress stress in social situations.”
- Introducing yourself to others
- sarcasm or criticism
- Being the focus of attention
- Being observed while performing a task
- Meeting with authorities
- Social interactions, particularly with people they don’t know
- Even in small groups, public speaking is required.
- Relationships between people
Social Awkwardness vs Introversion
Social awkwardness and introversion are two personality traits that can be confused. Introversion and extraversion, first mentioned by psychoanalyst Carl Jung, are opposing psychological desires that describe how people focus and assemble their energy, according to the Myers & Briggs Foundation. While extroverts concentrate on the outside world, introverts focus on the inside.
Introverted people are frequently perceived as “reflective” or “reserved.” They get their confidence to interact with their thoughts and ideas, and they often pause to reflect before acting. They certainly like to know just a few people well rather than a large group of people, and they are generally content to be alone.
According to Ellen Hendriksen of Quiet Revolution, social awkwardness, like social ineptitude, is a Character Trait rather than a disability.
Autism vs. Social Anxiety
Autism is another condition that is frequently confused with social awkwardness, though the two diseases do share some similarities. Those with autism, like someone socially awkward, have difficulties comprehending social norms, may struggle to traverse social situations successfully, and may exhibit unusually obsessive concentration on certain subjects.
Autism, on the other hand, is a broad disorder with a wide range of symptoms. Additional SIGNS OF AUTISM, according to the National Autism Association, may include:
- Difficulty controlling one’s emotions
- Avoiding direct eye contact, particularly when young
- Repetitive actions
- avoiding or resisting bodily contact
- Problems with communication
- Being bothered by minor changes
- exhibiting extreme sensitivity to stimuli
What exactly does this mean to be socially awkward?
If we are socially inept, we have difficulty communicating with others, particularly in social situations. Large numbers of people or social gatherings almost become inconceivable for us to handle, and as a result, our life experience may be limited.
It also implies that we have limited interpersonal skills, that we say or do embarrassing things when we’re nervous, and that we frequently put ourselves in unpleasant situations when stressed.
We may incorrectly perceive ourselves as shy when, in fact, we are socially awkward — the two are very similar.
What impact does it have on our daily lives?
When we are socially inept, we frequently believe that we have major problems with small talk. But unfortunately, because we’ve become so used to chatting through new tech as much, if not more often, than speaking head, it’s common to feel socially awkward even when using modern technology.
It is common to feel socially awkward, but this does not always indicate that we have a social anxiety disorder. However, it can be beneficial to consider what we’re doing to avoid awkward situations if they prevent us all from living our best lives.
If we frequently find ourselves in awkward situations, it’s easy to avoid social problems for fear of embarrassment. However, if we continue to avoid our fears, we will never be able to overcome them.
When we find ourselves in an odd spot, we have two choices for how to react: We can either dismiss it and ignore the situation, or we can confront it head-on.