Tag Archive | socially retarded

My socially awkward moments – Part 3

Another part of my series of articles about my socially embarrassing situations. Read part 1 and part 2.


I have to confess that I have another very bad habit. I sing a lot. I know, theres nothing wrong with singing. Unless you do it too much. My family got already used to it. Its considered perfectly normal in our house when I randomly start singing and shouting. I perform every day in the shower:

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Me and my sister love to sing together, it’s our favorite thing to do on weekends.


The problem is that I love singing too much. Sometimes I get an uncontrollable urge to sing. And the worst thing is when that happens in a public place. In such case I have no choice but to repress this urge as much as I can.

But sometimes Im walking on a street when I feel a strong desire to sing. The street looks empty, no one is around. So I take a risk and start singing. Usually I dont get caught, but it happened to me a few times that out of nowhere, a person appeared a few meters from me. Its like they literally manifested out of nowhere, and of course, theyve heard me singing. In this situations I feel extremely uncomfortable. As much as Im okay when my family hears me singing, when a stranger hears me singing, I feel like I want to disappear out of this world.

I just walk away and act like nothing happened.

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One time an awkward moment happened when I was casually having my concert while home alone. I sang my favorite songs REALLY LOUDLY. Suddenly the door bell rang and I went to open the door. It was a postwoman. She had this weird grin on her face while she was giving me my letters. As she was leaving, she told me that I have a nice voice and I should audition for X-Factor. Till this day I have no idea if she really meant it or it was supposed to be sarcasm… But I felt really awkward afterwards. I should have realized that the whole street could hear me when I was singing.

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One thing I hate is doing presentations in front of people. Sadly you cant avoid them while you’re in school. Im always extremely awkward when I speak in public. I tend to have nervous tics, I stutter, I mumble words which make no sense or forget everything that Ive learned.

I could tell you many awkward stories about how I failed my presentations, but one of them really stands out. Once I actually ran away in the middle of my presentation and went to the bathroom. Yes, you read well. My presentation was so poor and so very bad. I stuttered at every word, I forgot almost everything I wanted to say and I was so red in my face like a tomato. I choked hard and stood there, completely quiet, with my face searching for something I couldn’t find really hard, while my eyes were just staring at people with this blank face. You guys should’ve heard the ABSOLUTE SILENCE while I was struggling horribly to find something to say…

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People were just gawking at me with their eyes and mouths open……

Aladdin Genie agape jaw drop

The longer I was standing here trying to remember something and save this awkward situation, the worse I was feeling. And the more I needed to go to the bathroom… Ive literally felt like I was going to vomit in front of everyone. So what did I do? I did what I know best: I ran away.

Nope Octopus

Without saying a word I stormed out of the class, shut the door and ran to the toilet. I bet everyone was just sitting there with their mouths open asking themselves what did just happen. Everyone already knew that I was awkward, but no one expected me to run away so suddenly. The teacher sent another girl to the toilet to check if Im alright. I wasnt alright of course. I felt like vomiting, crying and ending my life at the same time. After I calmed down a little bit I wasnt sure what to do next. Should I return to the classroom and finish my presentation? Or should I return, sit on my place and act like nothing happened? When I came back to class, no one forced me to finish my presentation anymore. Thankfully, no one was laughing at me, they all looked at me like they were regretting me probably thinking: “Poor girl, she has a serious problem. I wouldnt want to be on her place”. Well, this story is maybe more sad than funny…


Ill admit it. My thoughts are really weird. If someone could see what is happening in my head, they would think I‘m psycho.

I do remember once, a long time ago, I was in class and I was staring really hard at this pencil.

And the guy next to me is like: “Hey… what are you doing…?”
Me: “Well, I was trying to imagine what it would be like if the only two entities in the universe were me and this pencil.”

The way he looked at me…

Woah!


I never know how to handle eye contact… I tend to swing between two extremes. In social situations involving conversations, either my gaze is lost in space, fixed on some random point while nonetheless listening to whoever’s talking (at least for the first five seconds if it’s something I’m supposed to be listening to, less if I don’t care, and more if I do, but yeah, I inevitably drift off), or, I look directly into their eyes, which does take conscious effort. This means I don’t blink for a prolonged period of time, and the look I give, as it’s been described to me by others, suggests either that I’m planning to kill them or that I’m ripping their mind or soul open (or something to that effect)…I had a staring contest with a friend, she ended up freaking out a bit and continuously asking me to please blink. My reply: “Hold on, I’m pushing for a new personal record.” It appears hostile, in any case, and yet I don’t mean it. But I do tend to avoid eye contact with strangers, sometimes even acquaintances, or pretend I didn’t see them.

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Another weird thing that I do a lot is that I make corresponding facial expression to my inner conversations. It happens to me all the time. Walking on a street, sitting in a bus, in a classroom… I‘m having an interesting conversation with myself in my own head and I don’t realize that the emotions I feel so deeply inside are evident on my face. This makes other people think I’m completely insane.


The thing I struggled probably the most with during my time in school was solving math problems in front of the entire class. Dont get me wrong, Im not stupid and math wasnt a big problem for me. The problem I have is that when I am called to perform in front of people, I suddenly forget everything I know, even my own name. If you asked me how much is 2+2, I would probably just look at you with a stupid gaze on my face and the answer wouldnt hit me. Thats how bad it is.

Ive had a panic attack every single time a teacher called me to solve a math problem in front of a blackboard.

It always resulted in public humiliation. The weird thing about it was that the teacher knew that I wasnt stupid and math really isnt the problem. I used to get best grades in tests. But in front of a whole class I acted like I was retarded.

After a few failed attempts, the teacher realized that I probably wont get better at it. So the funny thing was that each member of the class solved something on the blackboard and the only person who always got left out was me.


A situation that happens to me a lot:

Person: Oh my god, I love your dress! The color really suits you!
Me: Thanks! I like yours too. It’s, um…

(Internal dialogue: it suits her? No, she just said that to you, it’ll sound like you’re copying her. Nice color? Not only did she say that to you, but you’ve already said that to at least four different people today, you can’t just go around saying the same compliment to everyone. Good things about dresses, good things about dresses… damn, what are some good things about dresses? Cut? No, only people who are actually in the fashion business can talk about “cut” without sounding stupid. Size? No, always gets misconstrued as a fat joke. That decorative thing on the front? You don’t even know what it’s called! Damn, she obviously realizes by now that you’re struggling to come up with something…)
Me: I have no more compliments left!
Person: …Ooookay.

I honestly did like the dress.

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How to overcome Social Anxiety

I have suffered from social anxiety for many years and I know how limiting and horrible it feels. So I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I overcame my social anxiety and how I can help other people that are suffering from it.

I have developed a few strategies that you can use to reduce your social anxiety. These are:

  1. Learning how to challenge your unhelpful thoughts and see things in a more realistic light.
  2. Reducing your tendency of focusing on yourself during social interactions.
  3. Removing the use o safety behaviors and gradually confronting your fears.

 Challenging unhelpful thoughts

The way that we think about things has an impact on our entire life. The root of a social anxiety are unhealthy beliefs which are just thoughts we have been thinking for too long. Many of these beliefs occur outside of our control, and can be negative and unhelpful. It is therefore important to remember that they are just thoughts, without any real basis, and are not necessarily facts. Even though we may believe a lot of our unhelpful thoughts when we are nervous, it is good to remember that they should be questioned as they are often based on wrong assumptions.

You might have unhelpful thoughts about all kinds of things. Here are some examples:

Before Social Situations

  • I’ll make a fool of myself
  • I’ll have nothing to say
  • I’ll go bright red / I’ll stammer

During Social Situations:

  • Everyone’s staring at me
  • I’m useless

After Social Situations

  • Everyone thought I was an idiot
  • I’d be better off not even bothering
  • I sounded like an idiot

About Yourself:

  • I’m weird
  • No-one likes me
  • I’m not very funny

First you need to be able to recognise an unhelpful thought. Then you can challenge it. Being aware of the common patterns that unhelpful thoughts follow can help you to recognise when you have them. Here are some of the common patterns that our unhelpful thoughts follow:

Predicting the Future:
When we are shy or socially anxious it is common for us to spend a lot of time thinking about the future and predicting what could go wrong, rather than just letting things be. In the end most of our predictions don’t happen and we have wasted time and energy being worried and upset about them. For example:

  • You worry that you will go red, stammer, and that everyone will dislike you.
  • You assume that you will be the centre of attention and everyone will stare at you.

These thoughts naturally make you anxious before you even arrive in a social situation.

Mind Reading:
This means that you make assumptions about others’ beliefs without having any real evidence to support them. For example:

  • He thinks I’m an idiot.
  • They think I look ugly.

Such ways of thinking can soon lower our mood and self-esteem.

Taking Things Personally:
When people are socially anxious or shy, they often take things to heart. For example:

  • You walk past a group who are laughing and assume the joke is at your expense.
Over Generalising:
Based on one isolated incident you assume that all others will follow a similar pattern in the future. For example:

  • Because you believe that one presentation went badly, you assume all others will follow the same pattern.
What If Statements:
Have you ever wondered “what if” something bad happens? For example:

  • What if nobody likes me?
  • What if I run out of things to say?

These thoughts also make you dread situations beforehand.

Focusing on the Negatives:
After a social gathering, you tend to focus on the parts of the evening that you believe didn’t go well. At the same time, you gloss over positive parts of the evening. For example:

  • You dwell on the one conversation which ran out of steam quickly, whilst forgetting the fact that you mingled well throughout the rest of the evening.
Labelling:
Do you label yourself with negative words? For example:

  • I’m boring.
  • I’m uninteresting.
  • I’m weird.
  • I’m unlovable.

These, often long held beliefs about yourself, ensure your confidence and self-esteem remains low.

Challenges to an unhelpful thought
Now you can challenge your unhelpful thoughts by asking these questions.
Is there any evidence that contradicts this thought?
I never run out of things to say to my friends, so why should this be different.
What would your friend say to you if they knew what you were thinking?
They would probably say – don’t be silly, you’re always good company.
How will you feel about this in 6 months time?
I probably won’t care. Even if it goes wrong I’ll have forgotten about it by then.
What are the costs and benefits of thinking in this way?
Costs: It’s making me nervous before I even go into the situation. It’s made me feel inadequate.
Benefits: I can’t really think of any.
Is there a another way of looking at this this situation?
Even if I don’t have anything to say, it’s not just up to me to keep conversations going. It’s everyone’s responsibility.

Reducing internal focus during social interactions

When we are socially anxious, we tend to spend a lot of time concentrating on our own bodily sensations during social interactions. This is because we fear that our anxiety is visible to others. For example, we may spend time trying to judge whether we are sweating, shaking, or blushing.

Although we do this in the hope being reassured that we are not visibly anxious, this strategy actually just makes things much worse. This is because we tend to overestimate how visible our anxiety is and this of course makes us feel even more self conscious. Also, by focusing on ourselves, we are prevented from fully concentrating on the conversations around us. This naturally makes it more difficult to join properly and we usually end up interacting less well than we could. This strengthens our beliefs that we are no good in such situations. The reality is that our anxiety is a lot less visible than we think. Often we have no idea if someone is anxious or not and it can help to remember this.

Similarly, when we feel socially anxious, we tend to spend time monitoring how well we are performing during social interactions. This too prevents us from paying proper attention to the conversations we are engaged in. For example, we may spend time trying to figure out if our voice sounds shaky, or go over and over the things we have said in our minds. Again, by doing so, we end up finding it hard to follow conversations which likely makes us perform worse. Given all of this, it is helpful to try to remove this tendency to focus on ourselves. Below you will find tips designed to help you during social interactions:

  • Try to spend less time focusing on your own physical symptoms in social situations.
  • Remember anxiety is much less visible than you imagine.
  • Even if you are visibly anxious, it does not necessarily mean that you will be thought badly of. Anxiety is something we all experience and it does not make you unusual.
  • Just because you feel anxious, it does not mean that you are performing poorly.
  • Remember – you are not the central focus of everyone’s attention. There are plenty of other things for people to think and talk about.
  • Really try to concentrate on the conversation you are involved in. Don’t think about how you appear or how well you are performing.
  • Don’t replay parts of the conversation in your mind, instead just focus on what is being said in the present moment.
  • We do not need to perform perfectly or brilliantly in every social interaction we have, no-one can achieve such high standards.
  • Don’t worry too much if there are silences. Everyone has a responsibility to keep conversations going. Besides, silences are ok and do not always need filled.
  • Just be yourself.’ Why bother when it is impossible for everyone to like us anyway.

Removing the use of avoidance and safety behaviors

When we are socially anxious, we tend to avoid social situations (parties, speaking in front of groups, going out). However if we keep avoiding the situations we fear, we never get the chance to prove to ourselves that we can cope in them and our confidence remains low. Similarly, whenever socially anxious people do enter the situations they fear, they tend to use safety behaviors (sticking besides a good friend at a party, staying silent when in a small group to avoid looking foolish…). Although these behaviors seem to help in the short term, they are actually unhelpful. This is because they stop people from learning that they could have coped fine without relying on such things. Therefore, like avoidance, safety behaviors stop us from learning that we can cope in such situations and our anxiety towards them continues.

Because of this, the best way to reduce our anxiety towards social situations is to gradually confront them, without relying on safety behaviors. Of course, confronting social situations can be horrifying, especially given that our anxiety levels often rise when we do it. If you repeatedly allow yourself to become involved in a short conversation, rather than avoid it, you can begin to prove that you can handle these scenarios much more effectively than you think and your confidence will soon rise.

My socially awkward moments

We all experience socially awkward situations. We all have had moments where we wish the floor would swallow us up. Its perfectly normal from time to time. But when I look back at my life, my life is a series of awkward moments. Ive had so many of these awkward situations that I can call myself the master of social awkwardness.

15 Signs You Are Socially Awkward

Today I’m going to share some of my most embarrassing moments and stories with you. All of these situations come from my past and early teenage years when I used to be the walking and talking embodiment of social awkwardness itself. I should get an award considering with how many socially awkward situations I had to deal with during my relatively short lifetime.

I’m not that socially awkward anymore. As I’m getting more comfortable with myself, it’s becoming easier for me to act like a proper human being. The fact that I can now laugh at my failures and embarrassing moments is a sign of recovery. I can assure you it wasn’t funny at all when I was experiencing them. In the middle of these situations I felt like the worst person on the planet that doesn’t deserve to be here. But now when I look back at all of my embarrassing moments, I find them quite amusing. Sure, I acted like a complete fool but at least I have now interesting stories to tell people. As horrible as it feels when these things are happening, laughing at the situation later is inevitable!

I warn you, this post is going to be very awkward. I have taken social awkwardness to a whole new level. If at the end of the article you think that I’m absolutely crazy and you don’t want to have anything to do with me, it’s perfectly understandable.

I use gifs and images to better illustrate the awkwardness of each situation. Because:

Here is a list of socially awkward moments I used to experience on a daily basis (I do some of them until this day, therefore the present tense):

  • Whenever I see someone I know in public, I avoid him or her like the plague. I’m like a ninja. I will do things that no one else will do. I can hide from any walker in the blink of an eye.

You just saw somebody you know in public and this is easier than saying

  • I would rather volunteer for the Hunger Games than volunteer to speak in class.
  • Elevator rides with strangers are my personal version of hell.

19 Everyday Situations That Are Impossibly Difficult For The Socially Awkward

  • I say “hi” to someone. It usually comes out as a whisper.
  • I tend to avoid eye contact with people.

awkward

  • I am constantly planning what I am going to say before speaking, but it never comes out the way I plan.

You make this face anytime a coworker ask you a question.

  • When I am with a friend and they’re talking to someone I don’t know, I just stand there behind them saying nothing.

19 Everyday Situations That Are Impossibly Difficult For The Socially Awkward

  • I am extremely awkward in my greetings with people and my goodbyes.

19 Everyday Situations That Are Impossibly Difficult For The Socially Awkward

  • I say goodbye to a person. Then we start walking the same way.
  • Someone calls me the wrong name. I don’t bother to correct them.
  • When I don’t feel like hanging out with someone I’m able to do anything to escape socializing. Maybe even this:

  • My dance moves result in public humiliation.

At the Club

  • I have nightmares about having to maintain conversation with a hairstylist. 

Making small talk with hairstylists.

  • My friend introduces me to someone and then immediately leaves to go to the bathroom. So much awkward staring, so much fake texting.

Eye contact. With anyone. EVER.

  • No matter where I go or whom I’m with, I always find a way to embarrass myself.
  • Eating in public usually ends like a total disaster for me.

Taco Fail

  • When a stranger stares at me I have no idea what to do.

23 Signs You're An Awkward Individual

  • My voice may crack or go high at random moments. This makes me feel even more socially awkward than ever. It is not a nice thing to happen.

Sherlock Frustrated

  • Small talk is a big problem for me. There are only two options for me: Stand there awkwardly in silence or say something completely inappropriate in hope of starting a conversation:

23 Signs You're An Awkward Individual

  • Attempting to flirt is like speaking a foreign language to me.

23 Signs You're An Awkward Individual

  • I don’t respond well to compliments and usually start jumbling words together and make no sense.
  • In casual situations involving small talk, I tend to subconsciously have a nervous tic –like biting my nails or playing with my hair.
  • When invited to a party or any other social gathering I’d rather just chill at home  than risk embarrassing myself in the outside world.

23 Signs You're An Awkward Individual

  • Sometimes I accidentally hold hands with a stranger in public transport.

Home Video Animated GIF on Giphy

  • When my casual acquaintances complain that I hardly talk, my best friends laugh in their faces, and say: She never shuts up.
  • Everyone knows the difference between my real laugh and my awkward laugh and I never know which will make an appearance.

Derek-Zoolander-Laughs-Reaction-Gif

  • When I am trying to make a joke but then forgetting the punch line halfway through.

31 Painfully Awkward Moments That Make You Want To Crawl Into A Hole


These were just random socially awkward moments I deal with regularly. Now here is a collection of some majorly awkward stories that actually happened to me. I hope I won’t get in trouble for posting them publicly on the internet. The reason I’m doing this is because I want to encourage other people that might think they are socially awkward, but in comparison to me, they’re pretty normal. And you can probably laugh at my stupid failures. Seriously, if you don’t think I’m weird already, this is going to convince you:


One day I was walking on a street and spotted a person in a distance that I know but I wanted to avoid her. I was trying so hard not to be noticed that I suddenly lost all my motor skills. I tripped and fell down epicly on the floor. Not only the person I tried to avoid noticed me but the entire street saw it.  It looked kind of similar to this:

23 Signs You're An Awkward Individual


I hate parties. I’ve been to a party only a few times in my life and regretted it later every single time. I remember very well what was it like for the first time. To begin with I didn’t wanted to attend the party at all. It was a regular Friday night after a long week of school and I just wanted to have a nice evening by myself lying curled up in bed with my laptop as usual. It could have been such a great night… But no, my friend was trying to convince me to attend this party for days. I said “no” maybe hundred times, but on the 101th time I’ve heard a small voice in my head saying: “What if it’s actually fun? You won’t know unless you try.” And then I agreed to come. The party felt like hell to me. So many people everywhere, strangers, uncomfortable small talk, no interesting conversations, no fascinating people… Soo energy draining for me. There were drunk people everywhere, awful music was playing too loudly, I couldn’t breathe in that smoke. I seriously don’t understand how can someone enjoy it. My friends weren’t even noticing me. I was just standing by myself in a corner wishing a black hole would swallow me up.

So the evening ended up being a total disaster. I felt so awkward standing there in the corner just observing and I didn’t know what to do. 19 Everyday Situations That Are Impossibly Difficult For The Socially Awkward

‘So what did I do? I ran away. Exactly like you would see it in a movie. I ran all the way home. That’s probably the best thing I could do for my well being anyway. But I could have made it less awkward if I actually told someone. Because my friends spent the rest of the night looking for me. They were so afraid, they thought someone kidnapped me or something horrible must have happened to me. They almost called the police. When they saw me the next day, they almost killed me. Thankfully I was not invited to any party since then :D.


I’m especially awkward in buses or any kind of public transport. One of my many awkward moments happened one day when I was casually sitting on a bus going to school. Suddenly an old lady came and she stood right next to me. Any normal person with a brain would say: “Please take my seat!”. But what did I do?! Instead of letting her take my seat like social norms dictate, I was too scared to open my mouth and say something! So I was just sitting there awkwardly trying to act like I didn’t notice her. I’m not a mean person, I would let her take my seat, but it was my extreme level of social awkwardness that stopped me from acting like a normal human being. It got even more awkward after some time. The old lady was showing me with her gestures that she would like to sit. Even an idiot would get it. After a few minutes of total awkwardness I stood up and ran away from the bus a few bus stops earlier I would normally, just because I couldn’t take the awkwardness of that situation anymore. Then I came late for school because I had to walk there all the way… And I bet that the old lady must have lost her faith in humanity and young people in general. Well done…

costanza-clapping

Picard Facepalm


Picture this: Your first really important exam, in a dead silent room with twenty+ people all waiting for the same thing you are: to get called up for the greatest challenge of your life. I had been waiting for like a half an hour and I was starting to get very nervous. Finally, they called my name. I got up, adjusting my professional clothing. I try to be all cool, calm and collected, because well… Anyways, ALL OF A SUDDEN: Everything slips out of my hands like:

Rafiki Drops Simba

All of my important papers, my phone and my wallet hit the floor with literally the loudest crash I have ever heard. So I try to recover myself with this stupid blush on my face and slowly bent over, scraping up my things from the floor as everyone decides to start giggling, even the director of school who is now covering his face with my application. In my head I was just like:

But I haven’t failed the exam! 😀 And this story became quite popular among our teachers. Looks like I made them laugh in the middle of such a boring day. I became famous in my school for my special power to drop things…

I came home and I felt like I want to end my life… Why do these things always happen to me?!!

dead


Okay this one is really weird… I have a very bad habit. I talk to myself. Not at all the times of course. That would look like I’m totally crazy. Usually I do it when I’m home alone and nobody can see me. I don’t know why am I doing it. Probably because my inner life is so rich and so much interesting stuff is going on inside my head that I feel the need to express it. And when I have no one to talk to, I just argue with myself. Out loud. I know it’s creepy and you’re probably thinking right now that I should get help. Well, probably I should because it’s getting out of hand. The other day I was shopping at a grocery store. You know, I’m just walking around looking for some things and I’m having a very interesting conversation with myself inside my head. In that moment I completely forgot that I’m at a public place and there are people around me. I suddenly said what I was thinking out loud! It was an inside joke and I laughed at myself afterwards! But then I came back to reality and realized what happened. Every single person was staring at me like I’m completely crazy. Like this:

I’m thinking to myself: “There’s no way back. They’ve seen it. I’m screwed.” Probably the worst few seconds in my life. In that moment I wished the universe ended. After a few seconds I turned around and walked away. In hope that I will never see these people again. I can only hope…


The following story is one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. This situation was so awkward that it gives me shivers when I think about it… And I’m not kidding you, this really happened: So the thing is my parents thought I was gay. Like SERIOUSLY! I have nothing against gay people at all. But it was the strangest thing ever to hear my parents tell me that it’s OK when I admit to them that I’m gay. (And I’m not!) I was just sitting there staring at them thinking to myself: “WHAT THE HELL?!! How did you even come up with that?!!! What makes me look like a gay person?!!”. Well, according to my mom it was the only logical explanation. She thought so because I have never dated anyone and I’m not obsessing over boy bands or actors like other typical teenage girls do, so there must be something different about me. And so she came to the conclusion that I’m gay. She must have been thinking about it for quite some time because otherwise she wouldn’t have planned such a serious conversation. I felt so awkward during that conversation like never before. I had to explain to my parents why I never dated anyone and it’s not easy to explain it to them especially when it’s so hard for me to be open to them. After that conversation, I wasn’t able to look my parents in the eyes for days… Soo awkward.

When I saw this socially awkward penguin meme I was very surprised that someone may have experienced a similar thing:

BjU

Like I’ve already said earlier, I’m the human embodiment of socially awkward penguin. Maybe after all it’s not that weird that your parents assume you’re gay when you aren’t… Or is it? Please tell me I’m not the only one.


And here’s one case I dealt with in the absolute wrongest way humanly possible: last year I was sitting at a bar and talking with a complete stranger sitting next to me for about 10 seconds. I accidentally spilled my drink all over him. And what did I do then? I backed away slowly without saying a word! I backed up all the way to the door and left. I couldn’t even get out an apology! Probably not the best way to deal with that one… Poor guy.


So, you’ve seen some of my most embarrassing moments… Now you’re probably thinking I’m the most awkward person on the planet. And maybe you’re right… If someone ever comes up with a TV show about a socially awkward girl, I should be playing the leading role. No one can beat me in this.

23 Signs You're An Awkward Individual