We all have those days when we just don’t feel like talking to other people. It’s not that we don’t like them… It’s just that the particular day you’re having is what you would define as an “off day”. Perhaps you’re bummed out by an unpleasant mark or you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Perhaps conversations with others have never come easy to you, simply because you’re shy or you don’t know how to carry a conversation and respond to social cues. Or, you avoid talking to others in any way possible, in which case, I’m afraid to say, you’re a socially awkward person. Take it from someone—yeah, me—who is just now starting to explore what it means to have dynamic and meaningful discussions for the first time as a young adult. Yes, many of my attempts at conversation come across as forced and uncoordinated, but they reflect the kind of person I’ve been for most of my life.
I’ve always struggled to make conversation with others; it’s been a constant struggle of mine ever since I outgrew my overconfident personality in grade school. That doesn’t mean I’m rude or that I dislike other people—I’m just a little unsure about how to respond and act around others in social settings. This tendency of mine to shy away from talking to others has led me to live a quiet lifestyle: I read a lot of books, watch a lot of YouTube, I don’t attend very many parties or social gatherings and I rarely use social media. Does that mean I’m weird? Well… Maybe a little, but by no means am I a rude or inconsiderate person. I often go out of my way to accommodate others, even if they choose not to acknowledge it. It’s just the way that I am: I’m an introvert who makes subtle attempts at being extroverted. They may not always have the desired effect, but they are just that: attempts to finally put myself out there.
If these qualities are reflective of you as well, socially awkward weirdoes unite! But seriously, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Try to outgrow your necessity to avoid conversations, and instead find some other way to interact meaningfully with others. At our core, we all have the desire to get along with everyone. Sometimes that gets lost in translation, or by an apparent inability to communicate effectively.
To those that love to talk, please don’t take offence. We socially awkward students just take time to come out of our shells. Please don’t confuse our reluctance to share information with abrasiveness—we want to get to know you, but we might not know how to do so effectively. We all have ideas that are worthy of being shared. Just remember to be patient and to give others a chance, because there is surely some social context in which we all feel a little weird.