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Socially Inept: What It Is, 20 Signs & Ways to Feel Confident Again

Being socially inept is much harder than it sounds, as we’re all social creatures by nature. So learning how to overcome this can do you a lot of good.

Socially Inept

Our social lives are meaningful. They help us connect with people, build friendships, and even introduce us to new opportunities that we wouldn’t have otherwise. So, if you’re socially inept and not into socializing or aren’t very good at it, you can run into a few problems.

Even if you think that socializing comprises such a minimal aspect of our lives, that isn’t as true as you might think. We’re social by nature, so being socially inept can affect several parts of your life, including your self-esteem and longevity as well!

What does it mean to be socially inept?

A person who is socially inept lacks the basic ability or skill to conduct themselves well in a social setting. The reasons are many, ranging from social anxiety, fear, nervousness, lack of empathy, too little experience, or even a general dislike of social settings.

But it all comes down to this – when an inept person is put in a social situation, they’re either clueless about what to say, they say the wrong things, or feel totally uncomfortable around others. Because of this, they can’t carry on a normal conversation with others.

People who are socially inept – those who are particularly awkward when it comes to socializing – run into the most issues. They don’t make friends easily, and they have a hard time retaining them, which makes them miss out on many different aspects of getting together with other people. [Read: Socially awkward? How to loosen up and learn to live life again]

You may not think that your self-confidence stems from socializing with others at all, but it’s far more connected than you realize. Those who socialize less with others due to being socially inept usually suffer from low self-esteem, which makes socializing even harder.

When you’re surrounded by other people who are laughing and conversing with you, it’s possible to gain a sense of comfort and happiness about yourself. This can, in turn, raise your confidence and help you get along with people socially as well.

If you believe you’re socially inept, and you’re in a social setting, you need to remember that those people around you all choose to be there with you and talk with you. That alone is a very good reason to feel good about who you are. [Read: 13 advantages of being a social butterfly who’s outgoing and friendly]

How to find confidence when you’re socially inept

It’s pretty challenging to find confidence when you’re socially inept. If you’re someone who has trouble talking to people and socializing, that can truly affect the way you view yourself. Even if you don’t want to feel that way, it inevitably happens.

Due to the cycle of being socially inept and lacking confidence, and then needing confidence in order to be social, it’s tough for socially inept people to feel good about themselves. Many don’t know how to regain their confidence to go out and socialize normally.

In fact, many awkward people in social events have given up all hope that they’ll ever change their ways or improve. Even if they wanted to get better at communicating, it’s uncharted territory for them.

But you need to know that there is hope for you if you feel like you fit this description.

You don’t have to suffer through social situations anymore. Here are some of the best ways to find confidence when you’re socially inept so you can get out there and enjoy your time with friends. [Read: Social anxiety vs Shyness – How to decipher what exactly you’re going through]

What makes someone socially inept?

As we’ve already mentioned, it can be caused by utter low confidence. However, there are also a variety of other factors to consider. For starters, it could be because that’s how they were brought up.

Maybe it’s because of a terrible childhood or family that caused them not to have the confidence they seek and in return, they became socially awkward. Or, maybe they experienced a particular trauma that they can’t come back from.

Or, they could also be so introverted that they refuse to socialize with anyone and simply want to remain within their level of comfort and solitude. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, but we’re social creatures by nature.

Being socially inept is holding you back from several experiences of joy, happiness, and intimacy with people. So it’s essential to overcome this, one way or another.

The subtle signs you’re socially inept around people

If you’re not sure whether or not your awkwardness can be categorized as socially inept, here are a few ways to tell for sure.

1. You hate going out to socialize

A lot of people who aren’t socially inept dislike socializing because they prefer their own company. However, if you really hate socializing because you feel that you’re not good at it, or you’ll make a fool of yourself, you may be socially inept.

If you constantly dread going out or simply don’t like the idea of going out, that’s a concrete sign of being socially inept. [Read: How to be more social – 22 ways to genuinely connect with others]

2. You get anxious when you have to talk to people

Everyone gets nervous talking to a new crush, but that’s different than having to converse with friends of yours and being anxious about it. If you get scared to talk to your own casual friends, then you may be socially inept.

Even introverts don’t get nervous talking to their friends, so if this is something you resonate with, you’re a socially awkward individual. Ask yourself, why are you so afraid to speak to your friends? [Read: Signs of anxiety – How to read the signs ASAP & handle them better]

3. You have no idea how to start a conversation

If you really have no clue how to start a conversation appropriately for any occasion, you might be socially inept without even realizing it. If your brain goes blank when someone tries talking to you, it may be for this reason.

If this is a common theme in your life and not just something you experience in a few social interactions, there’s the sign you’re looking for. [Read: How to make small talk without feeling awkward]

4. You end up embarrassing yourself when you do talk to people

This is one of the most significant indicators that you’re socially inept. If whenever you talk, you end up saying or doing things that just embarrass the hell out of you, it’s definitely a sign you’re socially inept.

If you’re so awkward that you don’t know how to respond properly in social situations or avoid people because you assume you’ll humiliate yourself, that’s the indicator you need. [Read: How to talk to people in a charming way no matter who they are]

5. Things never come out the way you intended

When you talk, do words get jumbled and you have a hard time explaining yourself? Well, that’s a sign of being socially inept. And while it does suck, it is fixable.

It’s not the end of the world, and you definitely don’t have to be this way forever. Just because you’re socially inept now, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck that way.

6. You’re very awkward in social scenarios

One of the signs of being socially inept is being highly awkward in social situations. So whether in gatherings, events, parties or even just introducing yourself to a complete stranger, you are the definition of awkwardness. In fact, you can’t help it – it’s already in your nature. [Read: Social anxiety to social butterfly – How to be less awkward]

7. You unintentionally say offensive or rude things

It’s not that you mean to say offensive or rude things, but because you don’t have adequate knowledge or skills in socializing, you say the wrong things without even realizing it!

You try so hard not to be seen as a socially awkward individual, but everything you say just comes out wrong, despite your good intentions. [Read: Social anxiety vs shyness: How to decipher what you feel inside]

8. Incapable of empathy in a conversation

What makes for a great conversation is when there’s empathy. But when you’re socially inept, you’re incapable of empathy.

Sensing the mood in a conversation or reading a room is something you just can’t manage. It’s basically like laughing when the mood of the room is solemn and low. [Read: How to develop empathy and master the art of growing a real heart]

How to find confidence and feel great about yourself when you’re socially inept

Now that we know just where you fall on the socially inept meter, it’s time to figure out how to fix this. Finding confidence when you’re like this can be difficult, but not impossible.

1. Practice as often as you can

Get out and practice socializing as much as you can. Nothing will make you feel more comfortable than being out there and making it a norm. You can even practice what you’re going to say ahead of time so you’ll be mentally prepared.

Like any life skill, being great in socializing and conversations take adequate practice. So before you give up, realize that practice really does make perfect. [Read: 12 ways to be more outgoing and step out of the comfort zone]

2. Stick with a socially savvy person

If you have a friend or two who are great at socializing, stick by their side. Not only will you learn a lot from having them around, but they’ll be able to easily insert you into conversations to help you out a little.

You are the average of the people you surround yourself with. So if you surround yourself with great conversationalists, you’re bound to have a bit of that confidence and skill rub off on you! [Read: Introvert vs. extrovert – Why it’s fluid & what splits them apart]

3. Ask your friends for help

When you’re socially inept, it’s difficult to ask for help. However, it’s necessary if you want to get better at socializing and reduce humiliating yourself. Your friends want to help you – especially if they know how bad you are at being social.

Ask them what areas you fall flat in, and then practice conversations with them in private so you can get better at it when you finally do go out. They’re your people, and someone you can trust, so open up to them and allow them to guide you in all the right ways. [Read: How to be more social – 19 ways to genuinely connect with others]

4. Prepare to go socialize

Get ready, and mentally prepare yourself. Knowing that you’ll be socializing can help calm your mind once you actually get there. You can also go over specific topics you want to talk about and make sure you have something to say to get into that particular conversation.

Similar to being less nervous with a presentation when you’re prepared, the same goes for socializing. If you have specific conversation starters, it’ll be easier to talk to people. [Read: 40 funny conversation starters and lines to instantly fit right in]

5. Frequency is your friend

We know it’s tough to go out a lot when you really don’t like it. But the more you socialize, the easier it will become. You’ll pick up on cues and hints other people give you, and you’ll be able to figure out what to say in different situations.

6. Don’t give up just because one thing went wrong

Don’t let one or two failures or awkward situations stop you from living your life and meeting people. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but it won’t be for very long!

If you say something embarrassing or feel really awkward around someone, don’t just give up. Excuse yourself to freshen up in the bathroom or to get some air and collect your thoughts. Pull yourself together and get back to socializing.

You’ll find that this can help you remain calm when you get nervous in the future. As much as you want to run away from that event or from everyone in that room, refrain from doing so. We know you probably want to hit yourself with a rock when this happens, but use it as a learning experience. [Read: How to talk to anyone and master the art of a real conversationalist]

7. Just be yourself even if you’re socially inept

That sounds cliché, but it’s also very accurate. Many socially inept people have trouble because they feel as though they’ll be judged for speaking their mind, so instead, they say what they think people want to hear.

Only, it comes across as not genuine, and people can tell they’re trying too hard. Really, you don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not, just to fit in. All that will do is bite you right back, and it’ll do more damage than good. [Read: How to network at a party like a social butterfly]

8. Let other people do the talking

If you’re not very good at adding to conversations, be the person to ask questions. Ask someone about certain things and keep the topic on them or something they’re good at talking about.

This can make you seem like a fantastic listener, and it’ll still be socializing with minimal effort. Asking questions makes you seem invested and engaged in the conversation. Of course, don’t just pull random questions out of thin air, but ask questions the person you’re with would find relatable. [Read: 19 ways to genuinely connect with others and be more social]

9. Find confidence elsewhere, too

Don’t just seek confidence through socializing. Go get your hair cut, go to the gym and get really fit, and wear something you feel great in.

Being confident in other aspects of your life can help make socializing so much easier, and you’ll feel much more confident doing it. Whatever makes you feel comfortable, that’s exactly what you should do. If it’s your physical features, by all means, dress up and look decent! [Read: How to be confident – 28 life hacks to transform your future forever]

10. Go out with the intention to just have fun – not be great at socializing

Instead of going out to socialize, just go out to have fun! Go to a bar where there’s a lot of dancing and less talking. If you focus on having fun, you’ll look and feel much better about yourself – even if you do end up socializing with people.

When you’re too anxious and nervous about socializing, you’ll always stick out awkwardly. But if you’re having fun and feeling comfortable in your skin, you’ll naturally feel good about socializing and get better at it too. It comes with the package!

11. Don’t overthink things

Just stop overthinking things if you truly want to overcome being socially inept. We know it’s easier said than done, but socially awkward people tend to stay inside their heads than outside of it. And focusing on the present moment is something they struggle with.

To overcome this, just stop thinking about what could happen if you say this or do that. Practice makes perfect, and you’ll never get better if you keep letting your overthinking hold you back in every social scenario you encounter. [Read: How to stop overthinking – Secrets to go from overthinker to relaxer]

12. Read self-help books on socializing

Knowledge is power when trying to become better at a particular life skill. When it comes to overcoming being socially inept, it can be helpful to immerse yourself in the world of self-help.

Read everything about socializing, conversations, and even overcoming low self-esteem. Slowly, you’ll gain the mental experience and confidence and turn you from an awkward conversationalist to a confident one. And once your mind is prepared for it, all you need to do is put your thoughts into action. That is your goal, right?

[Read: How to improve yourself – 16 powerful secrets of self-Improvement]

how to work on being socially inept

It’s a slightly more difficult life when you’re socially inept, but it’s not the end of the world. You just need to work on your confidence and stop focusing on what can go wrong in every social encounter you have.

Instead, be brave, and make that effort. Be yourself, surround yourself with the right people, and you’ll naturally bloom into your best version!

When you’re socially inept, you lack confidence, and you don’t really get to know people because of your lack of ability to keep calm when you meet them. However, you can continually improve your social skills with some of these tips. 

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