Let’s face it, in today’s world with most people spending majority of their day staring at a screen, it’s not a surprise that many people struggle with social awkwardness. And to top it all off, our world was hit with a global pandemic, forcing us to stay inside for months on end without the normality of society.
The New Normal
I’d like to think of myself as someone who isn’t socially awkward. But now that the world is slowly starting to open up again, I find myself feeling more and more out of my comfort zone and just plain awkward around people. I first started noticing it when I was back at work full time. Interactions that used to be normal and easy for me became a social struggle, and I felt like I couldn’t relate to people anymore. As a result, my confidence level started taking a toll. I went from expertly hiding the fact that I was still wearing pj’s on a Zoom call, to suddenly having to be in an office full of people for 9 hours a day.
After speaking to a few people, I noticed that I was not the only one who was experiencing this feeling. And this got me thinking, why are we feeling this way? What society dubs as the norm has become such an embedded habit, and most of us just go along with whatever is seen as “normal”.
During the lockdown period, most people were isolating with people they knew best, like family or significant others. In other words, we are spending months on end with a person who you can totally be yourself around. No faking, no social cues to respond to, just being the truest and most comfortable version of yourself. In my case, I spent half a year of lockdown with my boyfriend. Luckily he has become accustomed to loving me in all my comfy clothes glory.
Social Media: The Biggest Trigger of Them All
Social Media is of course one of the biggest culprits when it comes to causes of social awkwardness and anxiety. All of a sudden people are starting to be humans again and go out and see the world. Now the pressure is back on. When last did I post? Do I look good enough in that picture? How many likes did my post get? The irrational fears that social media can trigger is endless. And in the long run, all of these triggers can have a huge influence on your mental health. Focus on what’s best for you, not what you choose to show other people online.
It is important to remember that we are never alone in how we are feeling. It is completely normal to be struggling with social awkwardness when trying to move on from a global pandemic. Perhaps this should be a time when we all figure out what “normal” means to us and not what society expects from us.
For some self-care 2021 inspiration, be sure to check out our New Year, New Me…Not This Again article.