We all have moments of discomfort, times when we feel out of place or unsure of how to act.
Some of us, however, carry the belief that these instances define us, that we are innately socially awkward.
You might look back on your social interactions and cringe at the thought of your perceived awkwardness or question whether your social skills are up to par.
But how do you determine if you’re genuinely socially awkward, or if you’re just being overly critical of your interactions?
After examining my own social encounters, as well as those of my friends, I’ve compiled a list of 11 signs that might indicate you’re not as socially awkward as you think you are.
If you identify with these, it might be time to reassess your self-perception.
1) You can maintain eye contact
One of the most fundamental aspects of social interaction is the ability to maintain eye contact.
While it can feel uncomfortable at times, it is a clear sign of confidence and interest in the conversation.
You might think back on your interactions and remember fleeting moments of eye contact.
You may worry that you looked away too quickly or held the gaze for too long.
But if you’re able to meet someone’s eyes, even for a moment, you’re demonstrating a crucial social skill.
Sure, there may be awkward moments when you’re unsure whether to look away or how long is too long, but remember that everyone experiences this.
Being able to maintain eye contact, despite those uncertainties, suggests that you’re not as socially awkward as you may think.
2) You’re capable of small talk
Small talk can feel like a daunting task, especially if you’re an introvert or you often second-guess your conversational skills.
The pressure to keep the conversation flowing smoothly can be overwhelming.
But remember those times you have exchanged pleasantries with a stranger at a bus stop or chatted about the weather with a coworker in the elevator?
That’s small talk, and it’s an essential part of social interaction.
Even if you sometimes stumble over your words, or take a moment longer to think of a response, don’t discount these interactions.
The very ability to engage in small talk, regardless of how trivial it may seem, is indicative of your social capability.
So, give yourself some credit: you’re likely not as socially awkward as you believe.
3) You’ve made people laugh
The ability to make others laugh can instantly break down barriers and create a sense of camaraderie.
Personally, I used to fear social situations because I believed I wasn’t funny or entertaining enough.
But then I started to pay attention to the times when I genuinely made people laugh.
It wasn’t always with a perfectly timed joke or witty comeback – sometimes it was just a silly comment or a shared embarrassing moment.
If you’ve ever made someone laugh, whether it was a friend, a family member, or even a stranger, it’s proof that you have the ability to connect with others on a social level.
These moments of laughter show that you’re able to engage and share joy with others – and that’s not something a socially awkward person would easily do.
4) You can laugh at yourself
At number four, we have a trait that I personally hold dear – the ability to laugh at myself.
It’s a sign of self-confidence and shows that you don’t take yourself too seriously.
I remember once when I tripped over absolutely nothing in front of a group of friends.
Instead of feeling embarrassed, I was the first one to burst out laughing.
It turned an awkward moment into a funny one and we still chuckle about it.
If you can turn your missteps into moments of joy and laughter, then you’re definitely not as socially awkward as you think.
In fact, you’re showing everyone around you just how comfortable you are being authentically you, and that’s genuinely awesome!
5) You engage in active listening
Active listening is more than just hearing the words someone is saying; it involves showing genuine interest and responding in a way that demonstrates understanding.
This can be through verbal affirmations, asking follow-up questions, or simply nodding at the right times.
Research shows that being a good listener is actually perceived as being attractive and likable.
This means that if you’re someone who truly listens when others speak, you’re contributing positively to social interactions.
So, even if you’re not the most talkative person in a conversation, your active listening skills can make you an appreciated participant.
It’s a clear sign that you are socially adept and not as awkward as you might think.
6) You have maintained long-term friendships
Maintaining long-term friendships is a clear sign of social adeptness.
It means that you’re capable of nurturing relationships, managing conflicts, and connecting with others on a deep level.
I remember a time when I questioned my social skills because I wasn’t the life of the party or didn’t have an extensive network of acquaintances.
But then I realized that I had a group of close friends who had been by my side for years.
We had shared experiences, laughter, and even the occasional argument – but through it all, our bond remained strong.
Think about yourself. Do you have friendships that have withstood the test of time? If yes, it’s evidence of your ability to connect and engage with others socially.
These long-term relationships are a testament to your social skills, indicating that you’re not as awkward as you may perceive yourself to be.
7) You can express empathy
Let’s talk about empathy.
It’s the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, and it’s a crucial part of being human.
If you find yourself moved by someone else’s experiences or emotions, that’s a powerful sign of your social abilities.
Being socially awkward is often associated with not understanding or connecting with how others are feeling.
But if you’re someone who can sit with a friend in pain, celebrate their joy, or just share a quiet moment of understanding, then you’re not just socially competent – you’re also a compassionate and caring individual.
That’s something truly special.
8) You’re there for people when they need you
Being socially adept is more than just being able to make small talk or hold a conversation.
It’s about being there for people when they need you.
When a friend is going through a tough time, do they turn to you?
If so, that’s a clear sign that they trust you and value your perspective.
Even if you don’t always have the right words to say, just being there can make a world of difference.
Being able to provide support and comfort to others is a true mark of social grace.
It shows that you’re not just capable of interacting with others, but also forming meaningful connections.
9) You can keep a secret
Let’s talk about secrets, our ninth point.
Keeping someone else’s secret requires trust and respect, two important social skills.
Here’s a personal example. My best friend once shared a deeply personal story with me, trusting me enough to keep it to myself.
It was in that moment I realized that I was more socially adept than I had believed.
If people feel comfortable sharing their secrets with you, it means they trust you.
It shows that despite any feelings of social awkwardness you might have, you’re doing something very right in your interactions with others.
10) You get invited to social events
Think about it. Do you get invited to parties, dinners, or outings?
If you do, that means people enjoy your company.
I used to believe I was the awkward one in my group of friends.
But then I realized, they wouldn’t keep inviting me to hang out if they didn’t want me there.
Sure, the thought of going might make you anxious, but remember – the invitation itself is a compliment.
It’s a sign that you are liked and valued in your social circle.
11) You’re still here, trying
Lastly, you’re still here, trying.
Despite all your self-perceived awkwardness, you haven’t given up on social interactions. You’re reading this article, trying to understand yourself better and improve.
That’s not just brave; it’s downright admirable!
Remember, true social awkwardness would likely cause someone to avoid these situations altogether. But here you are, learning and growing.
And friend, that’s something to celebrate.