Day 36: Awkward Introvert Alert

So, I said last night that it was high time for a more light-hearted post, which I guess is brought to you by lazy(ish) Saturday morning thoughts.

I say it a lot, but guys, I’m awkward.
And super introverted.
Which can be sort of problematic when it comes to social interactions.
Additionally, as an introvert, it is my prerogative in life to overthink things.
Especially social things.
And I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but, for those of you who have miraculously been spared from this predisposition, here is a look into the mind of this awkward introvert in some common social scenarios.
1) Shopping.
You know one of the best parts of quarantine life?  Online shopping and grocery pick-up.  Yes, I know they existed before, but I had less reason to use them.  Which meant at least weekly trips to the store.  Thankfully,  having moved across the country to a densely populated city, the likelihood of me running into someone that I know is statistically low.  That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen – it just doesn’t happen as often.  Being from small town USA though, I was used to seeing people I knew all the time.  Which often looked like this:
When shopping with my mom:
Mom: Is that….?
Me: Yes. Whatever you do, don’t go say something.  We’re here to shop, not to talk. They probably won’t even see us if we don’t say something.
Two aisles later, we cross paths – insert generic conversation and a farewell.
(Mentally): phew. That’s done, now we can go on with the day.
*We turn to the next aisle, and see the same person.*
Instantly, my mind starts to race, my hands get a little sweaty, and my heart begins to pound..
(Mentally): Not again.  What am I going to do? We already talked, so it’d be weird to say anything.  But I know them, so it’s probably rude not to say anything.  Maybe I can act like I didn’t see them.  But they’re walking right towards me – how can I not see them? Is it too late to turn around? Yes, I need something at the other end of the aisle, but I can always come back later.  Ugh, they saw me.  What are they doing? Are they going to say something?  Maybe they won’t make eye contact.  Maybe I can just smile…   *insert awkward smile and eye contact*
(Mentally while walking away): That was so awkward.  What’s wrong with you, Hannah? Why can’t you just respond like a normal person?  You know what, I think I can survive another week without these things. Maybe it’s best to just be done with shopping for today. Yeah, that sounds like a plan.
Except, it’s a lot harder to convince someone else to drop shopping entirely just because of running into someone you knew. When I’m by myself though? Yeah, it definitely happens.
2) Walking/running
For reference, I walk on a circular path. My goal is ALWAYS to not meet anyone on my walk/run. Some common scenarios:
-When prepping to go out: I hear someone outside. No. There can’t be someone outside.  If there’s someone out, they might… talk to me! Nope.  I can’t do it.  Maybe I should wait…
-When first arriving: thank God. No one else is here.
Crap. There’s someone else. Which way are they walking? How fast are they going?
Wait, why is someone going the wrong way? How can I avoid everyone if someone’s going the wrong way?! What were they thinking?
-When approaching someone going slower than me: Slow down, Hannah. You’re going to catch them. If you catch them, then you have to pass them, and if you pass them, it might be awkward.  If you slow down, you can just stay behind them… (which often probably makes me look super creepy because I end up matching the EXACT PACE of the person I’m following… including stopping whenever they stop.  Oops)
-When someone new comes to the path: which way are they going? Wait, why are they going backwards? Oh well, I’m far enough behind that I can turn around so we’ll never meet! (One time, however, as soon as I turned around, the guy did too. So I turned around again… and the guy did too. Dude. Do you not know the rules of the path? Avoid people at all costs!!)
3) Phones
(Mentally): Oh no. My phone is ringing. Who is it? Why are they calling?  I wasn’t ready for a call. I’m not mentally prepared for this. Maybe I’ll let it go to voicemail.  But will they know that I’m avoiding them? Oh, good. It stopped ringing. I’ll give it 5 minutes and call back..
**Which is also why my phone is ALWAYS on silent.  If it rings, I will never hear it. So much less anxiety.**
4) Interactions with people who may be different than me (which probably accounts for every other interaction ever…)
(Mentally): Okay, Hannah – you’re trying to look normal – because if you don’t they might think that you’re judging them, so whatever you do, don’t stare.
But make some eye contact, or else it will look like you’re avoiding them.
No, that’s too much eye contact -it looks creepy. Look away.
No, not too far away! That doesn’t look natural anyway.
Stop looking down – you look ashamed.
No, don’t look too bold, it’ll come across like you’re trying to be dominant.
Now smile and nod,
That’s too much smile. Stop smiling. Your smile is creepy.
And so it goes.
Why do I tell you this?
1) To maybe get a few chuckles at how ridiculous my awkward brain can be
2) To say this: be kind to your awkward introverted friends.  If they’re anything like me (which my older brother just informed me that apparently most aren’t, because this apparently isn’t a simple byproduct of introversion), they’re not judging and avoiding you. They’re judging and avoiding themselves.
‘Til tomorrow
Question of the Day: can any of y’all relate? Please tell me I’m not alone…
Challenge of the Day: Accept failure. And let it push you harder to succeed.
I didn’t take a single post-worthy picture today, so I guess I’m skipping that part tonight…

One thought on “Day 36: Awkward Introvert Alert”

  1. You are not alone! Though I am an extrovert and LOVE GROCERY SHOPPING which in and of itself is weird by most standards, I find it fun to come upon the occasional impulse item like chocolate hummus! We are all wired in a way that makes us our own. Thank goodness! And sometimes I have shop further away just to not run into people I know. When we first moved here, it was also quite liberating to shop and look quite like a hazard and not know a soul. *sigh*, it’s the little things.

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