It's 2018, and if you haven't already noticed, humans have evolved into a rather interesting species. I mean, something as simple as holding a door open for someone who's far enough along to get the door themselves is enough to make anybody shudder with absolute discomfort. Whether you're the Fonzi of your friend group or the Napoleon Dynamite, no one is safe from the unrelenting anxiety of getting caught in a socially awkward situation.
What's more is that getting into said situations is only the tip of the iceberg: responding in a way that neutralizes that sense of anxiousness is the rest, and some people are better at executing it than others. Other people crash and burn in ways that make the situation far more unmanageably awkward than it first seemed.
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I was in a dance class a few years ago and we had to do improv. Everyone there was a WAY better dancer than me, so I had a difficult time just with that. Well, my teacher gave us 5 minutes to come up with a dance to a whole song, and you'd have to dance in front of the class alone. I noped the heck out of there and ran and hid in the bathroom. My cell phone was still in the classroom, but at that point, I didn't care. I decided to sneak out the front door of the studio. Well, there's a small problem there. The walkway to the parking lot was in front of the giant windows of my classroom. I decided to just duck down and run the best I could, hoping no one saw me. I made it to the car and had my Dad run in and get my phone. Didn't go back to my class for a few weeks there.
One time when I was a kid, I was calling up a girl I liked to ask her if she wanted to hang out. Her mom answered the phone and in my awkward teenage bumbling, I asked her mom if SHE wanted to hang out.
I'm still not quite over that one, nearly 10 years later.
I was buying a Zelda-themed wallet at a Walmart once. The cashier asked me if I wanted a bag for it. I just stammered and said, "No thanks, I'll just equip it now."
No thanks, I'll just equip it now.
I'm from Ireland (a Catholic-enough country). I deliver pizzas and one night a woman said, "God be with you," as I was walking away and I stumbled over my words and said, "Peace be upon you," like the freaking pizza Pope. Cringed pretty hard walking away as she just looked at me. Edit: toppings be upon you my children.
I once hid from my family when they came over for the holidays out of fear of interaction. I hid especially from one of my cousins who was socially aggressive and just made me really anxious. I had nowhere else to hide where there weren't people, so I went into my bathroom and hid under the sink (I was about 8) and just planned to stay there as long as possible. My cousin (the aggressive one) came in, took a long and winded poop, and then left. I just stayed there and am to this day even more terrified of interacting with him. I saw nothing but I heard...every...sound.
My girlfriend was a server at a restaurant called Bonefish and she was supposed to ask, "Have you ever dined at Bonefish?" but instead she asked, "Have you ever boned at Dinefish?" She was mortified but her customers thought it was hilarious.
I was at a picnic with some friends; 10-15 people turned into like 50-75 people within an hour. Enter extreme anxiety. Went up to the grill to get a hot dog. A cute girl walks behind me to get one, I notice and start sweating. Barbecue homie hands me my hot dog, and I'm so nervous I drop it right onto the cement. Didn’t know to get another one so I picked it up with dirt all over it, took a bite, and walked away.
Added bonus: a bush I’m really allergic to was nearby so the next week I had an allergic reaction all over my body from it.
Good times with my pal social anxiety.
I'm talking to my boss after a long day of exams and assignments. I go to leave and she catches the door before I can leave to say goodbye. For some reason my wired brain made me give her finger guns and say "zoop" as I walked away. Thought about it the whole way home.
I'm a retail cashier. A woman was buying a dress and humorously stated that she might be too fat for it. Me, never one to disagree with a customer, smiled and said, "Yup!"
I burned a few calories hitting my head on the counter after that exchange.
People are asking what happened afterward. She didn't catch it right away, but as she walked off I think the penny dropped. I was left to wallow at my register for the remainder of my shift.
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My parents always bring up the time when I was 4 and we were at this Mexican restaurant. Apparently, they started singing “Happy Birthday” to me, to which I smiled, but then got nervous and promptly, confidently, leaned over and bit my dad on the arm.
I’m a speech therapist in a school and I️ went to talk to one of the teachers about a student. I️ just so happened to find this teacher incredibly attractive at the time and tried to avoid him in the building sometimes to not embarrass myself blushing or stumbling over my words.
Anyway, I️ go ask him about the student for a minute or 2. Turn around to leave the room. Miss the door by about a foot and walked straight into the wall.
One time I was leaving a party and I turned my car right instead of left. To avoid looking like an idiot and turning around I just went with it and ended up in traffic for about 2 hours.
I was in a vitamin store with my cousins and I was thinking, “We’re just browsing,” and “We’re just perusing,” and the guy working the store asked how we were doing. In a total panic I like half screamed, “We’re just bruising!” with a giant smile on my face. He looked really uncomfortable and shuffled away. I haven’t gone back into that store since.
At a conference in San Francisco, there was a social reception thing for all the attendees. Everyone was drinking beer and other things, and it seemed like everyone had someone to talk to.
I didn't feel like drinking to fit in, but someone actually came up to me to make small talk. I raised my cell phone and tried to drink from it. Like it was a beer.
Once I had to go to my bank to tell them I was going to be out of the country, and do some other account-related things. On the way out, the reception dude said, "Have a great trip!" And I said, "You too!" I took like three steps before I realized that was dumb and turned around to say something that actually made sense, but I freaked out and didn't say anything. We just stared at each other for like 5 seconds. Then he just smiled and said, "It's ok bro." I left.
In art class at school, I was too nervous to ask someone if I could squeeze past so I went around the table, which was a very tight squeeze against the wall. I accidently knocked over a cup of paint water onto someone's painting, ruining it. They had spent weeks on it. Can't say it helped my anxiety when he yelled at me!
When I was in college I was walking up a flight of stairs that had a doorway at the top and there was this girl behind me. When I got to the top of the stairs I held the door for her. She said "Thank you!" and my mind got stuck between "You're welcome" and "No problem" and I ended up looking her dead in the eyes and said, "You're a problem."
The president of the university smiled and made eye contact with me to which I replied with, "What's up, Mr. Prez?" while simultaneously saluting him.
When some Jehovah's Witnesses came to my door, I dropped to the floor and commando rolled to the kitchen. As I got to the kitchen I realized my curtains were open and the Jehovah's Witnesses were actually watching me in open mouthed shock, so I waved and carried on. I still think about it a lot.
As a kid at a sleepover, I woke up early and panicked because I felt guilty that I was awake alone in someone else's house. Because I felt guilty, I started putting their dishes from the dishwasher into the cabinets. Then I realized how weird that seemed, so I started loading them BACK into the dishwasher.
The parents woke up to a frazzled pre-teen stuffing clean dishes into their dishwasher.
Back in high school at the start of the semester, my teacher did roll call and called out for Mike. Nobody responded. He called out the full name. I realized he had somehow gotten my name (Matt) written down as Mike. By this time he was flustered and I was too nervous to correct him in front of the class, so for that semester, I was Mike.
I was at a work event as an intern and didn’t know anyone other than my supervisor. We were sitting at a table with about 10 other people, one of whom was pregnant and discussing her name choices. Feeling a need to contribute because of how awkwardly out of place I felt, I told her how my mom had almost chosen a name this woman mentioned and how I was so thankful she didn’t because I never would have forgiven her. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she said: “...Oh it was my grandmother’s name, but thank you for your input.” Yeah...I didn’t get a job offer.
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