I am awkward. I don’t mean to be and I certainly don’t want to be, but I am. One of the worst things I do is talk to much. If I’m in a situation where I don’t want to be or I’m nervous I…blather. I will also talk too much when I am excited about a subject matter. And I have a lot of things that excite me. Then, I get home and I re-imagine the whole thing and I physically cringe. For days. I have developed mechanisms and mantras to try and control it but, sometimes, I just cannot. It is one of my many, but most certainly my most obvious awkward feature.
So, when I saw Awkward, The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome by Ty Tashiro I had to read it. In the book the author covers many of his own awkward tendencies and the awkward mannerisms of some his friends. And he explains, for some people, why these awkward tendencies happen. And, more importantly, why some people are just more awkward than others.
I think the thing I have most in common with the author is my intense self-reflection. I have had a running commentary happening in my mind my whole life. I wonder about all kinds of things about myself and other people all of the time. And, many times, without asking for guidance I have tried to be less socially awkward only to fail miserably. Truthfully, as the book explains, while I was wondering about things I was probably missing the social information people were giving me. For those that don’t know what awkward feel like, the author’s was able to recall and willing to share his own personal awkward shameful moments to help the reader understand.
And, as the author points out several times throughout the book, being awkward has its rewards. Many (but not all!) awkward people are gifted individuals driven in their field. For me, my awkwardness and lack of social success has given me loads of time to read and study and take on a ridiculous number of hobbies. While I don’t consider myself an introvert, I would
probably always rather stay home and work on something that interests me than meet up with friend. And, when I do meet up with friends I know I need to take a minute before I walk into a social situation to try and stay calm to avoid talking too much.
That is where the book really shines. Unlike many books about subsections of our society, the author clearly states that while being awkward can be seen in a positive light, awkwardness is not an excuse for anti-social or abnormal behavior. You can embrace the awesomeness of your awkward personality up to the point that it inhibits your ability to be part of society.
If you are awkward or you know someone who is awkward or you work with awkward children, this book is a revelation.