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Managing Social Awkwardness

Updated on August 25, 2015
A socially awkward woman.
A socially awkward woman. | Source

You would recognize the perennial wallflower of any social group. He is the person who seldom says much, and when he does, his words leave people feeling uncomfortable.

He is socially awkward, and needs to manage this desperately. It can damage his self-esteem.
To manage it, he must first seek the causes of his discomfort and recognize its signs. He does not have to stay a wallflower forever.


Causes of social awkwardness

The first step to overcoming social awkwardness is to consider its causes. It is easier to overcome it if you treat it at its root.

Inherent personality traits seem to predisposed people to having certain social problems. Life events tend to aggravate social behaviors. Happy news is that even those who have social awkwardness can overcome it.

Certain people are more inhibited than others. They dislike activities that others enjoy, or simply do not need to mix with others. Those who cannot tolerate change or risk taking are at a disadvantage because they lose out on the social opportunities that come with dating or partying. They miss chances to develop their social skills.

Some people may have personalities that do not gel with the norm. Certain people are eccentric and idiosyncratic, making them harder for those with more typical personality traits to relate to. Often, those who are socially awkward may have poor social role models, and become socially awkward.

They may have interests that are not popular, or cause others to pick on them. Some people may have solitary interests, and prefer to do things on their own. They are often misunderstood, and become socially awkward.

Signs that you are socially awkward

If social interactions do not go well for you, you may wish to take a step back and ask yourself why that is. You may show the signs of social awkwardness without realizing it.

For a start, social interactions may make you nervous. It gives you an awkward demeanor, which generates even more nervousness. Such jitters prolong negative cycles.

You may find yourself creating the wrong effect with your statements. Instead of consoling someone, you may end up using words that hurt him instead. You may have problems continuing conversations. If you find yourself constantly being teased by others for using the wrong words or phrases, you may have a problem with social awkwardness.

How to deal with social anxiety

Avoiding being socially awkward

A person does not have to stay in his shell forever. He can make conscious attempts to change his situation. Those who have loved ones who are socially awkward can help to move them through their difficulties as well.

The first step a socially awkward person should take is to remember that he is not alone. Everyone worries about how others see them. Knowing that he is not the only person coping with social worries will put him more at ease.

To help him move past his social awkwardness, he should take time to find out where his awkward feelings come from. Perhaps he is over-analyzing social situations, or had bad experiences. He could also have an introverted personality.

A socially awkward person can take steps to rebuild his confidence and overcome shyness. He can relax in social situations by making small talk, and realizing that people are feeling as awkward as he is. He can learn to give others meaningful compliments. Loved ones can get their socially awkward family members to interact more with others.

Do watch the attached Youtube video for more tips on managing social anxiety.


Teaching a socially awkward person to handle social situations

f you have a loved one or friend who shows signs of social awkwardness, you can help him overcome in by teaching him a few etiquette basics.

Nosy questions put anyone off, and frighten those who are more reserved. Your socially awkward friend will benefit from a few witty tricks. If someone asks how much he earns, he can respond with "Enough to pay my bills, but not enough to become a millionaire overnight." That would immediately dissuade further questions. It also tells the other party that he is being intrusive.

Sending an email to the wrong person is another socially awkward situation. Prompt your friend to make a phone call to the person to clarify matters, and help him to avert a misunderstanding.
Your friend may feel at a loss for words in front of others if he is late for meetings or events. If he is running late for a meeting, remind him to apologize, then catch up with what he missed. Others are more likely to understand that he was genuinely held up.

If the person has forgotten someone's name, tell him to introduce himself by saying, "Hi, don't know if you remember me, but I am _______." The other person will probably take the hint and do the same. If not, tell him to continue talking to the person until something triggers his memory.

How would you deal with social embarrassment?

See results

Anyone can move past being a wall flower to becoming one in full bloom.


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    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I was shy but not anymore. I opened a lot since my move to Croatia. An interesting and well thought of hub. You shared useful points.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      Rochelle Ann De Zoysa 

      5 years ago from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

      A very helpful article. Thank you :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      I used to be socially awkward until I landed my first career job. Being around positive supportive coworkers made the difference. I have experienced a few times social awkwardness from sending a text to the wrong person. That would be a 'hide' button vote.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I think we have all done some of these things from time to time. I really am not social,as I grew up in that kind of environment, but I can hold my own if I have to. I am a bit in the public eye now, with a birding column, and am asked to give talks. It can be done. I don't LIKE it particularly, as I'd rather be out in the field with nature. Social behaviors CAN be learned.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      5 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Its an important subject and very relevant for some. Thank you for sharing some helpful tips and suggestions!

    • ArianaLove profile image


      5 years ago

      Very nice article!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you for dealing with this important issue. You gave helpful, workable suggestions.

    • Carolyn M Fields profile image

      Carolyn Fields 

      5 years ago from South Dakota, USA

      Great hub. One point that I'd like to bring out is that you can be an introvert without being socially awkward. Introverts just need more time to "recharge" after social situations, but they still enjoy other people. Also, I like your idea of having some witty come-backs prepared for intrusive questions. For example, if someone asked me how much I weigh (which I find very intrusive), I would say "more than I'd like, but less than I could." Having something ready to go seems to help. Also, just saying "why do you ask?" back to the person sometimes will buy time and diminish anxiety. Again, great hub!

    • manatita44 profile image


      5 years ago from london

      Affects many of us around, Michelle. It is an inner weakness, of course. I have seen many cases, even here in the spiritual setting. What's needed is the descent of the Light of Consciousness. This diminishes fears; insecurities, and bingo! We have a socially interactive person. Nice Hub.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      I didn't think you were at all, Bill. Hope it helps, though!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      How nice! You wrote an article about me. Thank you! :) I am seriously socially awkward. It's painful at times, quite frankly, and always has been. My solution is to just avoid social situations. :)


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