You’re really weird. Own it!
I used to spend a ridiculous amount of time analyzing every social encounter, replaying it in my head for hours, years in a few cases, trying to pinpoint the exact moment when I messed it up. Surely there must have been a misplaced chuckle or, more likely, a butchered punch line. I’m prone to those. I made a point to explain each and every one of them, justifying my unfortunate knack for shutting down a conversation and attempting to fix it by apologizing profusely.
I realized recently that all of these sticky, seemingly inevitable situations are only as awkward as one allows them to be. Accept ownership of your fabulous oddities, not blame for everyone else’s silence. Do not allow yourself to become someone that others associate with uncomfortable conversation lulls. It takes two and you’re not as bad at it as you think you are. If you convincingly fake a laid back, easy confidence no one will ever question the strange phrases you’re known to spew from time to time.
Have you ever been engaged in conversation with someone so visibly uncomfortable you felt bad for them? That small figure at the very end of the table hugging themself and looking anywhere but the faces of those present, clearly terrified of being accused of staring. That was me once, with a quivering voice borrowed from the most timid mouse, cracking with every other second-guessed sentence.
I’ve since vowed to never again use my small mouse voice. Don’t be the person in a conversation that others feel sorry for. They won’t remember the shy words you stuttered but they will remember the swell of sympathy they felt when you went the color of a ripe pomegranate immediately following your fumbled sentence. For the most part, the accidental words that fall out of your mouth don’t matter nearly as much as you think they do. If you shrug it off others will too. Maintain an appearance of unrattled ease and it won’t matter that every emergency siren and panic light is blaring in your brain.
You are who you are. It needs no explanation. Stop wasting time justifying your personality to people you just met. You should never ever apologize for those little moments in life when you don’t quite fit in. How boring would life be if you were just like everybody else?