12 behaviors that make you seem socially awkward (but are easy to stop)

In a world where connections and interactions can make or break your personal and professional life, being socially adept is more important than ever.

However, even the most well-intentioned individuals can inadvertently display behaviors that come across as socially awkward.

The good news is that many of these habits can be easily stopped with a little self-awareness and practice.

In this article, we’ll reveal 12 behaviors that may be holding you back from reaching your full social potential, and we’ll provide practical tips for eliminating these faux pas from your repertoire.

It’s time to take charge of your social life, transform your interactions, and make lasting impressions that count.

Let’s get started!

1. Trying too hard

Ever noticed how confident individuals seem to navigate social situations effortlessly? The secret lies in their authenticity.

When you try too hard to fit in, altering your behavior to suit the situation, it can come across as forced and unnatural, making you appear socially awkward.

People can quickly sense when someone isn’t being genuine, and this can create an uncomfortable atmosphere.

Embrace your true self and let go of the need to please everyone.

When you’re genuine and relaxed, you’ll feel more at ease, and others will find you more approachable and relatable too.

Remember, it’s better to connect with those who appreciate your unique qualities than to put on a facade just to fit in.

2. Assuming the worst of others 

A key to appearing at ease in social situations is adopting a positive mindset about the intentions of those around you.

When you assume the worst of people, you inadvertently project a negative aura that can make you seem socially awkward and cold. 

Doubting your place in a social setting can fuel your insecurities and create an uncomfortable vibe.

Instead, remind yourself that most people are welcoming and open to new connections.

By embracing the idea that you are wanted and valued in social situations, you’ll feel more confident and relaxed.

3. Staying stuck in your routines

It’s natural to find comfort in routines, but social situations often require us to step out of our comfort zones and adapt to changing circumstances.

To appear more socially adept, practice flexibility and openness to new experiences.

This adaptability will not only make you seem more approachable but also help you enjoy a variety of social encounters.

Now, I need to clarify it’s essential to strike a balance between flexibility and maintaining your boundaries.

While it’s important to be open to change, you shouldn’t feel compelled to agree with everything or participate in activities that make you uncomfortable.

Know when to gracefully decline or exit a situation, and remember that prioritizing your well-being is a crucial aspect of social adaptability.

4. Being too clingy

While finding a social group that embraces you is a wonderful feeling, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance between being connected and overly clingy.

Socially adept individuals understand the value of personal space and the need for occasional solitude.

Recognize that everyone, including your social group, has interests and activities they may wish to pursue independently.

By giving others room to breathe and respecting their personal boundaries, you demonstrate emotional maturity and make your presence more enjoyable.

Remember, a strong social life is built on a foundation of mutual respect and understanding, allowing both togetherness and personal growth.

5. Taking charge all the time

While it’s true that social situations occasionally require someone to step up and take charge, it’s essential to recognize that leadership isn’t a fixed role assigned to one person.

Embrace the collaborative nature of social groups and avoid the urge to take control, particularly when you’re new to the group or outside your comfort zone.

Being socially adept means knowing when to lead and when to follow.

Offer your guidance when it’s genuinely needed or requested, but also give others the opportunity to contribute and shine.

This balanced approach will not only make you more approachable but also foster a sense of inclusivity and camaraderie within the group.

6. You don’t smile

A smile, whether genuine or not, can make a world of difference when meeting new people.

It helps create a positive first impression and signals that you’re approachable and friendly.

While a sincere smile is always preferred, sometimes faking a smile is better than no smile at all, especially in situations where you might feel nervous or out of your comfort zone.

By making an effort to smile, even if it doesn’t come naturally at that moment, you’re signaling your willingness to engage with others and create connections.

Over time, as you become more comfortable in social settings, you’ll likely find that your smile becomes more genuine and effortless.

So, go ahead and put on a smile – it’s a simple yet powerful way to boost your social presence and make others feel at ease.

7. Not wanting to be involved

Being present in a social setting is not only a matter of respect, but also a key factor in making genuine connections.

When you’re physically present but mentally checked out, it sends a signal that you don’t value the time spent with others.

This behavior can make you appear socially awkward, especially if you don’t want to be there in the first place.

To avoid this, make a conscious effort to engage with those around you, even if it’s not your ideal situation.

Active participation, such as showing interest in discussions and decisions, helps create a welcoming atmosphere and foster authentic relationships.

When you’re present, you’ll find that others are more likely to reciprocate with their attention and energy, resulting in a richer social experience for everyone involved.

Remember, social situations are about building connections and finding common ground.

So, embrace the opportunity to be present and engage with others, even if it’s not your first choice.

You’ll not only avoid appearing socially awkward but also potentially discover new experiences and meaningful relationships.

8. Not giving eye contact

Eye contact is a powerful non-verbal cue that signals engagement and attentiveness in social situations.

Failing to make eye contact can create a barrier to meaningful connections and make you appear socially awkward.

When in a social setting, make a conscious effort to maintain eye contact with those around you.

This not only shows that you’re an active participant in the conversation or activity but also helps others feel acknowledged and valued.

Keeping your eye level the same as everyone else’s demonstrates that you’re present and engaged, making it easier for others to connect with you.

Remember, eye contact is a simple yet powerful way to enhance your social skills and create a welcoming atmosphere.

So, look up and make eye contact – you’ll be amazed at the positive impact it can have.

9. Close yourself off

Closing yourself off in social situations can create a barrier to authentic connections, making it challenging to build meaningful relationships.

It’s important to recognize that emotional walls can be a defense mechanism, but they can also limit your ability to connect with others and experience the richness of social interactions.

To avoid appearing socially awkward, make a conscious effort to open up and be present in the moment.

By showing interest and actively participating, you signal that you value the time spent with others and are willing to build authentic connections.

Remember, vulnerability is a crucial aspect of building genuine relationships.

While it can be challenging to open up at times, the rewards of authentic connections are immeasurable.

So, take a deep breath, break down those emotional walls, and embrace the opportunity to connect with others in a meaningful way.

10. Taking too much or too little space

Taking up too much or too little space can send unintended signals and create barriers to building connections.

To avoid appearing socially awkward, it’s important to be mindful of the space you occupy and adjust accordingly based on the situation.

A good rule of thumb is to take up the space that feels comfortable when you’re alone and adjust as needed for the activity.

For instance, in a crowded club, you may need to get up close and personal with others to fully engage in the environment.

On the other hand, in a coffee shop, it’s perfectly fine to stretch out and claim a little extra space.

11. Copying others

Imitation is a sincere form of flattery, and it’s a good way to blend in with the crowd.

However, you must keep your individuality in social situations, otherwise, people may start thinking that you have nothing valuable to contribute.

It’s fine to have someone in your group that you look up to, but excessively copying or taking after them won’t be seen well.

At best, you could be called insecure or trying too hard; at worst, it might seem like borderline stalker behavior.

12. Expecting everything to go smoothly

Finally, something I’ve noticed that socially awkward people often trip themselves over is the false expectation that social encounters always have to go well. They don’t.

Like the reasons I gave above, there will be situations where you (or them) just aren’t feeling it today.

There’s no need to try so hard with social encounters: the entire point is to simply spend time outside of yourself.

That means taking the good with the bad, or just the so-so without expecting too much of yourself or other people.


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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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