awkward, social anxiety, conversation, stress

How awkward are you?

I feel a bit strange when I go out these days. A social anxiety that manifests with extreme awkwardness. So I’ve just taken the Conversation Skills Ratings Scale test. Actually this is a lie. I tried to take the test but it made me so stressed that I may never leave the house again.

This ‘How Awkward Are You?’ test was first developed in 1987 by Brian Spitzberg before Twitter, Tinder, Facebook and counter-intuitively smartphones, killed our ability to have a conversation, decimated our concentration, made parties incredibly hard, and dating near impossible.

The test is extremely thorough. You can take it here. Or I can just share the panic. Let’s begin:

How fluent are you? How confident are you? How fast do you talk? These are just the first three questions. Already feeling a little bit uncertain. The scale for your responses goes from inadequate to excellent. Via adequate. Are you adequate? I ask myself that every day.

Anyway the test doesn’t care, blithely breezes on, unconcerned with sweating palms, pounding hearts; oblivious to the stress it’s causing. What’s your vocal variety? Dunno, really. Volume? Oh. Posture? Ah. Are you leaning in? Not Sheryl-Sandberg style but rather invading someone’s personal space. No one likes a space invader. Any nervous twitches? Only my eye. Oh my God. We are nowhere near halfway through. Are you asking enough/too many questions? Are you smiling? Is this is a happy conversation? No? Then why are you smiling?

At this point I gave up because I am reliving/regretting every conversation I have ever had when I’ve not been listening properly and responded inappropriately. Sample:

Person: “My dog died yesterday”

Me: “That’s so cool, we are desperate to get a pet.”

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