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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How To Mask Your Social Awkwardness

 photo socialawkwardness_zpsf22417d7.jpg


Ever feel awkward in your interactions with the other humans? Are your social exchanges even more awkward than the word "awkward" itself, the most awkward word in the whole English language, a word that only increases in awkwardness the more you use it, much like my social skills?

I have an idea for how to help those who, like myself, suffer from social awkwardness, but of course it's going to take me a second to get to my point because I like to ramble and/or provide you with Entertaining Back Story.

It all started with BlogHer '12.

I hate to say it but, unfortunately, I won't be attending this year.

Don't everyone rush to get your tickets refunded! I'm sure you'll figure out a way to have the best time of your lives without me.

If anyone out there doesn't know, BlogHer '12 is a blogging conference where people come from the far reaches of the universe to finally squeeze and hug the meaty flesh versions of all the bloggy internet friends they've made, and connect with old friends and meet new friends, and dance in cute shoes and drink to excess and ride fancy unicorns and weave rainbows into calorie-free chocolate and reverse the aging process and go to the bathroom without someone asking them for more crackers. Oh, and if there's time, maybe learn something about blogging.

Or so I've heard.

On long, cold nights when drinking wine directly from the spigot on the box doesn't alleviate the soul-crushing pain of not being able to attend the conference, I sooth myself by fantasizing about what I would pack in my imaginary BlogHer '12 suitcase.

However, I got stumped when I mentally reviewed my wardrobe and tried to figure out which tank tops have the fewest stains and which yoga pants have enough life in them to be revived by a light bedazzling. This led me to visualize what it would be like to actually be at BlogHer, which led me to realize something important.

I don't translate well to the real world.

I'm shy and insecure and (as I mentioned) socially awkward and not very funny in real life. I'd either hide in my room or (on the off chance Housekeeping forced me to leave the room) I'd totally alienate the first person I recognized from the blogosphere by following them everywhere and laughing too loudly at their jokes, maybe even sitting in their lap at dinner.

My main problem is I'm just not all that great with verbal communication. Things get mixed up in my head, like worrying that I'm misremembering someone's name, or that I'm talking too much, or not talking enough, or that I've already told this story, or whatever. So generally I just freeze up, normally with a dumb look on my face.

What I need, I thought at some late, slightly inebriated hour, are emoticons for verbal conversations. That way, people would know just what I meant, like on the interwebs, without me having to figure out the complexities of their basic human interactions and pesky facial expressions.

Thus I determined that the most important thing I could pack for BlogHer, or a job interview, or even just a walk around the block during which I might run into a neighbor, are these Emoticon Flashcards* that I could hold up at the end of my sentences to clarify my meaning.
*patent pending
I've included a few photos here, to show you what a difference they'd make in those social situations when I'm forced to converse while sporting the Frozen Face of Social Terror. Like, for example, at BlogHer '12. If I were going. Which I'm not. In case you were wondering.

Response after emoticon:
Oh, I see now - you really are happy!  Ummm...maybe too happy.
Call security.

Response after emoticon:
I get it, she really is genuinely excited about learning!
What a nerd.


Response after emoticon:
Hahaha, I can see now that she's kidding.  Or possibly flirting with me.
What's taking security so long to get here?

Response after emoticon:
She may be involved in a reckless homicide, but at least she's sorry about it.
Where's my taser?


These are available for purchase in the lobby if you're interested, or can be shipped directly to your BlogHer '12 hotel room if you've locked yourself in, speaking to no one and only eating food that's flat enough to be slid under the door.

I'm here to help. :D

No wait, that was too much.

I'm here to help. :)


Please click my Top Mommy Blogs button before you leave for BlogHer '12, or if you aren't going this year, or if you're so sick of hearing about BlogHer '12 that your eyes are starting to bleed a little from the number of times I've mentioned it! ;D
Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory


Linkety Linked with Finding the Funny on My Life and Kids and Kelley's Break Room!


I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing - and so I don't get all lonely. I get extra-pathetic when I'm lonely.


54 comments:

  1. I would like to place my own order now, except I won't be attending either, so I would just have to go around and use them in the office or randomly walking down the street. That would be weird, but yet entertaining...

    Anyway, I'm awesome verbally and in person if it's with people I don't know. I can work a room like nobody's business. But when I'm around people I actually know and will have to see again, I get weird in most of the ways that you mentioned above. Things in my brain don't translate to actual conversations. I'm much better online...which isn't saying much :/ Wait...:)

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    1. I think they'd come in really handy at the office, except as far as I know there isn't a "rolling my eyes and strangling you" emoticon, which is the one I'd have used most often.

      I'd insert an emoticon there, but I wasn't kidding. At all.

      Oh, all right. :)

      Delete
  2. If I attended something like BlogHer I would probably end up vomiting all over everyone. Is there an emoticon for that?

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    1. Yup! It'd go like this:

      How disgusting - you have vomit all over your shirt! :P

      Delete
  3. :DDD (is that over-doing it?) I LOVED this post, Baby! That deer-in-headlights look is priceless, and what a great idea. I'll take a set of those cards, too. By the way, what you term "awkward social skills" really just comes off as you being super-cool. Most people just assume you are way too awesome to talk to them, as they wallow about in their own insecurities. That goes a long way toward explaining why it took us so long to get together, as fifteen years ago that insecure boob was me. ;)

    p.s. I'm sorry our current baby situation doesn't allow you to attend the conference. :( Mew. Perhaps next year? Do you think we can talk them into having that one in Chicago?

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    1. Thanks, babe! Wait until you see how many arm's-length photos there are of me saved on the computer. I bet you'll be sorry I discovered the camera's "burst" mode.

      And yes, with all those pics, this is still the one I chose. So sad.

      What do you say, everybody? Can we sign a petition to have BlogHer '13 in Chicago? Or maybe in my yard (that would be sooo convenient)?

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  4. I have thought about attending a blog conference, but then remembered I'm socially broken and shouldn't leave the house.

    I like to say (to the 2.5 people I'm comfortable talking to) that talking to people, even one person at a time, is multi-tasking for me. I have to manage listening, with thinking of things to say, with shutting off the constant stream of off-topic thoughts, with worrying about how long I'll be forced to stand (or whether I'll be forced to stand in the future, if sitting). This is without trying to keep a normal look on my face.

    So these signs would definitely come in handy, as would a Magna Doodle to write on for emergency emoticon production and/or note writing in case I get too shy to say "if I don't sit down, I will pass out."

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    1. I love "socially broken" - takes it to a whole new level. If you can survive the conversation with the sales person, the Magna Doodle is free. :)

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  5. aaahhhhh! honestly ;) we would either be the best of friends !!!!! in person :D or we would have like one of those wizard standoffs -~~~ (that's muh magic wand) where we're just silently making doofy faces at each other and no one knows we're really having a battle of social awkwardness in our heads... :) that's the most emoticons i think i've ever used put all together in one spot

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    1. That's about the most beautifully decorated comment ever! Let's be awkward best wizard friends - think you could make me a magic wand?

      P.S. I think people would know we were socially awkward while we were making those faces, even if we weren't saying anything. :)))))

      Delete
  6. As shown, we all like your level of awkward. You should release it into the world. Just don't release too much because you need to keep a certain level of awkward just for us.

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    1. Believe me, the real world is practically begging me to save all the awkward for you guys.

      Delete
  7. Sign me up for, at least, three packs of those. Because I'd probably drop the first couple packs out of nervousness. I'd also appreciate a web tutorial about how to rework my entire wardrobe with some light bedazzling.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. They come in sets of 3, as I assume at least two of them will be dropped or ruined by sweaty palms. And the bedazzling is pretty easy - just insert a gem into each snag or small hole. If that makes the article of clothing too heavy to wear, it's time it was retired to your painting/gardening clothes wardrobe.

      Delete
  8. I think you should add a decorative necklace to that so we can just hang it around our necks. That would make life so much easier. ;)

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    1. Good idea! I'll include a "my name is:" card as well, since that's a vital piece of information I often forget when meeting new people. :)

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  9. i feel a need to order a set for my homelife as well. my kids don't do well with sarcasm.

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    1. The Home Life set also includes the Angry Eyes emoticon >:| and the I Give Up emoticon <:/ as well as the It's Wine O'Clock emoticon %}

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  10. We are totally socially awkward soul mates. Maybe we should start our own conference for people like us. That would be.....terrifying. Haha!

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    1. That would be awesome! At our conference everyone stays in their hotel room and direct messages each other on Twitter. :)

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  11. I'm coming to the conference you and Delilah are starting! Love your idea with the "staying in the room and tweeting at each other".
    Sign me up for that, I will stay in my PJs the entire time (not that you could tell the difference between my PJs and my casual attire, it's pretty much the same - unless I go to work, then I throw on a red shirt).

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Doesn't that conference sound so much more relaxing? Of course only the attendees will know about the hotel-bound, tweeting nature of it; we don't want anyone's family getting any crazy ideas that we should just stay home instead!

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  12. I think a blog conference would be a fantastic learning experience but I'm afraid of the hugging. Too much hugging. And Squeeing..that unnerves me. I'm socially awkward in my own special ways.

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    1. I would suggest just wearing a vest with sharp spikes on it. Anyone who didn't think you were crazy would be too scared of being impaled to hug you. :)

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  13. I love the signs, and could definitely use a set. They'd be nice in other venues than just blogging conferences, I'm thinking I'd use them at extended family parties, talking with other parents when picking up my kids from activities, doctor visits...really the possiblities are endless!

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    1. Those are all excellent suggestions! Oh, the awkward conversations we could improve! I can already see the poorly dramatized scenes in the late-night info-mercial.

      "I really liked the cookies you brought to the PTA bake sale. ;) Oh wait, I meant :)"

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  14. I've found my kindred spirit! We could hang out in the hotel room and make fun of the woman on the elevator wearing too much makeup and how our blogs really do offer something superior to all others, if only people would read them.

    I had a woman recently say to me after reading my blog, "I didn't know you were funny." Um...thanks. Probably because the only people I can relax in front enough to be funny are my immediate family. I have to focus on writing my blog for them or my awkwardness would totally come out in my posts.

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    1. Yes! And probably the elevator lady was wearing too much perfume, too.

      I laughed right out loud at that, "I didn't know you were funny" thing. I've gotten that before, too, and I always wonder if that's supposed to be a compliment or a hint about how boring I am. Strangely, though, I have to work to NOT focus on my family while I write, or I'd be too worried about saying words like "ass" in front of my mom. :)

      Delete
  15. You are a riot. I wish you were going to BlogHer. Socially awkward or not, I'd still love to hang out with you and I would totally get your humor. TOTALLY.

    And the signs? Genius.

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    1. Thanks! I believe you WOULD get it, or at the very least let me hide behind you at the meet-n-greets. :) I wish I were going, too - maybe next year?

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  16. A big help!!! Mostly because I now feel normal. Your real world translation is a lot like how mine would be. That makes me feel much better. :D

    I long for the day where I can attend a conference like such. Blogging 3 years now, I would REALLY REALLY REALLY like to go. But seeing as how traveling to the doctor's office seems a strain on the budget as of late, I won't be making it this year either (cue violins)

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    1. Glad to hear it (about feeling normal, not the budget strains)! I feel your pain, and just keep reminding myself that by this time next year we'll probably have won the lottery or something. ;)

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  17. Sometimes I think I should attend a blogging conference. Then I remember that I'm terrified of traveling alone and I'm super anxious around people. If I ever leave my house though, I'll want a set of those flash cards. :)

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    1. Maybe we should just send pictures of ourselves holding the cards - that would be just as good as going to the conference, right? RIGHT???

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  18. I think an lol would be more appropriate after the attack on the valet...because that way, anyone involved would have to lol you back! See, now it becomes a light-hearted matter, rather than, you know...a crime.

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    1. Good point, though an lol might make them think I was joking, which would leave them at risk for tripping over his body when they left and/or possibly standing around for hours at the valet podium wondering why no one was bring them their car.

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    2. True, but you could use that to your benefit, you know, like a Weekend at Bernie's type of thing, then maybe steal some cars...

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  19. Since I've been home (SAHM) and out of the "real" world, as my husband points out...I've become more and more social awkward. It's nice to hear it's not just me. Oh, and I will TOTALLY take 2 sets of your emoticon cards. One for my smart-ass sister and one for me. LOVE them! I would absolutely talk to you for a few minutes before calling security. Although, you'd probably have called them on me already. :D

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh, "socially awkward. Not social." See? Can't even spell it anymore.

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    2. You're definitely not alone! How about we link arms and stage a coup against security - they'll never take us alive!!!

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  20. Crap, Robyn. Now you're going to make it so huge with these completely socially relevant signs, I fear you will no longer have time for this blog! Promise me you'll still make some time for the little people--your socially awkward reader clinging to your words--and emoticons--behind their computer screens...

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    1. Aggggh, can you imagine if I ever did make it big??? I'd have to be admitted to a Nervous Hospital the first time someone mentioned a public appearance. No, I'm better off hiding behind my computer. ;)

      Delete
  21. I actually laughed out loud at this, and it's rare that I actually laugh out loud at something I read. In real life, I can relate on the whole laughing TOO loud thing, but when I'm reading for some reason, I go into this weird "in my head" zone where even when I find things funny, I only smile and laugh in my head. Yeah, I know it's weird. Not sure why I felt you needed to know that random fact about me. But in the name of social awkwardness, I thought I'd share.

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    1. What an honor! I'm the same way, and I never could figure out why even super-funny stuff doesn't often make me laugh out loud when I'm reading, but now I feel a little less like a misfit thanks to you. You're like my socially awkward soul sister! Is that a compliment? It didn't sound like it for some reason, but it was.

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  22. I feel the SAME way. I think a lot of us do.
    I think all of us that feel that we just won't 'fit' with the crazy body shot, dancing on the table and extreme kind of party that BlogHer is for some bloggers should just get together and have an old fashioned sleep over......with boxed wine and krispy creme donuts.

    I would love to attend, i want to learn and soak all that BlogHer has to offer...but I'm not a big party girl, and I don't want to be lonely. :(
    Attending as a new blogger ...well that's scary. I don't want to go it alone.... anyone else?

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    1. Yeah, as much as I want to go, the thought of actually going is terrifying! I guess I'd just have to take comfort in the thought that, according to what I've read, most of the other bloggers are just as freaked out about it as I am. Hopefully that would be enough to keep me from hiding in my car. ;)

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  23. It is 12:44, and I am laughing so loud I expect someone to wake up and wonder what is going on! OMG that is the funniest shit ever. I have to get my husband to read this tomorrow. Thanks so much for the laughs.

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    1. Thank YOU for leaving such a nice comment - I don't know how it is at your house, but around here having my husband read something means it was purty damn funny. I'm going to assume that's what it means for you guys, too. ;)

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    2. Yes! And he had a really good laugh over it as well!

      Delete
  24. Kelly @ In the Mom LightJune 15, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    OMG! So glad I'm not the only one who feels like this... and I'm not going to BlogHer'13 either :-( I feel like I'm not funny in real life and I say stuff and people just stare with the long awkward pause... anyway, I'd like to get some of these life emoticons.

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  25. I didn't go last year, but I am going this time and I could not be more terrified - alienating people in real life is sort of my thing. I'll have to actually make some of these emoticon cards this year. And hide behind them.

    ReplyDelete

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