Friday, September 10, 2010

The One Where I'm Socially Awkward Sometimes

I am feeling more awkward at this moment than any human being has a right to feel.

First of all, I have some. . .aspects of my personality that I have, previously, thought could be attributed to being autistic. Then I did some research (Thanks, hypochondriac-ism!) and found out that it's a thing that's diagnosed in childhood, and not in adulthood. I, admittedly, don't know a whole lot about it, and it is the furthest thing from my mind to insult anyone who actually has to deal with things of this nature, but, you know, you don't know unless you ask. Or, in my case, research.

I just find that a lot of things that happen to me in social situations are largely unexplainable, unless the explanation is that I'm just really, really awkward. I mentioned this to my mother a while back, and said something like, "Well, that's just because I'm socially awkward," and she's all, "Um, no you're not."

I feel like she has No Idea.

I guess the difference is that I am (sometimes) able to curb the awkward, pretending like I'm super-comfortable in social situations, when, in fact, I'd honestly rather be at home, by myself or with D, making Candy Sushi, which I will, in fact, be doing tonight. I guess if there were something, legitimately, physically (or mentally?) wrong with me, I wouldn't be able to fake it.

A lot of the symptoms (granted, they show up in kids, but I don't have anything else to go on), fit me. Stuff like autistic (children) may: (and I got all this from here)

* Be overly sensitive in sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste;
* Have unusual distress when routines are changed;
* May not respond to eye contact;
* Prefer to spend time alone, rather than with others;
* May find normal noises painful;
* May withdraw from physical contact because it is overstimulating or overwhelming;
* Gets stuck on a single topic or task;
* Has a short attention span;
* And so on.

I don't know. Obviously, I don't have this particular issue, but it WOULD explain weird behaviors sometimes, and would further explain why, in social situations, I find myself just not sure what to do or responding inappropriately. And then you throw in my OCD, and I find myself feeling uncomfortably, intensely horrible when I realize I've done something in a non-social normy kind of way. It tortures me.

If I DID have autism, it might also explain being unapproachable, which D mentioned today. That wasn't the first time I've heard that, but I think of myself as pretty friendly, especially at work, and it just kind of sucks that other people don't see me the same way I see me. But I really don't have any excuse except being. . .unapproachable, and apparently, unfriendly. (I'll get to that in a minute.)

Reminds me of about. . .12 years ago, I guess, when my mom's neighbors had their granddaughter over for a few days. She was my age, and I was introduced to her, and she and I hung out while she was there. The last day of her trip, we were sitting on the front stoop, and she was like, "You know, when I first saw you, you didn't look very interesting or very much fun. But you are!"

A compliment, ultimately, sure. But damn. I don't look very interesting, I don't look like very much fun, I'm not approachable, I'm intimidating, I'm not very pretty (thanks, guy in my Sociology class), and as a child, I had ears the size of small satellites. (OK, no one ACTUALLY ever said that to me, but I have photographic evidence, yo!) I do actually have a few friends here and here, and D's not someone I made up, so obviously, people like me a little sometimes. It's just. . .hard to acknowledge that you come across as so completely different than you think you do.

All this being said, I'm finally getting to the reason I feel so awkward right now.

Three people at work are leaving/have left this week and next. This one guy who, I wasn't FRIENDS with, per se, but with whom I had a healthy rapport was heading out. He stopped at the door and turned back to say bye to me. He comes up to my window, shakes me hand, and says, "Take care, Sarah."

And what do I say?


I do not respond whatsoever.

I half-smile at him and shake his hand, but no words come out of my mouth. No, "It's been nice knowing you!" or "Good luck at your new job!"


I stupid half-smile at him and then he turns and walks away, probably thinking to himself, "Wow! How unfriendly and unapproachable is SHE? Plus, her freaking ears stick out halfway from her head!"

And so now I'm sitting here, agonizing about it. I'm probably never going to see this guy again, but somehow, that makes it WORSE. Because now, any time he thinks of his last day here, he's going to be like, "Wow. . .she didn't even say bye!"

(Note: I, in all of my common sense, know that he probably will never think of that exchange again as long as he lives, but tell that to my stupid, stupid BRAIN!)

So after stewing in that for a few minutes, I did what any person in my position would do.

I went to the breakroom and cut myself a slice of his farewell cake.

What did you expect, really?

1 comment:

  1. Aww! I can totally relate. With, really, everything. Social awkwardness, OCD, etc. etc.

    I don't think you should worry about not saying anything to him. Atleast you smiled at him and shook his hand. I bet some people didn't even do that.

    And I don't think your ears were huge at all! They looked normal to me. :)

    Keep your chin up!