People Ponderings

I Suck at People-ing IRL


It started with my congratulating this gorgeous, radiant, curvy woman on her pregnancy. You know not to do that, right? Especially if a woman has not told you directly from her mouth that she is having a baby? Even if you were previously a childbirth doula and have always recognized the “glow” and have never ever before been wrong??




I was wrong.


She wasn’t pregnant! Even though she looked 8 months pregnant! I knew better! Even gave others advice not to comment on other’s possible pregnancy. Doh! I made an awkward situation for both her and myself and she is someone that’s going to continue to be in my life as an authority figure type.

Here’s what I did. I removed myself from her presence saying to myself, Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. Then I went back to her apologized, self- depreciated (if done in the right way self- deprecation is a great tool) and lied and told her people have told me I look pregnant before. “Lie” because while I have a bit of a pudgy belly atm I haven’t looked pregnant since I actually was 8 months pregnant. Fortunately this smoothed it over with her but, SHIT!


Second example, I’d been noticing a skater at the rink who was obviously a derby girl and I’ve been admiring the graceful way she skates for months (I skate at the rink every Monday). 

We happened to be at the water fountain at the same time and when I saw her face I was excited that I recognized her. Hey, I know you – we tried out for derby together in January! She looked a little shocked, showing no recognition, and then said noncholantly, I dunno, maybe and skated off.



She had been at the same derby tryouts, and we had talked multiple times during the event, but I had injured myself during tryouts and couldn’t continue whereas she apparently eventually made the team. To see her awkward skating from January to the skating level she is at now was exciting to me. I thought about how the two other girls who I had also tried out with made the team and when I congratulated them they appeared not to recognize me as well. I felt… Invisible. 

It’s hard for me to realize not everyone remembers people’s faces like I do. I log most people into an “important” category in my brain. These girls were important because I had been agoraphobic for years and trying out for derby was very important to me, therefore these girls were important to me. More on my previous agoraphobia in a minute.

The third recent example where I screwed up socially was today after my kids’ swim lessons. We stayed later even though we weren’t supposed to because we don’t have a membership to the Y. A man walked up to me, introduced himself as the aquatic director and said, Do you have a minute?  I felt extreme panic and I roughly said, NOW? No.

My reaction was due to my perception of him. His whole persona screamed SALES to me and my reaction to that is always fight or flight.



I became irrational. I was rude. I feel like shit about it because the reality is I had no idea what he was actually going to say and I just shut him down.

He may not have known it. None of these people know that inside I’m torturing myself, analyzing what I’m doing right or wrong in these interactions. Feeling the extreme pain of disconnection that is now evident as I’m actually trying to be social.


My wise mind tells me that this’ll get easier and one day I won’t analyze so much or be so self-conscious. Just like there fact that 4 years ago I couldn’t even grocery shop due to my agorophobia but now I’m out and about every day with no thought of it. I’ll get there.

How I became agorophobic was a result of withdrawing from the Church due to spiritual abuse. That combined with clinical depression and an introverted personality, grew into a monster which I’ve been fighting to free myself from the past 3 years. Fortunately I’m winning the fight, but it feels like I’m failing.


Because now what is happening is that instead of wanting to hide I want to be seen and loved.


The above image is only what I think I must look like, but the reality is I have a calm exterior and I’m someone people don’t notice. Unless they are trying to manipulate me in someway. 

Thoughts? What are some awkward social situations you’ve been in? 

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23 thoughts on “I Suck at People-ing IRL

  1. Yup, I’m an awkwardly socially skill-less person too.
    Today I was parking at the school and there was a lady standing in the car park I was trying to pull into, she was talking to my car park friend who I try and park next to each day… So she tried to make herself super squished against my friends car whilst continuing the conversation. Then because I was so busy being careful not to hit her I was super crooked and was almost taking the car out on the other side. To which she said, ‘Oh don’t worry, it’s my car’. I’m thinking SHIT I should have just parked somewhere else because now, not only have I nearly hit her car, but I’m interrupting THEIR conversation. Anyway, I got into the car park and then sat there like an idiot while this women talked weird nothingness and laughed and was all cheerful and weird as shit. About 10 minutes in she stops and looks at me and says, ‘I don’t think we’ve met, I’m (BLAH BLAH BLAH)’ I actually didn’t get her name. Anyway, they kept talking, with me on the periphery, nodding and smiling and half attempting to laugh… I mean what do you say when someone looks at you laughs and says ‘we have cows now’? I dunno, I’m not much of a small talker. I know ‘that’s nice’. If only I could think of that at the time, thing is I don’t think she was ACTUALLY talking TO me… Maybe that isn’t me being socially awkward. I dunno, I know I felt like I was though.

    Normally, instead of displaying my inept I just sit/stand quietly on the side and don’t speak. It’s so much easier! Though sometimes I’m sure just my mere presence is socially awkward. I feel like I’m 10 feet tall wearing a huge beacon. And not in a good way. I hate feeling obvious. Does that even make sense?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it totally makes sense. I love the way you described it (“like I’m 10 feet tall wearing a huge beacon.”) Typically I feel invisible until I speak and then my brain tells me (whether it is right or wrong, who knows) that the other people think I’m odd and don’t know what to make of me.

      Thanks for sharing your example of an awkward social situation. It made me laugh because people like her (peppy, happy, outgoing, carefree) are like aliens to me. I have no idea how to interact with them. I imagine my expression is wide-eyed and afraid whenever they get near. LOL.

      From what it sounds like she probably wasn’t talking TO you. She probably was just sharing and laughing about whatever she wanted to share and laugh about.

      Here’s the thing that I absolutely don’t understand and I think I might be a bit judgemental when others don’t do it the way I think they should. If I’m in a social situation and talking with someone if someone else comes into the conversation I think it’s rude of the person who knows the person coming in not to introduce the new person because it leaves the person coming into the conversation feeling like a third wheel unless they all know each other. I think it may be the British part of me that detests that this doesn’t happen. I don’t know. I just don’t like people feeling uncomfortable.

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  2. I’m the opposite on faces. I’m terrible at them. And I’m even worse at remembering names and matching names to faces. Somebody will introduce themselves, and I’ll realize five minutes into the conversation that I’ve already forgotten their name. So if we met months ago, and you recognize me but now I’m ignoring you, it’s nothing personal. Its not a snub, it’s just my memory for faces is crapping out on me again.

    When I taught Sunday School (at the UU) I had to have the kids keep wearing their nametags way past when most classes would have stopped. I had to explain to the kids the first day about this, that it would take a really long time for me to learn their names. I guess it’s a good thing I never became a schoolteacher, and needed to learn all those names every year. I’d be overwhelmed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You too! Like Peter. Wow, this is so interesting to me. I was just commenting that I really appreciate this perspective because I tend to assume everyone’s brain works like mine. Now I need to realize there is no good reason to take it personally. Good to know.

      That was a very smart move about the name tags. I find it’s always really difficult when people have very common names to remember them. Like you, I’m really bad with names. Since I can remember faces what I do is when I’m looking at someone’s face I will say their name over and over again and I find that helps…a little. Typically I’m too embarrased that I forget the name that I just wait til I see them in a social situation and they introduce themselves to someone else. Lol.

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      1. Name tags are just so helpful in social settings.

        I remember a fellow minister telling me a story. He had been assigned as an assistant minister to a Church that had two places where services were held. In the smaller centre services were held only once a month. After he had been there a year he realised there was a lady who attended the monthly services at the smaller centre that he knew by sight but not by name. Because he had been there a year he felt uncomfortable asking her what her name was. So he asked other members of the church and eventually he discovered that not one of them knew the name of this lady even though she had apparently been attending for some years.

        Consequently he sought to introduce name tags.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh no. Poor lady! If someone gives any indication of not knowing my name I’ll say, “I’m so sorry – I forget your name…mind’s [Quixie], by the way.” I hate when others feel awkward so I try to help them out. Coming across as a little ditzy/forgetful I’ve found often helps in many situations. Lol.

          Name tags are a better idea, though. I’m very visual so I’d everyone had a different colored name tag I’d remember names very quickly.

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          1. ” I hate when others feel awkward”
            I know how you feel I sort of get embarrassed on behalf of other people.

            It was a bit like once when I upset my mother I got upset because I upset her. I tend to be very good at hating myself.

            No wonder I bought into the total depravity aspect of religion. I never had any trouble seeing myself as a sinner, yet to the outside world I was a paradigm of virtue, I mean to say I have never even had a parking ticket. But I saw myself as the worst ever sinner.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. It was the heart part that saw me condemn myself along with sins of omission.

            I concluded that I was a natural coward and decided that I only obeyed human and divine laws out of a desire to avoid punishment rather than out of love.

            Though in later years as I became involved in Christian ministry and spoke with more people about their inner feelings I came to see that me issues and concerns were not uncommon, though they were not universal. By contrast some Christian folk felt nothing of cheating on taxes and the like and still thought they were virtuous Christians.

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          3. “I concluded that I was a natural coward and decided that I only obeyed human and divine laws out of a desire to avoid punishment rather than out of love.”

            Coward?? Nah. People obey laws due to fear of punishment OR that they obey laws because they figure it’d be the wisest thing to do (or both). When I think of love I don’t think of “obey,” the two are as far apart in my mind as can be. For example, I never obeyed my parents because I loved them. I obeyed them because I either thought that they were wise in their rules OR I was afraid of being punished. In loving my parents I might decide to do or make something sweet for them when I didn’t have to.

            That is very interesting that you were able to see people’s inner feelings exposed, see what’s behind the mask. Do you think some people feel more or less guilty about things because they were raised to feel more or less responsibility for their actions?

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          4. “Do you think some people feel more or less guilty about things because they were raised to feel more or less responsibility for their actions?”

            I have concluded that both nature and nurture influence who we become and how we think. I see it as almost an even 50/50 split. In my case though I know that my nature is the dominant factor. Although I was raised in a religious family it was a loving family and there was never any mention of Hell, also the church of my childhood and youth was a very a ‘Jesus loves you this we know’ type church, no fire and brimstone.

            I only later really considered issues like Hell when in my 20’s I dived into religion wholeheartedly and did a lot of reading outside of what was the main fare in my church of the time.

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  3. I know something of how you feel about the awkwardness.

    I don’t suppose you ever saw the movie ‘Two Weeks Notice’, in that movie Hugh Grant says to a large lady, ‘and congratulations on the baby’ she responds indignantly, ‘baby, what baby!’.

    When I was young I had platinum blond hair that caused me to stand out. I hated it, I just wanted to be obscure in the background but I stood out.

    I am not good at remembering faces, I am better at names. Mostly if I come across an acquaintance from the past they will recognise me and I might just work out who they are. Some years ago I was living interstate and transiting back home through a third city, I was on the airport bus. A lady sat down next to me and started to talk with me, she clearly knew who I was but I had no idea who she was, So I did my best to engage in the discussion what centred around my time at university. I never did work out who she was.

    The irony is that when I was at university I was actually quite outward going in classes, indeed I was that annoying student who answered all the teachers questions. I was always able to talk at length about topics unrelated to me, but not at all about myself.

    One thing I always found tricky is detecting when people are being ironic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. Yes, I did see that scene in Two Weeks Notice! I had forgotten about it. I guess on the plus side, when I see movie scenes like that they’ll make me laugh even harder having experienced that faux pas!

      You standed out because of your plantinum blonde hair, huh? When I was a kid I moved from the UK (where my mom was stationed as a American military officer) back to the US. I stood out because I had a British accent AND I wore very conservative school-uniform like clothing. I was so not cool so I was made fun of.

      Then I became less uncool when puberty hit. Everyone kept growing, except me. I stood out as the shortie (I’m just under 5’0). Lol. I hate standing out!

      That’s interesting that you say you are better and remembering names instead of faces. I appreciate your sharing that because I think sometimes I just assume everyone’s brain works like mine. I need to remember this so I don’t take it so personally when people don’t remember me. Now, what I do get is a lot of people telling me, “You look just like this person that I know” which is interesting because I don’t think I have a common look.

      Thanks for sharing about some of your social awkwardness. Makes me feel better. 🙂

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      1. Quixie we are all the same and yet different.

        What I learnt in Christian ministry was that once you got to know people you found a whole different side of them. Many of us put on a sort of mask when we communicate with others as we tend to fear that if people knew what we were really like then they may reject us or think poorly of us.

        I also concluded that most people are far less secure than they appear. This is one reason why people can have powerful emotional reactions to the Christian message. The idea that an all powerful deity knows us faults and all and yet still loves us unconditionally is immensely attractive to many of us. It is little wonder then that when we buy into the message we be moved emotionally. The thing about emotional reactions is that they are very powerful and rarely logical. Emotion tend to overwhelm reason, we see this especially so in the fear reaction.

        Ah the fear reaction, that is the other side of the religion trick. So if the idea of unconditional love is not sufficient to emotionally set aside reason then the idea of Hell will work on the fear emotion and that will often do the trick.

        For a number of years as a Christian I thought about Hell in some depth and it never made any sense to me, but fear was there to whisper in my ear, ‘but what if’.

        So one can see that the religions that endured are those that developed a method to play deeply into human emotions. This emotional response causes so many to set aside a reasoned consideration of evidence and instead to fall back on Holy Mystery as a term to cover those matters that clearly make no logical sense.

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        1. Peter, I appreciate your perspective.

          I have to say for me it’s been a very bizarre and slow realization that I am the only one who has access to my thoughts. On some level it makes me feel very alone, however it had matured me, I think, because once I realized there were no gods who could read my mind I realized at the same time that NO one could read my mind and thus I need to give others the benefit of the doubt. For some really strange unhealthy reason I had thought that if God was not helping me fit in socially then either I was doing wrong or others were doing wrong. Now…I think I may be overthinking it. lol.

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