Thursday, October 8, 2009

Socially awkward

When I was younger, in my late teen years (so, like.. 5 years ago? ahah-ahah) I got my first computer and my first internet connection. I was hooked. Not in the I'm Stone and I'm an Internet-aholic sense, more like wow, there really is more to the world than this small town.

Does anyone else remember the first Internet Relay Chat programs, where you could log onto a server and go in a chat room and talk to other people? I was fascinated with the idea of talking to strangers from anywhere and everywhere. And yes, I even met a couple of boys online. (My parents, oddly enough, were not over the moon about that.) My real life friends thought that made me some sort of weirdo. "This guy that you don't even know, who lives a thousand miles away, gave you his phone number? And you called it? Really?" The unspoken part was that there was something wrong with me that I could not meet a person in real life to be in teen-love with. I must be a real special kind of loser to have no other option but to hide my hideousness behind the computer and trick people into liking my personality. What no one ever seemed to notice is that I never did have anyone in real life to be in teen-love with. I did not have a single date all through high school. My prom date was my friend Lindsay. I don't know why I never got asked out; I'm pretty sure my hideousness was fairly low on the scale of All Things Grotesque - I never shattered any mirrors. Also, I was voted Class Clown. That definitely counted against my How Ghastly Are You? rating.

Meeting people on the internet is so common now. Talking to friends, whether or not you have actually met them in real life, is incredibly easy. Blogging is one of those things that has taken all of the hard work out of meeting fun and interesting people. You read a few posts and you don't like them? You click away. You like them? Well, heck, leave a comment! Tell them you think they are awesome. There are several tools to aid a person in being witty and smooth, such as: Delete, Backspace, and Cut from the drop-down menu. I love commenting and getting comments, and I try to visit a new blog at least once or twice a week. That is how I "meet" people on the internet.

Socially successful in real life? Not so much. I am shy, almost to the point of painful; exactly the way I was as a teenager. It is hard for me to strike up a conversation with someone I don't know. I am always so worried about saying the wrong thing or wondering if there is something on my face that it's hard to keep track of what the other person is talking about. And, of course, while I am busy worrying about what the other person is thinking, I actually do lose track of what he or she is saying. The next boxcar on this freight train of awkwardness is usually me saying something totally out of context or toes-definitely-over-the-line rude.

Despite this crippling disease, I am still trying to put myself out there. Truthfully, I have two best friends who live in the same area as me (albeit a 15 - 20 minute drive away), and a third bestie who lives 4 hours away. Add in my sister who lives about 5 hours away, and that is the extent of my real life social network. I want to meet a few more people who live in my small town, because sitting at home every night kind of sucks. It would be nice to have a girl friend to visit with or even just go for a walk.

I bet you're thinking that I should stop worrying so much about accidentally saying something obnoxious or inappropriate; the chance of that actually happening is slim. Ahh, if only that were the case..

Last week, I was walking up towards the pre-school door and met one of the other moms on her way into the school. In an attempt to start a conversation, I said, "Wow, jeez, sure glad I'm not the only one who comes flying out the door at five to nine." Ok, I know what it sounds like. It sounds like I'm saying, "You look like shit. Do you own a mirror?" What I meant was, "You're late, too? Yes, I have discovered that toting around three children makes me chronically late as well."

(What is it about pre-school drop off that makes me socially retarded?) Yet another mom said to me, "You look really familiar.. have we met before?" Really, I get this a lot. I have one of "those" faces. I am vaguely familiar to everyone I meet, so when this mom asked if we had met before, I should have said, "No, I don't think so, but my name is Stone." Instead, I froze and said, "Yes, you look really familiar, too," which led into a whole pointless conversation about where we could possibly have known each other from, when I knew all along that we have never known each other from anywhere. The conversation petered out with us both making the Yes, well, anyways noises and busying ourselves with our kids.

Another day, another pre-school drop off. I am walking by one of the other moms as she is getting into her truck. I had met this gal previously, and we had even had a pretty solid hour-long conversation once at the library. I said to her, "Are you Captain Crankypants today? Because you look pissy." My God, I am cringing as I write this. It's a wonder the Pre-School Society hasn't officially shunned me.

You see what I mean? Crippling. Oh, but rest assured, my friends, I will not give up. I will keep trying until I win these moms over and they stop seeing my socially inept Beast side and start seeing my witty, winsome inner Beauty side.

14 comments:

  1. Oh my....you're me, 15 years ago. Here's my advise: don't try to win all the moms over. It's an exercise in frustration. rather, try to find one as socially awkward as you think you are (which probably isn't as awkward as you thing), sit and have coffee and make fun of the other moms. I have a friend, she's Ethiopean, and like me, she has NO FILTER between her brain and her mouth. Most moms are so busy making sure everyone knows they have a new car and a Peg Perego stroller that they don't have the time to look for your winsome inner beauty.

    I don't suppose you live near Statesboro, Georgia. I'd totally take you (and your babies) out for coffee. Totally.

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  2. Oh god, I'm going to be you when I finally have children. Great.

    Seriously, I'm beyond socially awkward. I try to be funny and it either comes out like I'm hitting on someone, making fun of someone or just being stupid. Verbal diarrhea.

    I've got a couple of best friends that live by me, but I'm mostly happy when I'm alone. I would be a hermit if I could except for the small things like sex, fast food and going to the library. ;)

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  3. Rootie, i would so hang out with you for coffee.

    Meg: maybe one day libraries will quit being so uptight about these things and will let you eat a Whopper *and* get your freak on while perusing the New Releases.

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  4. If it's any consolation, I've been going through a lot of internal friend angst lately. My epiphany last night? I'm honestly not sure I enjoy being friends with most of them.

    What the hell does that say about me?

    I have one friend who I trust implicitly to tell me what she's thinking or feeling. The rest of them? Well, I feel judged at least some of the time, if not all of the time. For being weird, for being wordy, for being a geek, for falling in love and getting married so quickly after my first marriage failed, for not having a perfect house, body or wardrobe.

    Not good.

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  5. I am so in & out of my son's school - dodging moms on their cell phones, conversing about how good their suhi was last night and boring stuff like that! I have realized so many times that the only thing I have in common with most of the moms, is that we have given birth...that's about all!!

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  6. Sister, you have GOT to get out of my head before I stab you with a pen. I have this whole post knocking around in my head and have had for about a week. I've just been bouncing it around, hoping that it will come bouncing out at the same time as I happen to be sitting in front of the computer (rarely happens, which is why I end up writing posts about belly button lint)(don't go looking for one, I made that up as a *metaphor*)

    Except for the whole school-mom thing. I gave up on that years ago. Apparently I come across as an unapproachable bitch.

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  7. Heh. Yeah, been there, done that. I'm finally coming into my own socially, and a lot of that had to do with just letting go of my fears and expectations. Oh, and getting to know people in real life that I met through blogging!

    I would totally hang out. But I have no idea where you live. Anywhere near Detroit, MI?

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  8. I think you and I would get along fabulously. In real life. I tend to put people at ease and I get offended almost never. We'd be BFF.

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  9. Bahahahahahhahahahha! Those pre-school conversations are hilarious! And really? You said, "Yes, you look familar too." Bahahahahahah! That is cracking me up. Have you tried a mom's group? Those are usually pretty painless as long as your kids are total brats. And you can always just stay quiet and listen while everyone else talks. They'll think you are the nicest person ever while they chat about themselves and their children.

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  12. I never did IRC until very recently, though I did 'talk' to keep in touch with my fiance long-distance in college.

    I've got mighty social awkwardness, though. It's something that I'm a bit anxious about for when Little Foot is older - I don't know enough nerdparents in my area with kids of an appropriate age to play with her, which means I'll have to talk to ... people I don't know how to talk to.

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  13. Sounds like you just have a witty sense of humor that most people don't get. I am kind of socially awkward too and I my challenge is that I get all jokey and like an open book too fast. I also have no filter. Don't worry you aren't the only one. I am sure people get that you have personality and you are probably one of the spunky mothers. I dunno...who wants to be serious all the time!

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