Im Odd. I’m Awkward. I’m Me

As I’m a BIG BOSS now, I’ve moved up in the world and am now mixing in much higher social circles. Take today, for instance. I’ve been invited to a drinks reception at a fancy city centre location. It starts at such and such a time with complimentary wine, followed by speeches, but I’ve been told to arrive 20 minutes early in order to ‘mingle.’ I’m not quite sure what this means, but it I’m about to find out.

Mingling sounds ominously like having to socially interact with total strangers with whom I’ve nothing in common bar we’ve been thrown together at this event. Neither of us particularly want to be there but it goes with the job, so tough luck matey. I’d much rather be back at the coal face, getting on with the actual work. Which, sad man that I am, I find incredibly interesting.

But here I am, suspiciously eying up all around me, while nibbling on a lukewarm cocktail sausage. I’m socially awkward, a floundering fish out of water when it comes to small talk and networking events. Whereas others hold court and strut about like proud peacocks, I cringe and want to curl up in a ball until it’s all over. I nod and smile, but inwardly I’m dying the slowest of deaths.

So think of me, when you read this. Any survival tips would be much appreciated. Failing that, feel free to list any topics for inane conversation which might while away five minutes or so. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be the one hiding behind the potted plants in the corner, desperately trying to avoid eye contact with everyone. I’m odd, I’m awkward but I doubt I’ll change how. I’m me.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 15 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

68 thoughts on “Im Odd. I’m Awkward. I’m Me

  1. I used to be the king of mingling FF. I am what is known as a social butterfly. But the only advice coming to mind as I read your piece is from “Point of No Return” starring Bridget Fonda. Anne Bancroft teaches her a few things at etiquette class. One being to use of the phrase, “I never did mind the little things much.” Oh, and to enter a room smiling… it puts people at ease. Good luck my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Second person I follow to make a post like this in the last 24 hours.

    It’s all about accepting that you’re fine the way you are. So long as you’re not hurting anyone, there’s nothing wrong with being unique or different. Stop worrying about people thinking you’re odd, and just keep pushing through. You’ll be an expert at dealing with people in no time.

    On my end I was REALLY bad at talking to people when I was younger. I pushed myself through three years of public speaking classes in high school to overcome it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Whenever you ask them about themselves and their lives, you won’t have talk much. Listen and try to remember one thing about them that is personal. It might come in handy next time you meet them. And I don‘t mean it cynical. Just be interested: it makes a difference 🙂

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  4. With every new door and advancement you will feel like an imposter. As a new grad and RN awaiting my board results I had to fake it until I felt it. This is really role play and acting your part is all that’s required. When questioned if I’d ever started an IV before I said with a grin “You’re my first today!”. Think of the person you must admire in this role and practice what you see them doing. Create a script of things you’d enjoy talking about and find one or two people who seem the most layed back and see how much you have in common. You can do this👍👏👏👏

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  5. Sounds like a couple people I know. Introvert. Good people but need to recharge after every public outing. Me? Where I was intimidated in my 20s and 30s, I learned to ask questions, listen, and engage. I now get my energy FROM people. But I still like to observe and listen.

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  6. You could always ask them if they have read, or indeed written, any good books lately. (They may well say the latest book by whichever business guru is in vogue at the moment – so you’d better be prepared for that one). Or, better still, say “This is not my REAL job of course, I’m a writer” (and look wistfully away) to see what the reaction is.

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  7. I feel your pain! Larger gatherings of people have never really been my thing but usually, if I can find one person with something in common then I can interact with just that person and get along pretty well. Then I go home to some seriously needed recharge time!

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  8. Yeah, mingling is hard. Events with people you don’t know can be difficult. I often adopt a persona. I wonder if anyone gets that I’m not myself, I’m actually channelling J-Lo.

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  9. Condolences on your upcoming time of torment. Extroverts (like me and probably your superiors) have no idea how stressful a setting like this can be for the more introverably-oriented. Here is an idea to ponder: assume that others who are there mingling are just as uncomfortable with it as you. Sidle up to them and say something like, “So… what do you suppose we are actually supposed to do right now in this ‘mingling’ time?” They will probably be relieved to have found a kindred soul.

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  10. First, pick a drink you don’t like and nurse it throughout the “mingling” part. It will save you from potential embarrassing moments from imbibing too much.

    Next, everyone wants to talk about her/himself. Have a repertoire of questions that will get people going and all you have to do is smile and be attentive. You don’t have to make conversation…they will.

    Good luck! It worked for me.

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  11. Totally get it. In fact, I was at a wedding alone this weekend and outside of the family of the bride I knew no one. I kept escaping to my car, or walked around the grounds of where it was held, and that worked for some especially awkward times. I also took a lot of pictures….until my phone died (it was at 100% at the start of the wedding.) Thankfully the father of the bride, my long time friend, made me pull up a chair to their table for dinner or I would have just disappeared. It was held about a three hour drive away from my house, so shortly after the dancing began I made my excuses. And celebrated the whole way home. My job was done.

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  12. I agree with everyone. As a fellow introvert I simply don’t small talk, forcing conversation about inane things is uncomfortable for everyone. The best thing really is to be a great listener. And if a subject you’re comfortable with naturally comes up? Take the reigns and talk it up! What you see as awkward will really be quiet, sharp, thoughtful.. all those 😎things. You’re gonna be fine!

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      1. We’re best in our hidey holes aren’t we? Although now I like to think that I’ve cultivated a nice brand of awkweird. Unapologetically eclectic. As an art major I found confidence in it. It’s enviable really. So many people try too hard, leaving little room for a real personality to show. That’s boring. You’re an author now, that’s art. Be an artist.

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                  1. Other than awkweird. I like epiphanope- super awesome idea that isn’t. Or adding nope to everything. Not your classic portmanteau but I don’t like 8 legged nopes, Kentucky fried nope. And furscusting. How my 9 year old said disgusting when she was little. Whole family uses that one. What about you?

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  13. Since you are new to this ‘game,’ most involved will already know each other. The conversations will be in code more than likely. But if you enter the room looking like the cat that eat the bird (like a feather sticking out of your big Cheshire Smile) then you will have an upper hand to start. Then grab your drink, and only sip on it. You will finally filter down to finding one or two others that are new too. And you will all do just fine! All the best. oh, and be sure to post another article about what happens! We all want to know!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Actually, I think I would find you the most interesting person in the room. One with whom I have much in common. Well, except for that whole ‘soon to be published author thing’ you have going on. I have found that a club soda on the rocks in a short glass is a good drink to nurse on occasions like this. Asking open ended questions works for me. Sometimes I find common ground. Sometimes I learn. Sometimes I check out of the conversation and make up my story about the person. I am not an extrovert by any means, but being ready with a ‘that is so interesting’ or ‘I’ve always wanted to try that’ usually keeps the conversation flowing. My guess is that most of the people in the room will gladly talk about themselves.

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  15. I’m right there with you. I would rather being dragged through fields of cactus than attend networking events. Speaking in front of a group of 5,000? No problem. Having to make small talk one-on-one? AARGH…

    I hope all goes well. A smile and a listening ear go a long way as most everyone else s either self-absorbed or as uncomfortable as you with the whole social thing. Take care…

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  16. As a fellow introvert, I can only survive these types of things by picking out one person to talk to, for a while or for the whole evening. Maybe I’ll talk to a second. But I totally fail at the “networking” aspect as I am spending too much effort making myself stay present and not just leaving. It helps to discuss work topics, if possible, because it prevents me from discussing personal matters. It’s safer to discus with total strangers or even casual acquaintances.

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  17. I always feel like that but I am so old that I have learned social survival skills. First seek out someone looking lonesome and say hello. Once you have introduced yourselves, you can then ask open questions about their job, where they are from or even the weather. Before you know it, you have a banter!

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  18. Oh goodness…I dread social situations. It’s weird though: if I’m at a book fair/writing event, I can talk to the writers. If I run into someone I haven’t seen in a while, I don’t mind chatting. But if it’s a regular mingling type event, nope. You won’t see me at those.

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