Hello. I am Steph and I am socially inept.

Myself and some lovely bloggers I'm glad to have met :)
Myself and some lovely bloggers I'm glad to have met :)

Sitting on the train to Graiguenamanagh last Friday evening a memory sparked and has haunted me since.

Picture this: an ordinary college girl happily embracing a course in multimedia in DCU who has lived away from home since the day after her Leaving Cert, very independent and city smart. Her timetable in the latter half of second year means her classes finish at 2pm on Wednesday afternoon. Nice! Four days of the week and time is her own. Week 1 goes by. Week 2 passes, a bit boring but we’ll have project work soon.

Week 3, Wednesday afternoon, I’m at home in my little box room facing another four-day weekend. That’s when I believe I had my first and only panic attack. I couldn’t breathe, I was hysterical. I couldn’t face the thought of another weekend pretty much by myself. Alone. Invisible to the world.

I packed a bag and quickly headed for the train station jumping on the next train home. And that’s what I did for pretty much every week for the rest of that semester. Went home, took up some part-time work for 2 days, had a day off and returned on Sunday night. It got to the stage where I started recognising others who were doing a similar or part of the same commute.

It’s a part of me that drives me nuts, that I detest. Thankfully I have improved somewhat but I still have a long way to go. I’ve got plenty of theories on why I am so and why I find it so terrifying and challenging to meet and make new friends but I also have realised that social networking has been and is fantastic for people like me.

I get annoyed when I hear people bashing social media by calling it a ‘haven for misfits and the socially awkward’ (and so on) – so what?! We’re no more awkward or odd than some of the regulars in the bar I used to work in who used to pop in for a few drinks purely for the social aspect it offered.

I’ve met and made some great friends and acquaintances through Twitter and blogging and the conversations and events that are generated by or through them. And I hope that continues into the future. Why has it been easier this way? I’m not sure if it’s the sense of anonymity, the casual and passing nature of communication online or even the ability to discover common ground and establish some kind of relationship prior to meeting? Or the feeling of being constantly ‘connected’? Or all of the above.

Whatever it is it suits this misfit.

3 thoughts on “Hello. I am Steph and I am socially inept.”

  1. I just had to head over here from Facebook to comment… Personally I have found social media to be absolutely fantastic for making new friends and allowing me space to discuss my interests.

    I write a fashion/ style blog and have done so for nearly a year now and have been participating in online fashion communities for nearly two years. As many of my friends have no interest in fashion, I have to look elsewhere and have met some truly wonderful and interesting friends from this interest.

    The assumptions made about style bloggers are far worse than what you mentioned there. I’ve heard vain, shallow, spoilt and self-absorbed being used to describe us when it’s just a small percentage of that group who are like that.

  2. i’ve always had this nagging feeling that when i was a small child there was a day in school when i must have been out sick. that’s the day they handed out life’s instructions on how to easily make friends and be social. i don’t know why the teacher didn’t just take me aside the next day, give me a copy, and go over it with me. maybe they ran out and by the time more came in they forgot about me.

    wish i had been in class that day, because it’s so much harder to learn stuff like that as an adult, although it can be done. i’ve become about a billion times more social than i used to be. and once apon a time, on an internet that seemed much smaller then it all, it all started with a blog. i’m a little relieved however that copies of that early blog don’t seem to be archived anywhere

  3. From the time I met you I wouldn’t have considered you socially inept in the slightest.

    I went through a really bad spell of that stuff myself for a few years. I had all the symptoms of what they call social anxiety disorder these days. It’s a thing of the past for me now, that shit get’s easier with age if you keep working at it, but back then I found the Internet to be invaluable for somewhere I could still express myself regardless of being socially inept.

    Actually I probably still have trouble clicking with people I have nothing in common with, but who doesn’t? Yep it’s great meeting people who you already know you have something in common with.

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