I’m not good in group conversations. I end up being the person pushed to the side. The person walking on the grass because the sidewalk is crowded. The person who keeps trying to jump in with a funny story but gets interrupted each time and eventually gives up.
I’m the person who fidgets in the background, checking my phone and pretending to text even though there is no one for me to text. I’m the person who others try to rope into the conversation by saying, “Wow. Stop being so loud. You never shut up.” But their sarcasm pushes me even further away. It doesn’t make me feel included. It makes me feel like the butt of the joke. It makes me want to escape to the bathroom to compose myself or scramble to the parking lot to drive away and never look back.
I’m not good in one-on-one conversations either. I can never tell when someone is in the middle of a pause mid-sentence or whether they are finished with their story and expecting a response from me. I am uncomfortable with silence so I will always jump in early. I will accidentally cut people off. They will either get annoyed with how much I’m speaking or I will swing the other way and remain silent for too long and they will feel like I’m contributing nothing to the conversation. They will wonder why they are even bothering to speak to me when the best responses I can come up with are cool and that’s crazy.
I’m not good in any type of social situation. I am either overthinking or I am not thinking at all. The more I care about impressing someone, the more I end up embarrassing myself.
I don’t know how other people can walk up to complete strangers and have conversations like they have known each other for a lifetime. I struggle to talk to coworkers and acquaintances that have been in my world for months, years, decades. I am not good at small talk. I am not good at making others laugh. I am not good at getting others to open up. I am not good at much of anything.
Even over texting, I come across as awkward. That’s why I get nervous immediately after hitting send. I will write a response that is paragraphs long and worry about coming on too strong. And then I will write a one-sentence response and worry I sound uninterested.
I never know how long I should wait between messages or whether my sarcasm makes sense written on a screen instead of being spoken in person. I feel like the more I try to get to know someone, the more I push them away.
I cannot remember how I made the small amount of friends I’ve collected from high school and college, so I have no clue how I am going to make new ones in the future. I have no idea how I am supposed to act around people.