Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Adventures In Social Anxiety: There's A Pill For That

If you ever meet me in passing, chances are you will think I'm a giant weirdo.

No, really.

I am so ridiculously socially awkward. I have no idea how to make normal small talk. I want so badly to make a good impression and it's almost like my brain shuts down so that all it can do is attempt to make people laugh in bizarre ways (my default setting). In new company I am almost always either way too honest or I make a deprecating joke that would be totally acceptable for close friends but is borderline offensive to most strangers. The end result of this is people thinking I'm a giant bitch or a weirdo. Or both.

If I could just stop talking after the initial "Hi, nice to meet you!" there would be no problem, but I can't do that. Another thing I tend to do is word vomit the absolute strangest thoughts I've ever had like a really bad 'best of' tape. For instance, a really great plot for a slasher flick (I got very blank stares) or my family's lineage (OHMYGODKARLA,NOONECARESSTOPTALKING). Were it fully functioning my brain would say "Hey Karla, let's not share this weird (but awesome) idea for a movie to total strangers who don't know you and thus don't know that you're a perfectly sane and reasonably adjusted person". Instead, my brain says "TELL THEM. TELL THEM EVERYTHING. MAYBE THEY WILL LAUGH....WHY AREN'T THEY LAUGHING. OH GOD, THEY'RE STARING, MAKE A JOKE. QUICK!"  and after that flops I'll probably involuntarily make a quip about something offensive and it either gets better or much, much worse depending on the company.

I think maybe I try too hard.

Perhaps the worst part of all of it is that afterwards I can't stop thinking about the horribly awkward exchange. How I came off like an incredible jerk-wad and how perhaps for the sake of society I should bury my head in the sand AND NEVER COME OUT. Of course the reality of the situation is that this stranger probably forgot about me immediately, or even better - not thought anything was awkward at all. And really, it shouldn't matter so much what people who don't even know me think. I have friends who love me (see: tolerate me), a family who thinks I'm cool and a boyfriend who somehow finds me endearing. It still matters, though. I hate it, but it still matters and until I learn not to give a damn my brain will continue to sabotage my attempts at making a good first impression.

So. Hi there! Nice to meet you! Have you heard the one about the nun, the vampire and the rapist who walked into the bar?

 Cried every awkward person ever.