Monday, June 10, 2013

Social Awkwardness

Recently, i have had conversations about how the 3 different disciplines of triathlon always cause a little bit of a different result in terms of what i think about, or focus on, during my workout.   In swimming, I am totally able to focus on technique, my mind doesn't wander very often, and i like to focus in on exactly what i am doing, feeling, and seeing.   In  biking, I tend to think about the now.  what is going on in my life now, what are the conversations I am experiencing, what is going on later in the day, or this week, or what just happened.  In running, i tend to experience the deep emotions.  I either feel like crying, and work through the hard things, or I become exceptionally inspired, and feel like I can change the world.

This past sunday was a great training day.  I am finally starting to believe that I will be able to finish Challenge Penticton. In August, I will finish 3.8km of swimming, 180km of biking, and 42 km of running.  I know it.  

Back to thinking about social awkwardness.  yesterday, on my 120 km bike ride, I had a lot of time to think about the now.  I had already completed a morning swim, coffee with my love, and then Church.  My church, St James Anglican, is awesome.  Sometimes, though, there is a bit of a surprise as to who you might encounter.   And, that. is. ok.

yesterday, there was a fellow visiting, who you could tell that he was not quite socially appropriate. In the middle of the service, he would turn around and wave at people.  When I made an announcement at the end of the service, he waved at me.  He liked to interrupt conversations.  ONe of my friends said that this fellow walked up, broke into a conversation and stated "Hi, I'm...  I have a disability called aspergers. Who are you?"  He was very kind, acted younger than his self-stated "in my 40's."  He introduced himself to myself and my beloved, and also inappropriately hugged me at least 3 times.  Now, I am OK with hugs.  even from strangers.  however... it was very easy to tell that he did not quite get social ques.  Being understanding of his situation, i was not feeling uncomfortable, but I did let him know what was appropriate, and what was not... i.e. hugging is ok, but only if it is a short period of time, and you don't linger on a woman's waist.  Handshakes with strangers are normally better.  it was awkward, but, I deal with awkward and inappropriate every day at work.  

On my Bike ride yesterday, that got me thinking.  Aren't we ALL socially awkward or inappropriate at one point?  I can think of a good number of incidents in the last few months where I realized that I was totally not hitting social queues. for me, it generally relates to speaking before thinking.  It difficult to write these out without giving too much away, but i'll try.
  • Clost to last christmas, when we invited some brand new friends over for dinner, I told a story which was probably WAY to personal and revealing than most new friends probably would need to know.  They laughed through it, but they very well could have been cringing on the inside.
  • I recently introduced some friends of mine, to a new colleague.  These friends have a unique living situation, where they might wish to tell someone on their own time, other than having me tell someone about it.  But, I blurted it out within about 5 minutes of the introduction.  I realized half way through the situation that it was probably totally inappropriate.
  • I also recently was having dinner with some very close friends, where I asked if something serious was a joke;  I ended up hurting them quite significantly with this comment.
  • I am an extrovert, i like meeting new people in new situations, but I still feel quite socially awkward in new situations with a lot of new people.  Imagine how much more that is for introverts.  Yet, I consistently ask introverts to place themselves into situations like that.
there we have it.  a few examples where social awkwardness or inappropriateness have occurred in my life.  What gets me about this, is that we forget that other people might just be experiencing a moment of social awkwardness at any point.  Or, we think that we are the only people who experience this.  How wrong we are!  

I don't really have a end to this thought, just that how often we are so off.  And, i guess the point is that we ought to have grace and understanding with people... I guess the point is, if we are realizing that we are socially awkward, or inappropriate, at any point, how do we react to it?  How do we treat others who do something that we realize is not quite right?  I saw treat ourselves, and others, with grace.  They are just having a moment.  And, remember... when you are having one of those moments... get over it!  we all do it.  think about it, reflect on it, learn from it, and move on!  whatever you do, don't let that moment restrict your actions in the future, cause I am almost positive that the other people got over it as well.  if they didn't, just apologise, and hope that they understand in the future!

That is it for now!  I am off for my long run for the week.  Maybe I will be inspired to change the world.