Being an introvert doesn’t make me socially awkward. But, of course, there are places where I just don’t fit in. There are times when I don’t know what the right response is.  And there are moments when I don’t have the energy to apply the social skills that I’ve developed over the years.

So, the truth is, I am not socially awkward … except when I am.

There are also many occasions when I feel in my element. I can engage in colorful conversations. I am less inhibited.  I’m able to show my true personality without feeling self-conscious.  In short, I’m socially awesome … until I’m not.

I’ve given this paradox some serious thought and I’ve decided that no one is capable of shining in every social environment.  There are some situations where I don’t want to shine.  I’d rather hideout on the sidelines or run for my life.

Through my travels and diverse life experiences, I’ve found myself in a lot of fish out of water scenarios.  Rather than feel saddened by my inability to twist and contort my personality to match every environment, I’m learning to give myself a break.  I’m realizing that it’s okay to be a little awkward sometimes.  It just means that I’m not in my element.  I’m sure the party animals with whom I feel so maladroit would flounder on my turf.

I’ve always struggled with socializing in work and school environments.  The desire to be alone and recharge at lunchtime often overpowers my will to engage in chitchat.  I also find it incredibly daunting to break into the large posses that tend to form in school.

I wasn’t always socially awesome at work and at school – so what?  I have formed many great friendships through my extracurricular activities, such as dance, church (when I used to be religious), Meetups and traveling. And I did manage to connect with a few lovely people at work and at school as well.

I guess the moral of the story is that you don’t have to shine in every situation.  You can be socially awesome or you can be a little socially awkward and still feel good about yourself.