It’s important to know your weaknesses.
Now that I have settled in one place for a while I have been trying to make friends. It’s been pretty successful so far. I’ve been invited to a lot parties and get togethers, but some how it doesn’t matter how many I’ve gone to, my heart starts to beat out of my chest every time before I show up, and I still get super sweaty while hanging out with a group of people. I may have undiagnosed social anxiety, but it’s fine I’ll just power through it until it stops.
I also feel like, partly because of my anxiety, I keep making social faux pas.
Things I’ve noticed during social gatherings in Germany:
If you are a newcomer it’s your job to introduce yourself to everyone in the room. You do this by going up to every person individually, shaking their hand and saying your name. A living hell if you are socially awkward and prone to sweaty palms.
When arriving and upon leaving you also have to go up to everyone individually, hug them or shake their hand, depending on how well you know this person
These formalities are a lot of work, and I always find that I either forget to do them or am way too scared to follow through. Instead, I enter the room, say hello to the person who invited me, make fleeting eye contact with a few people, wave weakly and then plop myself down somewhere and just watch everyone socialize. Who knows what’s going through their minds when I do this, but personally it feels very wrong, and I become that weird girl in the corner smiling or nodding along, but never really participating. Part of the problem for me is my German needs work. I understand most of what people are saying, but I get way too scared to speak it, because I know I am going to make mistakes. In the end, I still get invited places and someone always makes the first move to talk to me, so hopefully everyone realizes I am foreign and forgives me for being so weird.
In my experience, initial social interaction is just so different in the States. Whenever a stranger arrives at a get-together the host would introduce them to the room, everyone would wave, say hi, and the newcomer would then learn people’s names by talking to them one on one. When people arrive or leave parties where they know everyone, no one really touches everyone there. They might hug a good friend or the host, and maybe, depending on the age, situation and number of people, shake everyone’s hand (but that feels very formal). At most you would wave at everyone and then say hi or bye.
Thoughts? Does anyone have any awkward stories involving cultural differences?