1. You nervously misspeak during simple exchanges. The waiter says “Enjoy your meal” and you reply, “You too!” An acquaintance asks “What’s up?” and you say “Fine, and you?”
2. You think of really witty responses and clever comebacks anywhere from 30-seconds to 30 days after the conversation has ended. The three words entirely too many of your thoughts begin with are, “I should’ve said…”
3. You timidly hesitate when initiating hugs or handshakes, often resulting in those awkward extend-my-hand-or-open-my-arms-for-a-warm-embrace limbos. Also you risk someone not seeing your offering and being left hanging, which is a 10 on the painful humiliation scale.
4. The internet can be your best and worst enabler. It allows you to communicate with people in a less intimidating setting, but the fact that you’re avoiding interaction in person isn’t doing your face-to-face social skills any favors.
5. On days when you’re feeling motivated to make a conscious effort to be social, you’ll make future plans. Unfortunately when that day comes, you might lack the energy and enthusiasm to follow through with them.
6. People who know how socially challenged you are get a kick out of putting you in uncomfortable situations to see how you’ll react. Things like suggesting you give a toast, calling your crush over to watch you squirm through the conversation, or nominating you to deliver an impromptu speech are a nightmare coming to fruition.
7. There are a lot of rude people in this world, and if you have the misfortune of running into one, it’s not something you can easily drop, brush off and move past. It’s a massive setback in becoming the socially competent individual you strive to be.
8. When you muster up the guts to attend a social gathering, if your friend has invited another person (or *GASP* multiple people) you’ve never met, it’s such an unexpected, stressful time. Meeting with friends and meeting with strangers entail two entirely different mindsets for those who don’t possess an abundance of social skills.
9. You evolve into an unauthentic character who isn’t at all your natural self when in certain social gatherings. Maybe your voice pitch is made to sound high and excited, or you try to be more animated, but inside you’re cringing at this façade. Minus the times when the acting job is so good that you thoroughly impress yourself.
10. You don’t always call people, but when you do, you kind of hope it goes to voicemail.
11. When people are having a discussion about a topic you’re knowledgeable on, you can’t immediately chime in like many would. Instead you bite your tongue and painfully refrain from contributing to the conversation, because fear. You don’t want to seem nosy, or for your input to fall flat. Silence ain’t social, but it’s safe.
12. You don’t necessarily smoke or do well with hard liquor, but you’ve had a cigarette or shots that were purely consumed to compensate for your lack of verbal social skills. It’s just like P.E. where you can earn a passing grade for participation.
13. Some strangers will assume you’re mean because being nervous in real life rarely equates to a charming, quirky Zooey Deschanel-esque personality. Instead, it often leads to a reserved, quiet person, which many folks assume means hostile or unfriendly. You’re like a Home Alone character who Kevin thinks is a monster for half the movie until he finally talks to ‘em.
14. After a lengthy stretch of time spent quietly looming in the shadows, you’ll feel like you want the spotlight — until it’s actually on you, then you immediately shrink and remember why you were avoiding attention.