Social Awkwardness?



  • @auspice I can't help it with my work setup. I have to stop myself from flail-smacking or shrieking at co-workers every day. Its the one thing I truly dislike about my job.

    @Wretched Yup. My PC set is IN the corner. You cannot get behind me without being a contortionist or about 6 years old. Bck to the wall, maybe a foot of space between my chair and the wall, wall to the right of me, tower to the left of me. The only way to approach is from the lefthand side directly parallel to me.


  • Tutorialist

    @miss-demeanor I had my desk set up at one work place so it was across a corner, because I couldn't stand people coming out of the bathroom and being behind me. My boss kept moving my desk straight when I wasn't at it... I'd be like: Please stop.


  • Pitcrew

    @miss-demeanor said in Social Awkwardness?:

    @auspice I can't help it with my work setup. I have to stop myself from flail-smacking or shrieking at co-workers every day. Its the one thing I truly dislike about my job.

    @Wretched Yup. My PC set is IN the corner. You cannot get behind me without being a contortionist or about 6 years old. Bck to the wall, maybe a foot of space between my chair and the wall, wall to the right of me, tower to the left of me. The only way to approach is from the lefthand side directly parallel to me.

    There is one computer at work you can avoid it with. I claimed it. Left a note (I work 2nd shift) to please not sit there. For the first week or so in our new digs, I had to sometimes kick people out of the seat (team lead prerogative yo), but everyone's sort of settled into their own 'spot,' and I explained to the guys that it's an anxiety thing for me.

    So now I have my little corner where there's no reason to ever walk behind me and I can see the door.



  • @auspice Yeaaaaaah.. my office is set up like a galley kitchen. Two long 'counters' (my computer is at one of these) with about 8 feet of open floor space between them. There is literally nowhere I can go and NOT have my back to the room. It can get nerve-wracking.


  • Pitcrew

    @miss-demeanor said in Social Awkwardness?:

    @auspice Yeaaaaaah.. my office is set up like a galley kitchen. Two long 'counters' (my computer is at one of these) with about 8 feet of open floor space between them. There is literally nowhere I can go and NOT have my back to the room. It can get nerve-wracking.

    Because I like visuals:
    alt text

    That's our layout. No one sits at the desk under the window. It has a great view of Austin! But no one wants their back to EVERYONE. It's such a stupid desk. My manager almost tried to demand I sit there so 'the lead has a specific spot in the room' and I think the look of sheer horror I gave him was enough to shut down that plan.


  • Pitcrew

    Open floor plans give me hives too. Even libraries are moving towards open study areas. In college about 15 years ago, one thing I absolutely cherished about my senior carrel was that it was hidden away in a nook and nobody could hover behind it. In law school, I was the lone archives assistant at the university archives and would lock myself in the archives (I had hours there to cover for the 70+-year-old archivist, because I'd been there for years and was trusted), and have my own little space. The rest of the undergrad library and the law library were both open floor plans. I never got that. I know some people like group work, but sitting at any one of those open tables made it impossible to study.

    My university office is a corner office with a window, and I only share it with one other Ph.D student, and you'd better believe the desk is set up so that the students can't see what I'm doing when they walk in.


  • Pitcrew

    @fortydeuce said in Social Awkwardness?:

    I know some people like group work, but sitting at any one of those open tables made it impossible to study.

    I will tell you right now there are days where we get a total of jack and shit done.

    Before we were in our office on the 3rd floor, most of the guys sat in one room and I was in another room with the other leads and PMs. And as I'm the one who 'oversees' the building at night, I'd be in that room alone. I was so much more productive. My productivity stats have taken a massive nosedive and I assure you it is entirely because I am right next to and facing my entire team.

    It's impossible to focus.

    Whoever convinced corporate America that open floor plans would increase productivity was insane.

    And now we're off-topic, but yeah. It ties into it... I've had to fight past so much of my social awkwardness. My team accepts me and it was really hard at first. I mentioned it in the RL Things I Love. These guys are happy to see me and I'm happy to see them. We all get along great! But damn if we don't have terrible output some days.


  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice if it's of some value, by the way, I'll note that I am an extrovert IRL as well as online (ENFP if you buy into Myers-Briggs), and even I hate open floorplans. I don't know anyone who likes them, even people who are extroverts. They combine the worst features of forced bonhomie and enforced public space. It's like a mandatory team-building exercise with trustfalls writ large into each day.


  • Pitcrew

    @miss-demeanor Lurks behind your shoulder. Just out of arms reach as he learned. Muaha.



  • Personally I am in a weird place here, I am actually fairly extroverted IRL on the surface, I can chat with strangers without feeling self conscious, I can be charming, I regularly stand up in front of rooms full of people and deliver presentations to them for hours at a time.

    Frankly I am probably overly chatty at times.

    But I find socialising most of the time builds a steady stress meter and I increasingly often think about how I would so, so much rather be at home where I would likely be bored out of my skull but would be nestled securely in my safe space. I cannot last more than a few hours at most before being outright miserable.

    People phoning me when I am at home and thus not in 'socialise mode' or (far worse!) knocking on my front door can launch me into full blown panic attacks. The joys of chronic severe depression.


  • Pitcrew

    @packrat You and I are twins.


  • Pitcrew

    Triplets!


  • Pitcrew

    I hate small talk -- which, I know, is no rare thing in a hobby predominately populated by introverts. But it does make for socially awkward moments in real life. I think every friendship I have started with an awkward moment that left the other person thinking that I hated them. Nah, I just hate useless conversation; once we are done being topic-specific, I am out.

    Example:

    A girl at work that I am super good friends with now, when she started as an intern, was told to track me down and talk to me about being a woman in our field (design). So she approached me and said:

    Her: Hey, So-and-so told me that you started off as a production artist and that you have risen up to become a senior designer. As a woman starting out in this field, I was hoping we could get together for lunch one day so I could pick your brain about your career and get some advice about mine.

    Me: Okay, sure. Turns around, walks away.

    What? There was nothing else to say! What was I supposed to do at that point? JUST STAND THERE AND TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER?! Jeez.

    I'm not shy. I'm not on the spectrum. I just .. ugh. I'm not good at the start of relationships, having to navigate those surface-level conversations that don't mean much and are just there to fill in the empty spaces. (God, I sound like such a dick, haha).

    A friend of mine and I usually go to San Diego Comic Con every year and once we were at a panel watching a peer of mine give a Copic marker demonstration. 'I can't imagine you ever doing something like that,' my friend said to me. '..standing in front of a whole room, giving a presentation in front of hundreds of people.' But that? THAT I have no problem with. I could do that easily. However, my worst nightmare? She's been begging me for years to get a table in Artists' Alley and just imagining that gives me anxiety -- having to stand there and basically make small talk with strangers for four days in a row.

    Presentation in front of an entire room: Yes. Will kick-ass and enjoy it.
    Talking one-on-one with a stranger: No. Will chew off my own arm to get away.


  • Pitcrew

    @sockmonkey

    Small talk is the worrrrrrrrst.



  • Okay, so prefaced with 'I have never been diagnosed with anything other than borderline depression and SAD (and that was at 18)'.

    Is it an unusual thing to be... frustrated with people taking too long to get to the point of a conversation? Or a lesson. Or really anything? This has haunted me since my school days when I had to sit in a classroom and listen to a teacher drone on for 20 minutes (plus another 10-15 of answering questions) when really I just wanted to get the damn assignment already so I could start working on it. It drove me nuts then and drives me nuts now. Its a large part of why many movies will never make the cut with me, no matter how amazing or critically acclaimed or fan-loved they are. They're just too damn long-winded. Not long, long-winded. I can sit down and watch an entire series of movies in a single sitting. But they have to have good pacing. I can't stand a movie that drags, that kicks its feet in the dirt and draws out anticipation of anything interesting unto forever.

    I love Ben Stein as an actor, but I use him as an example because that's exactly what he does. Drones. That one-note diatribe that never seems to end. This is why I read the transcripts for major political events (like State of the Union). I can read faster than these guys can get their goddamn point across (if they have one). I don't need ten minutes of thanking God, their family, and their third grade teacher. Just tell me what the point is, debate the salient issues, arrive at conclusions, and we can all go home in time to play a round of Overwatch (if that's your thing, I went with Battleborn).

    But anyways. Is this a thing? Am I alone in this?

    Edited to add: This is my tangent from small talk, because it applies to small talk too. I can only do so much before I'm ready to shake a bitch and scream at them to get to the fucking point already.


  • Pitcrew

    @packrat said in Social Awkwardness?:

    Personally I am in a weird place here, I am actually fairly extroverted IRL on the surface, I can chat with strangers without feeling self conscious, I can be charming, I regularly stand up in front of rooms full of people and deliver presentations to them for hours at a time.

    Frankly I am probably overly chatty at times.

    But I find socialising most of the time builds a steady stress meter and I increasingly often think about how I would so, so much rather be at home where I would likely be bored out of my skull but would be nestled securely in my safe space. I cannot last more than a few hours at most before being outright miserable.

    This is a common misconception about introverts. People think that being an introvert means being virtually incapable of being social.

    That is not introversion, it's social anxiety disorder. An introvert can absolutely be gregarious. It tends to be less likely, but it can happen.

    Introversion does mean, as you said, that being in social situations costs you. In "Spoon theory" you would say that it costs you spoons to be social. An extrovert would say they regain spoons by BEING social. (Notice, spoon theory can be applied outside of having an illness). Extroverts on the other hand would regain spoons by being social.

    There's a really good book by Susan Cain called "Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking". She actually talks about the scientific research done regarding introverts and extroverts on a biological level, and it's some pretty fascinating stuff.

    She also has a very interesting TED talk.

    If you think you're an introvert, or even just know an introvert, or are an extrovert that wants to understand the difference, I highly recommend both.


  • Politics

    @miss-demeanor said in Social Awkwardness?:

    But anyways. Is this a thing? Am I alone in this?

    You're not alone. I'm the same way.

    A lot of people suck at telling stories. My partner is one of them. I love her very much, but she has no idea how to filter out the shit that isn't funny, isn't important, or isn't relevant to what she may be trying to convey with the story.

    Some of the partners at work are like this. They like to regale me with war stories, while I clearly have 32,000+ pages of documents to review in four hours. And the war stories have little or nothing to do with what they came to talk to me about, which is usually some one-or-two-line answer about mechanic's liens or some other arcane area of real property law.

    I guess I just dislike being talked at. Because I don't like to talk at people. If I don't have something to say, I won't say anything; I'll just ask a question to keep the conversation moving.


  • Pitcrew

    I used to work with social workers who would send me a long, rambling email and then two minutes later come to tell me what it said, with added details, when I was obviously flat out. All I wanted for them to tell me was the problem, and what they wanted from me. Just the facts. I don't need to know that the patient gave you biscuits and tea. They also persisted in stopping for morning and afternoon tea (a very Aussie workplace thing it seemed to me), and social events and ... oh god, the forced social interactions.

    (I use spoon theory at work to illustrate to my patients why they should all delegate where they can)


  • Pitcrew

    @jinshei said in Social Awkwardness?:

    (I use spoon theory at work to illustrate to my patients why they should all delegate where they can)

    My gf and I use it all the time, just to communicate and express our needs and wants:

    "Hey babe, do you have spoons to cut my hair tonight?"

    "I dunno maybe, I'm pretty tapped out. Work cost me a lot of spoons today. Can we do it tomorrow?"

    It helps to understand that it's not personal if someone doesn't want to do something, and it's not an 'excuse'. We respect each other's spoon usage and needs.


  • Pitcrew

    @ortallus said in Social Awkwardness?:

    @jinshei said in Social Awkwardness?:

    (I use spoon theory at work to illustrate to my patients why they should all delegate where they can)

    My gf and I use it all the time, just to communicate and express our needs and wants:

    "Hey babe, do you have spoons to cut my hair tonight?"

    "I dunno maybe, I'm pretty tapped out. Work cost me a lot of spoons today. Can we do it tomorrow?"

    It helps to understand that it's not personal if someone doesn't want to do something, and it's not an 'excuse'. We respect each other's spoon usage and needs.

    We use it as a get out of jail thing just like you! Himself has a low social spoon level, and I don't but I get brain fogged and out of thinking (or manic and demanding Everything Happens NOW!). Its a good way to communicate the amount of energy. The only amendment I make to the original is that there are different spoon pools - I might have physical ones but not social.


 

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