Awkward

I have come to terms with my past, and look forward each day to becoming a better person in my future. I am constantly evolving and learning. Each day, I learn to be more calm, learn to be wiser in my choices, and learn to bite my tongue when something frustrates me. I am not perfect, I make mistakes. But I try my best to learn from them and pass the knowledge along.

My biggest weakness is that I am pretty anti-social. I’d rather be alone than in a crowded room. I often decline invitations to events because I don’t want to have to deal with people. Not that I don’t like people, I just find it hard to socialize with strangers, and some times even people I know.

I work in retail. I deal with the public for a living. I find myself feeling constantly at work that I am “in the zone”, meaning dealing with people at work is kind of like being in a constant ad-libbed play. My character “work Jason” is social, friendly, and pleasant. While there is no set script, there is the image to uphold and stay in that character for the sake of my job. When I get home though, that character fades away and I’d rather be alone, or solely with my husband. I don’t want to make small talk, or don’t want to have to mind what I say, I don’t want to have to be worried that everything I say and do is being scrutinized. That’s how being in public feels to me. I am working on this issue.

There is a guy I work with that will soon be my neighbor. He (and some mutual work friends sometimes) has asked me repeatedly to hang out, see a movie, go to dinner, or participate in some other activity. I’ve repeatedly said no, or just not answered at all, because I would feel awkward. I know there is a difference between “work Jason” and real Jason. I don’t know if the problem is that I don’t want people to realize there is a difference, or that I’m afraid that once they realize there is, I’ll not be “friends” with him (them) anymore. Maybe I’m just afraid of trying something new.

I need to get over this. A few friends and my husband have suggested that I am afraid of what people think of me. I don’t think that’s the case really, as I don’t care what people think. I care what I think, and that is the problem. I’m constantly self criticizing. Does what I say make sense? Do I make too many hand gestures while speaking? Do I talk too much? Too little?  Am I veering off topic? If I do change the topic, does anyone want to hear about what I am bringing up? Am I being delightfully funny, or just cracking jokes to mask my discomfort? The thoughts in my head about my social awkwardness are endless. I often look back on conversations and belittle myself for saying (or not saying) something.

The mask of the internet has been somewhat helpful. I can interact with friends (usually friends from long ago that I rarely see in person) and it isn’t as awkward as being in their presence. It gives me time to re-read what I am saying before sending and not feel self conscience about it. There is no fear of being considered weird afterward because I’ve over thought it beforehand.

The solution here, I believe, is that I need to have more confidence in myself. It is my goal to achieve this soon. My plan of action is to be more social, starting this week. I will be less like “work Jason” and strive to hide behind my keyboard less. I will try to think less about what I say after saying it. Quit over thinking, and thinking back on conversations I have had in the recent past. And most importantly, I will not be afraid to be in social situations, just because I might or might not find it awkward.

Hopefully I will have good progress to share with you in the days and weeks to come.

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