Social Awkwardness?

I attended my first pre-natal aquafit class recently. I thought it would be a great way to get some (much needed) exercise and to meet other mothers-to-be. I was right. The class is 1.5 hours, and the first 30 minutes is dedicated to pregnancy-related discussions. At my first class, we went around the room and said how we were feeling about the birth/labor process (second time moms were asked to tell the group about techniques they used to get through it the last time around). After the discussion, we all headed down to the pool for an hour. It is a very relaxed atmosphere where everyone chats while following the instructor.
Now, the problem may have arisen because I was joining the class half-way through (all the other ladies had taken 3 classes together already) – but I felt like a total dork! I couldn’t get up the nerve to talk to anyone, and I felt very awkward at the beginning of class when we were waiting for it to start and everyone was talking amongst themselves. I truly felt like the shy geek in the corner!

Thankfully, in the pool, one of the other ladies struck up a conversation with me and we chatted during the workout. I found it easy to talk with her, but she had to initiate.

Well….when the heck did this happen? I always thought of myself as an outgoing, easy-to-talk-to person. I’m not sure when it changed, but sometime over the last few years my socializing skills have gone down hill. I think I’ll blame it on being in an extremely anti-social environment over the last five years, for being around physicists longer than that, and for not having many friendships outside the realm of academia.

I really hope these classes help me get these skills back! I don’t want to be the shy woman in the corner who never speaks to anyone. That’s not who I am!

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Comments on: "Social Awkwardness?" (4)

  1. I do think it gets harder to be outgoing as we get “older” and set in our ways, especially for us scientists. I've been watching one of my labmates, who is extremely social, become much more introverted as she nears the end of her PhD. My only thought as to why this happens is that we become comfortable with our surroundings as we age and lose the desire to change them. I also suspect pregnancy hormones have enhanced my insecurities, only adding to my antisocial tendencies.

    On a related note… There's a funny bit by Ellen DeGeneres about how making friends is more difficult as grown-ups…made me laugh hysterically when I heard it on the radio yesterday! I'm looking for it now, but can't seem to find it online…if I do, I'll pass it along.

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  2. Alyssa–I think the more you do it the easier it will be. I like to start just by introducing myself, (which you probably did at the beginning of the class) but since I have a horrible memory I can always fall back on . . . “I'm sorry, what was your name again? I have a horrible memory!” And I feel like once you strike up a convo with someone, it is easy to think of things to ask–it's all about that first contact. 😉

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  3. MDO – interesting observation about your labmate. I feel the same happened to me. If you do find that clip, please pass it on!

    Adrienne – thanks for the tip! I agree that once a conversation starts, it's easy(ier) to keep it going for the most part.

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  4. I think it's practise – use it or lose it! We use it less as we get settled in a place and spend most of our time with people we already know well. But from my friends' experiences with new babies, you're about to get a whole load more practise!

    Oh, and watch out for creepy perverts in swimming pools!

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