Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to be Extremely Socially Awkward How I Spent My New Year's Eve

New Years Eve 2010
Social awkward bonus: I react to all photographs by barring my teeth and stretching my neck (some where inside of me, I think I am smiling).

I recently took one of those personality tests on the olde internets and no one will be surprised to learn I am an introvert (especially not Abby). If you have a minute and would like to read a freakishly accurate description of Sara, click here.

Social Interactions: Stage One

For me, social interactions have a predictable cycle. First, I don't know anyone. Everyone makes me uncomfortable and scares me. So I sit quietly, by myself, away from everyone else if possible and try to make myself look busy (and when busy isn't possible, thoughtful will suffice). I eat lunch alone and try to make it look like its on purpose. Eventually I will find myself in a small group of other socially awkward people and hate it. You see, deep down, in my heart, I want to pretend that I am not so awkward, that I am in fact cool and that I can hang out with the cool kids. Also, these other socially awkward people are way weirder than me. My problem is a personality flaw. Their problem is they cannot find anyone to talk with about being a ninth level dwarf wizard or something. Lucky for me someone usually makes an effort to talk to me (heavens knows why) and I can slowly integrate myself into a small group of people who I have things in common with and who generally don't frighten me too much. I typically don't have more than 10 people that I know well and talk to in any give location.

For those of you who are wondering if I was just reminiscing about middle school or high school, I appreciate your vote of confidence in me. However, I was talking about grad school math camp...five months ago.

Stage Two
Stage two of being an introvert is successfully hanging out with these 10 or so people with minimal awkwardness for extended periods of time. Despite these new friends' efforts, I will stymie all attempts widen my circle of friends. This is followed by one of three stages, depending on the timeline.

Stage Three A
In this stage, there are no major holidays or big parties (this will make sense in stage three b). Instead, I continue to hang out with my new friends on a normal basis until I overload. Imagine, if you will, that Sara is like a cup. Each social interaction pours more liquid into this cup. At some point the cup reaches a point where it just cannot hold anymore. Hmmm...This metaphor is a little ridiculous. Imagine, instead, that Sara is a person who can only handle so much people before she can't anymore. I think is is working better than the cup situation from earlier. People overload is usually accompanied by headaches, bitchiness and a need to be alone in a quiet place.

Stage Three B

There are major holidays or big parties. This usually means that in addition to hanging out with people I know, I will also find myself in some sort of group social setting with people I do not know (friends of friends). There is also typically alcohol. I can A) drink between three and five beers and fall asleep on a couch somewhere or B) drink less beers, get more and more agitated by all the people I don't know and find a corner to sit in and read the news feeds on my phone (this is how I spent my new year's eve...so now I have fulfilled the title of this blog). The phone news feeds is a new addition. Prior to this technology my corner sitting was much less interesting. Those that know me understand I am just taking a break. Those that don't know me think I am a stuck up bitch.

Stage Three C

This is probably the most effective way for me to keep from getting overloaded by people. In this scenario I only see any given friend intermittently (once a week at most) and I fail to freak out.

Stage Four
I move far away (where I have to start this entire process over again) and I pretend am still friends with the people I used to know by following them on facebook.

Frequently I will reach a people overload point where I will think about becoming a hermit. I imagine that everything would be so much simpler and less painful if I simply stopped trying to make friends and stopped trying to hang out with people. However, the truth is I don't want to not spend time with people and not make new friends. It is just that I want it to be easier and not make me feel like throwing up a little on the inside (feel free to apply that "inside" to the preceding sentence as you see fit).

— Sara


Teresa said...

I never identified these stages, but that is about exactly how every social situation I am in goes as well.... However I really do think life as a hermit would be quite nice!

Teake said...

Hi there. I was passing by your blog and I saw your entry on the fa'afafine pageant from your time in Samoa.

I really love the first photo "Faafafine Diva".
I am writing my own posts from my time in Samoa and I was wondering if you wouldn't mind if I use that photo on my blog as well, as long as I credit you in the caption and leave a link to your page. Let me know if that's okay. All the pictures I took from the pageant came out pretty poorly. Lemme know. Thanks so much!! Peace

Sara said...

Teake, you can use the pictures. I would prefer if you didn't use a photograph of Cindy of Samoa though. My blog entry on the diva show upset her and she had some harsh things to say about me and I would rather not stir it up again. I would also prefer you not use the photographs in anything that makes fun of fa'afafine or Samoan culture.


Teake said...

Okay. Thank you so much. I will not mention Cindy. And I will be sure to be respectful and not mock anyone. I am a gender studies major at school. And I spent a lot of my time in Samoa working on an extensive, collaborative, interview and independent research project with the support and approval of the Samoa Fa'afafine Association. So I can assure you, anything I post will be out of complete respect. Thank you again.

All the best.