People who are socially awkward often display these 8 behaviors (without realizing it)

It pains me to admit it, but I used to be unbelievably socially awkward.

I used to ask the wrong questions, say the wrong thing, and just generally make social situations that little bit more uncomfortable.

Of course, I had no idea I was acting this way. It was only as I got older, changed, matured, and stepped outside my comfort zone that I realized what I’d been doing.

Some people are socially awkward because of their age, maturity level, or because of a neurological condition that impacts how they are around others.

So they aren’t intentionally trying to annoy you or make you feel uncomfortable.

Whatever the reason is for someone’s social blunders, they’ll usually display these 8 behaviors if they’re a little on the awkward side!

Up first:

1) They laugh when they shouldn’t

We all do it sometimes. We aren’t supposed to laugh and need to be quiet, and that just makes everything a million times funnier!

Doing this doesn’t make you a socially awkward person. But it can if you laugh at ALL the wrong moments ALL the time!

Like when your friend tells you they’ve just split up with their boyfriend. Or if a family member starts crying and you don’t know what to say.

Or even when a company tells you that you didn’t get the job, and all you do is laugh…

This is nervous laughter and it isn’t something to beat yourself up about. But it is kind of awkward for people on the receiving end of it!

2) They ask direct or highly personal questions

When I think back to all the times I asked the wrong question, I want to facepalm! I distinctly remember asking people questions that I really shouldn’t have.

Why? There’s an unspoken etiquette about what questions you should ask someone. Like how you shouldn’t ask personal questions unless you’re close or if they’re an open book.

As an example, if a new coworker has a scar on their face, asking them how they got it is a little inappropriate.

Or how you shouldn’t question why people do certain, everyday things – unless you have a really good reason to.

Like if a friend tells you they’ve just signed up for the gym, asking them, “Why would you do that?” is a bit of a socially awkward response.

If you ask questions like this completely out of the blue, it can also feel too direct for most people’s liking…

3) They talk loudly

You might not think it’s the behavior of someone who lacks social skills, but it is. When I was younger, my friends and I used to chat, chat, chat as loudly as we could.

We weren’t intentionally being disrespectful to the people sharing the library or bus journey with us. We were just talking and enjoying ourselves.

But talking loudly like this is a little awkward for everyone around you. It’s especially awkward if the people you’re with are talking quieter than you are!

Studies have found that people with emotional intelligence tend to match the tone, volume, and pitch of the person they’re talking to.

It’s also an unspoken rule that you keep conversations with the people you’re talking to a little low-key – particularly in public spaces. Not loud enough that everyone can hear.

If you don’t do this, it means you don’t pick up on social cues very well. Therefore, you might be a little socially awkward!

4) They interrupt others constantly

Interrupting others all the time really isn’t a good thing to do.

It can make people feel alienated and unwanted in the conversation.

Some people intentionally interrupt so they can have their say. Some people do it because they enjoy being the center of attention and don’t care what others have to say.

Yet some people do it for far less intentional (or malicious) reasons. They do it because they think a thought and want to say it, and before they know it, it’s out of their mouth.

They aren’t intentionally being rude or self-centered, even though it can seem that way. They either 1) don’t realize they’re doing it or 2) lack the etiquette to know when to let other people speak.

5) They say “rude” things

things people with low social intelligence do without realizing it People who are socially awkward often display these 8 behaviors (without realizing it)

Remember when we said that socially awkward people say what they think? Well, that sometimes means you say the wrong thing!

You think something and you say it. It’s as simple as it sounds.

Like how you notice that someone has gained weight since you last saw them, so you tell them.

Or how you see a spot on someone’s face, so you point it out to them.

Or if you overhear person A say something mean about person B, you tell person B about it.

Basically, you don’t always think before you speak. It isn’t your intention to be cruel, but some people think it is.

It’s why the room often goes silent after you’ve spoken. Or why some people get upset with you and don’t want to talk to you anymore…

6) They come across as blunt

“Yeah”, they say, without offering any further information.

“No”, they say, without any explanation about why.

Conversations with people like this can feel like pulling teeth. I.e., it’s very, very difficult!

But most people aren’t intentionally acting this way to be rude. They just lack the social skills to know how to engage in a meaningful conversation.

Or to understand that when other people ask you a question, they’re inviting you to speak for longer than just saying yes or no!

7) Their conversations are one-sided

I must admit, I hate being in a one-sided conversation! There’s nothing worse than talking to someone who only wants to answer questions – and not ask any in return.

I’ve had friends like this before who won’t ask you a single question the whole time you’re out for dinner with them.

They’ll never say, “What about you?” or “How did you find that, too?”.

One friend in particular was pretty self-centered. She only wanted to talk about herself because she was insecure and jealous of other people’s lives (self-admitted!).

But some people do this because they don’t know how to keep a conversation going. They don’t know that it’s etiquette to ask questions back to the person who asked them.

8) They overshare personal information

I’m sure we’ve all overshared the details at some stage in our lives.

But it’s the kind of thing you have to do a few times (sometimes more) before you realize what your boundaries are. And what other people’s boundaries might be, too…

There is such a thing as TMI (too much information).

Like if you shared your latest bowel movements with your boss when they casually asked, “How was your morning?”

Or if you talk for an hour about your latest heartbreak when your date asks how long you’ve been single for…

Usually, it doesn’t feel good when you overshare. You overthink what you said later and regret saying it. That’s how you know you’ve overstepped your own boundaries.

Knowing whether you’ve overstepped someone else’s boundaries is a little more difficult. They might just go quiet after you’ve said something. Or they might avoid talking to you or never ask you certain questions for fear of what it might lead to…

Final thoughts

If you recognize any of these behaviors in yourself, cut yourself some slack!

We’ve all been a little socially awkward sometimes. Usually, we only realize that later (sometimes days, sometimes months, sometimes years!).

When your social awkwardness stems from a neurodivergence, you should definitely cut yourself some slack.

If you can learn how to be more socially inept, great! Try avoiding these behaviors and hopefully, you (and other people) will feel better about your interactions.

If not, oversharing now and then or interrupting people more than you should isn’t that big of a deal. There are worse things in the world!

Picture of Amy Reed

Amy Reed

Amy Reed is a content writer from London working with international brands. As an empath, she loves sharing her life insights to help others. When she’s not writing, she enjoys a simple life of reading, gardening, and making a fuss over her two cats.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.