So Awkward Together

This morning I saw a coworker of mine who had been working from home the past few days.  Not being exactly sure what was wrong, I had nonetheless figured something must be going on.  In conversation with my neighbor, I found that she had avoided coming to work because she had acquired a stalker who had stated he had been watching her for weeks as she walked along the path between our office and the nearby MAX station, where there is little cover nor any alternate choice in route.  She had been sufficiently freaked out by this to avoid coming in until she could obtain transportation of her own, and having done so last night, she was able to come into work this morning.  I wonder how common of a problem this is.  Making the story even more hilarious was the fact that during the day she kept on getting awkward communications, one from the salesperson she had dealt with last night, and the other from a bank that belatedly sent her communication that her request for financing after she had already purchased the vehicle with said financing.

We shared this humorous conversation about awkwardness, and I could definitely relate as I am a pretty socially awkward person myself.  Being fairly close to ambivert status myself, I find it hard to tell if I am an unusually social extrovert or an unusually antisocial extrovert, but either way I can definitely relate to awkward social interactions [1].  Unsurprisingly as well, I had some of my own awkward interactions during the course of the day as well.  For example, I received a lengthy message from my mum that, among other things, was looking for refrigerator space that I don’t happen to have, and which will require some additional awkward conversation, and that is not even getting to the even more awkward requests for some private and deep conversations that I am personally not inclined to have since my mother is particularly clueless and ignorant about the depths of my emotional life.  Not too long after that I got a message about someone who had been in charge of a Church of God organization who had died who I had already heard that he was dead some days ago, prematurely apparently, and I replied in a rather blasè manner.  Sometimes a lack of response is as awkward as a response.

Being a person who likes to think beyond the surface level of interactions, I pondered what makes people particularly awkward.  Why are some people more awkward than others?  Why am I more awkward than most people, for example?  A large part of the issue concerns the rhythm of conversation and interaction.  There are some people for whom communication is not a matter of habit but a matter of conscious thought.  Some of us puzzle and muse over what we are going to say to someone for days, weeks, months, or even years, and stew over issues and try to find the perfect way to say them and the perfect time.  Such perfect ways and times often do not exist at all, and sometimes we may find ourselves unable to have certain conversations because the circumstances of having them do not exist at all.  Such communication as exists on a habitual level is comfortable and easy, but where communication is conscious and a bit more labored, it happens to be more awkward.  Since some of us are always thinking and pondering and musing, awkwardness comes as naturally to us as breathing.

This awkwardness is not always a bad thing.  My default response to dealing with socially awkward people, being a spectacularly awkward person myself, is to be compassionate and understanding to them.  Eventually, if someone is a good enough listener and is genuinely interested in what you have to say, is going to be able to establish a rhythm, especially when you are interested in what they have to say.  There are other times, such as when one is engaged in flirtatious banter, where there is a good kind of awkwardness as well.  As long as neither of the people involved in such an interaction mind it, I generally am not troubled, but I certainly have no interest in making anyone feel uncomfortable, although if they felt a certain sense of butterflies in interacting with me, I would not mind in the least.  One must let there be at least some positive side of awkward social interactions, including the awkwardness of feeling a certain degree of chemistry with someone, and wondering what you are supposed to do about it, if anything.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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8 Responses to So Awkward Together

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