Awkward Social Butterfly

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?

4 thoughts on “Awkward Social Butterfly

  1. I think the South is different from any other place in the world. We, those of us born here and have lived here all our lives, are just at ease with people. There are limits to how far we go to be friendly. For instance, we have a new couple who moved in down the street. I went by twice to welcome her. She never came to the door. Then one Sunday I saw her husband in the drive, I drove up and got out, introduced myself and we chatted a bit. She came to the kitchen door, looked out its window but never came out . they are from Chicago , that explains it all. Yankees just aren’t that friendly. HahA. We are all different, God gave each of us different strengths and talents. You have observed Gdad and me for years. We are so different but we tend to complete each other. His strength is my weakness and my strength is his weakness. You have so much to offer the world, I know you will find what God has planned for your life. Whether you believe or not, God will work in your life simply because we ask Him to. Look at your positive attributes. Don’t focus on the other. Wipe those sweaty hands , smile and get on with living.

    1. I agree! Looking at the positive always makes me feel better, but it’s definitely not the easier option. You and Granddad are the best :)

  2. Foreigners unused to American culture may feel overwhelmed at gatherings in the United States as well. Attempting to fit into a different society always comes with its anxieties and insecurities. I think you are so brave to continue searching for new friends in your new home. I hope you will soon find a community you can settle into with the same comfort as your old.

    1. Thanks :) It helps to keep in mind that no one can hear my thoughts, and I am usually not coming across the way I imagine. I love your blog by the way! It’s really inspiring.

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