“You are so awkward!” A crippling statement that isn’t true…..
“You’re so awkward”; a crippling phrase. This word, awkward, has become increasingly popular. It’s thrown around loosely and without much thought. However, this needs to change. Being labeled as awkward becomes the basis of a socially destructive cycle.
As a clinical social worker, I am often working through people’s insecurities. This work involves a deep look into a person’s emotions and feelings . I have started to notice a disturbing pattern. Many people’s insecurities are seated in a belief that they are socially awkward. Unfortunately, this belief often turns into a reality as they begin to engage in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Essentially, a person is labeled as awkward, they believe this, and they begin to act awkwardly. Fortunately, this cycle can be broken. In fact, it doesn’t even need to begin.
Let’s go through 5 reasons for why you are not actually socially awkward!
We are social creatures navigating a complex world. We find ourselves in a variety of environments throughout the course of our day. You may be preparing breakfast in your home in the morning, eating lunch at your office in the afternoon, and grabbing drinks in a bar after work. Some of these environments may be more comfortable than others. Personally, I am at peak comfort when I am drinking coffee alone in my apartment. For others, they are most comfortable socializing at a crowded holiday party. People tend to be out of their comfort zone when they feel socially awkward. In reality, this isn’t awkwardness. It is discomfort and it is natural. Why would someone who enjoys spending time alone in their apartment be an expert at navigating a networking event at a crowded bar? They wouldn’t and that’s perfectly fine.
Unfortunately, once someone is labeled as awkward they begin to believe this regardless of the context. This is where the damage occurs. It’s important to understand where you are most comfortable and where you may feel out-of-place. Next time you begin to feel awkward be aware of the context. Remember you may be out of your comfort zone, which is normal, not awkward.
- Unique is beauty
We are all different and that is beautiful. There is not a single person that is, was, or ever will be exactly like you. That’s simply amazing.
Many people tend to label differences and uniqueness as awkward. This is horrendous because it makes people self-conscious of what differentiates them from others. Over time, they will work to avoid their unique characteristics out of hope that they will be less awkward. Whether it be a sense of humor, physical feature, form of communication, or sense of style, it needs to be embraced. If we can re-label this as beauty rather than awkward, people will begin to feel better about themselves. Remember that many people are afraid to stand out. So embrace you and be unique because. You are NOT awkward.
Not all of us are extroverts. In fact, some of us cherish our small, close-knit social circles. However, there are always times when we must socialize with people out of our comfort zone. That’s part of life. This may be uncomfortable, but this discomfort is NORMAL. Discomfort is a necessary feeling within the human range of emotion. Unfortunately, it is often labeled as awkwardness.
It’s ok to be uncomfortable around certain people. It’s even ok if this shows a little bit. You are a human not a robot. Just remember it’s not awkwardness and this discomfort does not last. Actually, this discomfort is an indication that you have a strong insight into your comfort zone. That’s a strength.
- What the F*CK is awkwardness?
Can you really define this word? I have heard it thrown around in every situation. However, I have not been able to pinpoint a commonality amongst all the people who have felt awkward. It would be safe to say that I should have picked up on a universal factor to awkwardness by now given the number of people I work with. I have been unable to do this. The only commonality I have discovered is that there is a very detrimental element to this word. It actually cuts very deep. A word with this much power should be much more definitive. Fortunately, it’s not. It’s extremely subjective. So next time you are called or feel awkward, ask yourself “what the f*ck is awkwardness?”.
- It’s not you, it’s them!
It may seem cliché, but there is plenty of evidence to support that the most insecure people are the ones dishing out labels. Labeling others serves a few purposes. For one, making someone else the subject of discussion takes the focus off of you. Additionally, people want to feel as if they have no deficiencies. If someone is feeling insecure in a certain area, they want to hear that someone else is actually doing worse than them in that area. For example, someone who may be feeling awkward at a Christmas party may begin a discussion by stating that someone else is awkward. Once other people join in, this person feels validated. This is no way to build self-esteem as it rips apart someone else.
If you have been labeled as awkward, remember that this accusation is actually rooted within the insecurities of the accuser. So if this happens, try imagine this accusation as a cry for help!
It’s clear that being labeled and feeling socially awkward can be extremely detrimental. This word can literally affect every aspect of a person’s life. This word causes paranoia and over-thinking This word sucks. However, there is usually no factual basis behind the use of this word. The only fact is that it causes damage. You are NOT awkward. Remember that!