Monday, January 25, 2010

Social awkwardness

Thanks to Wendi Aarons I've started reading some very funny blogs, and I'm having a bit of writer's block when it comes to leaving comments. Mostly it's because I start channeling my inner gawky 14-year-old, and all my social anxiety comes back to haunt me.

As a teen-ager I was terrified of the "cool girls" at my school, which, looking back on it, is pretty funny because our entire school was made up of geeks. Really, it was like they gathered all the brainy, geeky kids from the entire district and quarantined us on one campus for our own safety. Think about Anthony Michael Hall, John Cusack and the other guy from 16 Candles, and you have an idea of our school. Don't get me wrong - I loved my school and wouldn't have survived in a normal high school for longer than a week without having a complete and total breakdown.

Even though the girls in our school were all brainy and geeky, there were the "cool chicks," and I was terrified of them, not for any good reason. They were all perfectly nice girls. I just always worried that I'd say or do the wrong thing and they'd think I was a loser. So mostly I didn't talk to them or hang out with them or sit with them at lunch.

Anyway, I've started reading these blogs, and the writers are all these funny, sharp women - the adult equivalent of the "cool girls" from school. And I'm terrified of leaving comments on their blogs, because what if what I write isn't good enough or funny enough.

This is what goes on in my head:

This is so funny. She's such a good writer. I wish I could write funny as well as she does. Am I even cool enough to leave a comment? Will she think I'm a stalker? OK, here goes.

This is such a funny post. I laughed out loud. You're awesome. Blah. Blah. Blah.
Ahhhh - I wish I hadn't submitted that. She'll think I'm awful. But if I go back and delete it, she'll think I'm crazy. I can't believe I did this.

Rather, rinse, repeat for just about every blog I read. It's exhausting. So mostly I lurk on these blogs and feel like the geeky outcast watching all the cool girls hang out together. And that makes me feel even stranger, like maybe they're watching me and wondering why I'm staring at them with a goofy look on my face.

Some days it's hard living in my brain.

And lest you think I'm only like this on the interwebs, think again. I do this with pretty much every social interaction that's outside of my tiny comfort zone. This Saturday I went to the monthly Runners' Brunch with people I've been running with for the better part of a decade, and I spent the whole time on edge, worried about how I was behaving. I was so nervous that I swung wildly between talking too much out of nervousness and being silent. I skulked on the edges, using keeping an eye on Elizabeth as an excuse (at least in my mind) for not sitting at the table and chatting. I went home tired and frazzled.

Is it any wonder I verge on being a recluse?


DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

You're not a recluse. You get to have coffee and see movies with Wendi. She's a very cool chick and so are you. I'll pretend I never read this. . .

Keeffer said...

my friends say "it must be exhausting to be you." so don't feel like you're alone.

mom and dad didn't give either of us the cool gene. but, we can't blame them. they might not have had it to give to us.

at least we got brains. i'd rather be smart than popular. (said like a true high school loser.)

Suna said...

Heh, I always wanted to be a funny blogger, but instead I turned out to be a whiny blogger. It is good to connect with others, though, and I know all those people appreciate whatever you post, even if it feels dorky. Comments make a person feel like they have a community.

Wendi said...

Here's the thing--almost everybody thinks they're a geek. And if they don't, they're not someone you want to be around, anyway.

Also, people don't really care what you say in your comment, they just love it that you're nice enough to take the time to leave one.

Finally, next time we go out to a movie, you can wear my Kate G. wig. That'll make you super cool.

Becca said...

that sounds like generalized social anxiety disorder. and it sounds exhausting and not very fun.

Gayle from PA said...

Funny! I feel this way when I leave a comment on your blog. Jeez, hokgardner is going to think I am a geek.....

Runner Dude said...

Cool gene? What is a cool gene?
Sorry about that! At least you got a sense of humor from us and no guilt complexes.

B in Austin said...

You are so cool! And Wendi is right.

Amy said...

Well, I know I'm not one of the "cool" ones, because you don't lurk at my blog, you just come right out and comment! (And I'm so glad you do!! :) Seriously - I totally get what you're saying. If I leave a comment and the blogger doesn't either reply or stop by my blog, eventually I move on, because it feels sort of... awkward. For me, I enjoy the reciprocity -- or at least feeling like I'm noticed. And I'm ALWAYS flattered by comments (since I get relatively few)!

Overall, I've found that I prefer to read blogs with smaller audiences. "Undiscovered gems," a friend once called them.

calicobebop said...

I feel the same way - you're not alone. I wish I knew where it came from. And I have given up reading blogs that I am uncomfortable commenting on. Guess I'm just a fraidy-cat!

Meredith said...

I don't know you, but could you write my next blog entry for me? And then maybe just go ahead and post the comments to it, too? Because now that I've read this I want to go same the same thing, but I can't because that would be copying. Plus, it wouldn't be funny or interesting the 2nd time around (or, if I wrote it). Thanks.

(See? You're not the only one that leaves unfunny lame "should I go back and delete that" type of comments. OBVIOUSLY, I do it, too.)

Ugh--NOT that YOU actually leave unfunny lame embarrassing omments. I have no idea. Although I'm sure you don't.

Ok, that is all. Babbling woman leaving the building ...

knittergran said...

Hey! Keeffer!
No matter what runner dude (maybe in this case, dud) says, you both got cool genes----from ME!!!
And maybe they are weird cool, but that still counts as cool, says I.

Cookie said...

This is funny... I think you're a great writer and it's hard to believe you were never one of the "cool" girls.
I'm terrified to leave a comment with a horrible typo..
Anyway, on a side note, I always think that I get more comments on a post when there is a lot of time inbetween posts! LOL

O'Pine said...

As someone who has been around you in both personal and professional settings for a LONG time, I feel like somewhat an authority on your "cool" factor.

Woman, you are a charming, smart, astute, beautiful, hilarious individual. You have an informed point of view. You have interesting experiences that translate well into conversation. And you are the nicest person in the world. I know insecurities aren't based in reality. I suffer from plenty myself. But you OWN the cool kids table now. xoxo'pine