Social distancing shouldn’t be that hard for me. Why? Because there’s not much difference between social distancing and being socially awkward, and I’ve been practicing social awkwardness for many, many years!
I was single until I was 40 years old, so that gave me a lot of time to work on being socially awkward. It’s not that difficult to avoid having contact with other people when you’ve been keeping to yourself for most of your life.
Being socially awkward is simple: just stay at home and stay away from other people. There are several things you can do to have as little contact with the outside world as possible. Watch a lot of television. (With Netflix and Disney+, it’s easier than ever to just plant yourself on the couch and stare at the screen all day.) Surf the internet. (Is “surfing the internet” still a thing, or do people just “go online” now?) Play video games. Heck, you can even be socially awkward by reading a book.
Yes, you do have to leave the house every once in a while. Although it may be easier than ever to work from home, most of us have to get out in order to make money to pay the bills. And, there’s also the little matter of getting food.
You can offset the occasional trip to the grocery store by eating almost exclusively via drive-thru dining, keeping personal contact with others to a minimum. But, you may say, “that’s all good and well, but what do I do when I have to actually interact with other people?”
That’s simple! Avoid eye contact. Look down at your feet. Keep your hands in your pockets. If you need to say something, mumble. Whatever you do, try not to directly engage people in conversation. Saying, “Howdy!” is about the worst thing you can do, because that might make people think you actually want to talk with them.
Of course, there are some people who actually like interacting with other people. They are drawn to social interaction and feel the need to be around other people. They seek out chances to connect with those around them.
For these folks, social distancing is difficult, and social awkwardness is almost impossible. And, to be honest, I’m slowly starting to become one of those people. Thirteen years of marriage and four wonderful kids have chipped away at some of my social awkwardness.
Oh, don’t worry, I’m still plenty awkward. But, once we’re through with social distancing, I might even start saying, “Howdy!” to other people. (Capell is a Serve Daily contributor.)