Even the best of us can mess things up, especially when it comes to social situations. The truth is, however, that socially adjusted people tend to mess things up a little less than the rest of us. If you find yourself struggling in social situations, listen up because these are 25 Socially Awkward Mistakes That You Want To Avoid.
Not realizing that people aren’t interested in what you are talking about
This goes for people who like to talk a lot (yes, they can be socially awkward too). Listening is half the battle.
Note: keep in mind that this isn’t meant for shy people. Shy people will tend to go to the other extreme and automatically assume they have nothing interesting to say. This isn’t true either.
Not having hobbies
This is the cure to what we just mentioned (only talking about your engineering job or video games). Try new stuff. Ski, climb, run, snorkel…anything. It will boost your confidence and give you something to connect with people on.
This can be fine…in moderation. If you make a joke and nobody laughs, saying that you’re going to work on your one-liners is a perfectly okay way to bail out. But always talking about how awful you are isn’t attractive to anybody.
Assuming everybody doesn’t like them
There is a well-known quote that states, “Confidence is when you walk into a room of strangers and assume that everybody likes you.”
Not asking questions
This is possibly the biggest mistake that socially awkward people make. If you don’t know what to talk about, just get the other person to talk. Where are you from? Do you like it here? What do you do? Do you like that? Pretty soon you won’t have to ask anything…they’ll just keep talking.
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Taking mistakes too seriously
Most people will barely remember your name, much less what you said.
Note: the one thing they’ll definitely (subconsciously) remember is how well you listened.
Thinking that being an introvert means you are socially awkward
Not at all. Being introverted just means that being around people for too long can drain your energy. And that’s fine. Some of the most socially adept people are introverts. Just make sure to get your alone time, and don’t be ashamed of it.
Not realizing that people want to like you
We’ve already cleared up the whole nobody-likes-me thing, but did you know that people actually want to like you? You don’t have to impress them. They will most likely assume that you are a normal person.
Preparing for scenarios
Don’t overthink stuff; just go with the flow. If you try to plan out what you’re going to say, it will probably mess you up in the end.
Thinking that extroverts are naturally socially adept
Wrong again. A good example to illustrate this would be saying something socially unacceptable. If an introvert did this, they would most likely say sorry and be quiet. If an extrovert did this (just as likely, if not more so), they would probably keep saying things and just dig themselves deeper into a hole. Both can be equally socially awkward or socially adept.
As in, “that person is confident” or “that person is successful.” This is shooting yourself in the foot. All of us are everything to a certain extent, and most of us are hiding behind a facade. Always assume that everybody is just as vulnerable as you…because they are.
Not making eye contact
This is something you just have to practice. Even confident people struggle with it.
Thinking you are the only one who messes up
Everybody messes up and says awkward stuff. The key is to laugh it off and move on.
Skimping on hygiene
If you don’t brush your teeth, bathe, keep your nails clean, wear clothes that fit you…people will automatically make assumptions about you, true or not. Do your best to set yourself up for success in social situations.
Making extremely niche references
Keep it broad. It’s actually easier.
Trying to be funny
Don’t try to be funny if you’re not funny. If you’re not sure whether you’re funny…assume you are not. You don’t have to crack jokes to be liked. Remember what we said – you just have to listen. One day you’ll notice that people laugh at something you say, your confidence will increase, and you will be more confident making funny/witty remarks. But…and this is important…it will be natural.
Not ending a conversation
This goes right along with realizing when people aren’t interested in talking. That doesn’t mean that they hate you. They might even enjoy talking to you. It’s just that there’s something called life, and they have to get to it. Just say something along the lines of, “Well, I won’t keep you” and end it. Some of the greatest conversations can last less than a minute.
Trying to be someone else
Don’t. Just don’t. You’re you. They’re them. And you can’t be them any more than they can be you. Just strive to be the best version of yourself.
Making inappropriate jokes to look confident
Remember what we said about trying to be funny? Also, if you’re trying too hard, you’re not being yourself.
One word answers
If someone asks you a yes or no question, it’s okay to just reply with a “yes” or “no,” but at least direct it back at them. Don’t just say “yes/no” and stop. For example, if somebody asks, “Do you like reading?” the minimum response should be “Yea, what about you?”
Note: this is the bare minimum. “Yes/No” by itself kills the conversation.
Stand up straight with your shoulders pulled back. It will make you feel more confident too.
Asking closed questions
These are basically “yes/no” questions. Ask questions that elicit more of a response.
In this instance, we’re talking specifically about rejecting invitations to do things. Saying yes is powerful. It opens the door to new experiences and new friends, all of which will lead to you being more confident in social situations.
What we mean by this is worrying too much about what the other person thinks of you rather than what the other person thinks. There is a huge difference. Focus more on finding out about the other person rather than trying to impress them.
Telling people you are awkward
Here’s a secret – what you tell people is what they’ll think of you. If you tell them that you’re awkward, they’ll probably see you as being awkward. Fake it ’till you make it.
Photos: feature image: pexels (public domain), 25. B Rosen via flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0, 24. Zach Dischner, Crested Butte Biking (9941640553), CC BY 2.0, 22. Simone Lovati, Agreeing on him, CC BY-SA 2.0, 19. Ron Mader via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, 18. Enoc vt, Botón Me gusta, CC BY-SA 3.0, 17. Nick Youngson; http://nyphotographic.com, CC BY-SA 3.0, 16. Tom Hilton via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 14. Laitr Keiows, Iris – right eye of a girl, CC BY-SA 3.0, 12. Nicole-Koehler, Shower head, CC BY-SA 3.0, 10. sketchport.com, CC BY 4.0, 8. Max Pexel, 2. Damian Gadal via flickr, CC BY 2.0