Sunday, February 14, 2010

Social Awkwardness is a Scarlet Letter

I wished I lived in a world in which social awkwardness didn't result in quite so prominent a scarlet letter. I was in G & D's (a local ice cream place) and overheard a rather demoralizing conversation: The people at the next table were talking about socially awkward people as if we were a lower form of life---apparently, we're less nice, feel less, etc. than other people. I know I can dismiss them as a bunch of idiots, but I felt like utter shit after listening to that and I do believe that most people look down on me to some extent because of my social awkwardness. (One of the reasons I feel bad when I hear that stuff is my belief that so many people believe it to at least some extent.)

Obviously, I have been able to find people who aren't that way, but one of these days I would like to believe that the number of such people isn't so small. I go out of my way to find people who I feel are egalitarian in this respect, and that's one of the reasons that I have a lot of difficulty finding friends. Simply, this is a very hard search problem. (Though, again, I have obviously found some of these special people!)

One can get better at social skills---but only to a point. (And indeed I am better now than I used to be.) In the same way, one can get better at doing contour integrals---but only to a point. In each case, there is some level of natural ability involved, and I wouldn't dream of looking down on people if they had trouble with contour integrals.

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