With everything going on in my life, I feel like I have forgotten how to be 21 years old. Most of my free time is spent on reflective withdrawal or dialogical soul searching. I have four time slots in my timetable available for socializing and they usually consist of 1-on-1 discussions on shifts in consciousness, motivational pep talks or conspiracy theories. If I’ve learned anything from The Hills, it must be that when you are the event planner/host, you just can’t enjoy yourself like the guests; so, during events for my extracurriculars, I have to be super observational of the social capital levels in the room, the food consumption, the conversation etc. to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves. I really can’t remember the last time I went out with a group of friends (probably in first year).
Lack of experience in socializing in groups beyond what my roles require of me is just getting really really awkward in fourth year, now that everybody somehow knows each other and group conversations are inevitable. I find myself withdrawing, awkwardly hovering and just being super awkward when more than three becomes a crowd. And what makes it worse is that I know too much about people. I remember almost every detail of every encounter I have, so that comment you made in a class first year, yep I probably will bring it up in fourth year. Or what you posted on FB a month ago, yep I will bring that up too. And I will also quote your tweets to you. And the pitch of your laugh, already analysed as genuine, reactive or hearty. Creepy, yes. Every person has special folder in my mind in which I store facts about your upbringing, your mannerisms, my favourite outfits of yours, your hairstyles etc. INFORMATION OVERLOAD.
And my social cues….what social cues? 1-on-1 I am great with reading emotions and cues. But in a group, it can get disastrous. I usually end up talking SUPER fast, about myself and my voice gets really high. Not because I’m nervous, but because I put my brain into auto-pilot mode because I don’t really know what people my age talk about. The way I speak, what I say, how I say it and my mannerisms throw people off—and I get the feeling that I upset the flow of sociality. My heart yearns for a true group dialogue in which my actions and words fit perfectly in the norm for social behaviour. (HOW AWKWARD IS THIS DREAM?). Or at least where my awkwardness is not a crutch to engagement.
Truth is, I just don’t have the energy to talk about mundane subjects like the weather, current news or popular culture. My mind is often consumed by big scary questions about our place in the world and the human condition. My life nowadays is hospital, school, and home— seriously lacking FUN. And I really need to lighten up! But how?!
I NEED YOUR HELP U of T !!
How do I be 21? What should I be doing at my age? What do you talk about with your friends outside of your academic or professional roles? How can I be less awkward?!
Some fun social facts about me:
I’ve never been to a club in Canada.
I’ve never drank alcohol.
I don’t have a solid group of friends (just a whole lot of individual friends, I hang out with 1-on-1).
I casually bring up political philosophy in everyday conversations.
I eat really slowly, which looks really awkward and weird in public.