Awkward Turtle*

8 Dec
Kismet, a robot with rudimentary social skills
Image via Wikipedia

Reverb10: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

I do not understand subtlety, I assume people mean every word they say, and I can’t reliably identify other people’s limits.  All of this makes me awkward and uncomfortable in most social situations, so I tend to avoid them.  On the rare occasions I do go out, my primary goal is to avoid making other people equally uncomfortable.

And that’s the worst of it.  The same things that create the train wreck of my social skills also make me a wonderful friend.  I am loyal and loving and honest.  I do not understand (and rarely experience) self-doubt, so if someone I care about is experiencing it I can easily provide a sincere assurance of the good I see in them.  I’m analytical, which is sometimes paralyzing when attempting to make idle conversation with acquaintances, but mostly means that I have given a great deal of thought to why I enjoy someone and can share that in detail.

It can take people time to appreciate me, but most people do grok that I bear no malice.  My incomprehension of social norms make people, including me, laugh — especially since I’m willing to frame even the worst of it as an adventure.  People who feel stressed or hurt tend to come stand by me, probably because they know that I’ll respect their silence, I’ll respect their privacy if they do want to talk, and will offer everything from a hug to a joke to a sandwich if that’s what I think they need.  I am blunt and predictable and people find that refreshing and reassuring.

I like me.  I actually think I’m rather wonderful.  My social skills might be both different and difficult, but they suit me and have helped me build some incredible relationships.  I’m probably making the best of a bad situation, but it feels good to me.

*Post titled after an expression and hand gesture some friends and I use when witnessing or experiencing awkward situations.  There really are few things more awkward than an overturned turtle.

(Interesting: I’m being prompted to use video game-related imagery for this post, despite my failure to mention my fondness for World of Warcraft.  Is the stereotype of gamers as socially awkward that strong?)

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