We’ve all been exposed to people who are awkward socially. Those people who just never seemed to learn how to hold a conversation either one on one or especially in a group setting. There are those that are quiet, never saying anything except maybe to the person next to them and laughing nervously at someone else’s joke. Then there are those people that so badly want to contribute to the conversation that they respond to every comment and laugh too loud or too often. Whey they say something genuinely witty and the rest of the group laughs, then they repeat their comment multiple times hoping to milk the moment for all that it’s worth.
Where do people learn to converse socially? Is it enough to just be around people and listen? If you were raised by awkward people, is it guaranteed that you will be awkward, too? I think that there is more to it. There is a certain psychology involved in knowing your crowd, being able to listen and knowing when to contribute and when to refrain. Some people just can’t get into the rhythm. I think that part of the reason for this is that they are overly self-conscious. They are paying so much attention to themselves, how they sound, what they will say, that they can’t really get involved in the actual conversation. It’s painful to watch.
However, I also look at those people and wonder if they were in a different group, maybe they would be more adept at conversation. Maybe the real problem is that these people are just out of their element. I know that I wouldn’t have anything intelligent to offer in a conversation about football, so if I was thrown into that situation I would look like a complete moron. So maybe the dork in the group holding a conversation about travel, is the supreme stud when talking to his buddies about Halo 3. I sometimes like being involved in conversations where I am out of my element. If anything, it is a chance to learn something new or to be exposed to differing points of view. And I think it is healthy for everyone, at least once, to be the awkward dork in a group.