I’m a very socially awkward person. Somehow, no matter what I’m talking about or who I’m talking to, I always manage to say something absurdly stupid and/or awkward. Generally, I later suddenly realize what I should have said, a phenomenon which I think should be called Subconcious Conversational Analysis in Retrospect, or SCAR for short. While I am aware that this is considered to be a normal occurence, I think I am unusual in that it happens to me almost every single time I open my mouth, and sometimes when I don’t. I have come to the conclusion that everyone else has some kind of innate sense that tells them what to say in certain conversational situations, and that I am somehow devoid of that sense. However, over the 20.75 years of my life, I have managed to pick up a few general guidelines about what not to say. For the benefit of anyone else out there who is lacking in the ability to hold regular conversations, here are some examples taken from real life relatively recently.

This is what my adorable little sister looks like when she’s being silly for the camera. This is what I look like when I’m trying to talk to people

“Have a good day.”

Right response: “Thanks, you too.”

Wrong response: “I’ll try, but some of the determining factors may be out of my control.”

(Actually, I usually get this one right)

 

“I like your skirt.”

Right response: “Thank you”, or better yet, something along the lines of “Thank you. I like your shirt.”

Wrong response: “Thanks, but the zipper’s broken and I’m too lazy to learn how to fix or replace it, so I just hold it together with a piece of duct tape. It works just fine, but if you look closely, you can kind of see it.”

(I’m proud to say that I got this one right at the time)

 

“I really enjoyed your presentation in class today.”

Right response: “Thank you. I really liked yours, too.”

Wrong response: “Really? I thought it went extremely badly.”

(I tend to get this one wrong)

 

In the cafeteria: “Would you like to come sit with me?”

Right response: “No thanks; I’ve got class in twelve minutes.”

Wrong response: “No.”

(I got this one wrong, too)

 

“Hi.”

Right response: “Hi.”

Wrong response: “Good, how about you?”

(And I also got this one wrong)

 

I justify that last mistake on the grounds that I was confused because it occured immediatly after a somewhat odd occurence which incidentally also involved people who said things. I was walking to the library and a bunch of highschool aged kids who were on campus for a soccer camp were walking on the sidewalk across the street. One of the kids yelled, “Hey! Lady!” and, since I appeared to be the only female in the general area, I turned to look at him. He said, “Have you met my friend Dylan? This is Dylan!” and pointed to the kid in front of him. I said hi to his friend, apparently named Dylan. (I am not inclined to take it for granted that his name was definitely Dylan, because I remember that my sisters and I used to have a highly entertaining game in which we would address each other as Zoe in public places. Wethought it was hilarious that any strangers who overheard us would unquestioningly assume that the person who was being spoken to was really named Zoe.) Anyway, the kid who may or may not have been known as Dylan said hi to me and then proceeded to point out to everyone within hearing distance that his friend in the red shirt was very ugly.

If I am correct in my understanding of conversational norms, this exchange was a little bizarre. But it was also pretty funny, which rarely can be said of socially conventional conversations.

Advertisements