How to know if you are socially inept and how to deal with it

How to know if you are socially inept and how to deal with it

Socially inept individuals often suffer from anxiety and intrusive worrying. They feel quite comfortable on their own. This leads to increased frustration and the inability to manage everyday problems and deal with other people.

socially inept

African woman looking at the sea. Aneho. Togo. Photo: Pascal Deloche/Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
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For many people, engaging in small talk with a stranger or performing in public may give rise to inner agony. You might often hear them saying: I’m socially awkward, feel confused and even terrified about getting into contact with others but I cannot find the cure for it.

What is the socially awkward meaning?

How do I know if I am socially inept?

To find the cure for the problem, one should learn the socially awkward definition first.

Social awkwardness is a certain state of mind that results in hesitance and indecisive behaviours. Excessive shyness, fearfulness, and tension make people avoid contacts with others and run away from daily problems.

A socially awkward person cannot communicate with others efficiently and get maximum comfort from contact with society. Poor public relations, estrangement, the feeling of being detached from a friendly team are the signs of such a problem.

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Being socially inept is an undoubtedly great trouble for a person. What factors cause it?

Why am I so socially awkward?

Several reasons can cause a lack of self-confidence and bad communication skills:

  • Personal fears and worries about what others think
  • Self-dislike and low self-esteem
  • Conflicts that occurred in the past and left a trace of disapproval
  • Low need for communication
  • Higher intellectual level and unwillingness to communicate with peers
  • Having interests that require solitude, such as reading, computer games, programming
  • Hobbies that are not common among people of the same gender, age, etc.
  • Relocation or often transfers from place to place, immigration to a new country

The awareness of how much a person is awkward is highly individual. Some people can seem perfect in their element in the crowd, public events, and any interaction with society. Others experience constant internal stress while meeting people and relax only when left alone to themselves.

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The following tips can be especially useful for those who fight this issue and search for effective ways on how to be less awkward.

What steps can a person take to stop being socially inept?

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If you have noticed that awkwardness harms your life, you should start working on yourself. Focus on a few important steps.

  • Work with your emotions and challenge them. Try to figure out what makes you feel awkward. It is much easier to solve the problem when you understand where its root is. There are many reasons for being alienated, particularly bad experiences in the past, feeling that no one understands you, a fear of sounding ridiculous, or the fear of being an outcast. Be aware of your main fears and challenge them.
  • Work with your shyness. Shyness is not a mental illness and certainly not a bad thing at all. But shyness varies in intensity, and having it in excess may cause communication problems. Practice being calm in all sorts of situations, take part in public events, and communicate with other people more often.
  • Improve your communication skills. Apart from improving self-confidence, also develop sufficient communication skills. Effective communication is a significant life skill.
  • Stop worrying about how people react to you. Avoid making assumptions about what other people think. Even if they do think anything, it is not a reason to torture yourself. Direct your full attention towards the person you are talking to, focus on their words.
  • Use relaxation techniques. Learn some relaxation techniques and practice them before getting out in the world. This will help reduce internal stress, so you will get along with people in social situations easier and will not be afraid to face them. Meditation and deep breathing are perfect ways to disable anxiety.
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If you wonder how to not be socially awkward, you could also consult a psychologist or a life coach who will help you understand yourself better and provide useful instructions, particularly for you.

How can I improve my social skills?

how to stop being socially awkward

Merrin Dungey and Niger Gibbs are talking. Photo: Sven Frenzel/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

A person can learn anything when they wants to. The ability to communicate with people is not an exception. Even if you feel awkward during a conversation, there are key principles you can always focus on.

  • Think of conversational topics that are comfortable for you. This will help you to start a conversation and continue it confidently. Take some time to think about tough questions and write down the answers to them. Think about spontaneous conversations as well.
  • Learn the key rules of etiquette and observe them regularly. Good manners are always appropriate and will make you seem nicer to other people. In some cases, they are even enough to help you overcome social awkwardness.
  • Show interest. Ask questions and listen to the other person. Use empathy. If you show interest in another person's point of view, this is already a significant step. Do not be passive in conversations. Ask questions, listen to the answers carefully, and provide feedback. The most outgoing people are often the ones who simply know how to ask good questions and listen carefully.
  • Do not let anything distract your attention from the conversation. It is rather impolite to answer a phone call during a conversation or to get distracted by anything in the middle of another person’s flow of thought.
  • Be specific and BRIEF while expressing your thoughts. The acronym BRIEF stands for: Background, Reason, Information, End, Follow-up. This principle was created for writing emails, but it also works perfectly for everyday communication.
  • Be friendly and make jokes. Being friendly makes it easier for others to communicate with you; people feel more comfortable in your company. Be funny and make jokes to defuse the situation. But you need to know when exactly it is appropriate to make a joke. A good sense of humour is an undeniable advantage.
  • Make reasonable compliments. It is highly important to be sincere when making compliments, so do not do it if you are in doubt. Remember that making compliments concerning somebody’s personal qualities is much more pleasant than a remark about a person's appearance.
  • Pay due attention to body language. Nonverbal cues show much more than it seems. Show your openness. This can be done with the help of poses and gestures. It is better to look directly at a person’s eyes and keep an open posture. Smiling makes us relaxed and joyful. An individual can also use gestures, but, at the very beginning, it better to avoid unnecessary movements.
  • Realize the importance of meaningless small talk. It is a good way to set good social relations. People appreciate those who are easy going and make them relax in communication. Use the social environment to your advantage.
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If you still wonder how to stop being awkward with people, you should remember the only but most important thing. You will not be able to improve your communication skills if you always avoid social interactions and meeting other people. Face different situations actively, even if it causes negative emotions at first. The more you practice, the better.

There is no concrete definition for a socially inept person, but this phenomenon is often discussed among psychology experts. Dealing with personal awkwardness is not a fast process. It requires courage, the strength of will, persistence, and constant practising to overcome.

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