Why Am I Socially Inept – How to Not Be Socially Inept?

Written by: Shreya Manerkar MA (Clinical Psychology)
Last updated date : January 30, 2023

Ray has been invited to his friend’s birthday party. Ray feels he acts differently when goes to big gatherings. He finds it difficult to talk to people and sometimes does not understand social cues. He often wonders “Why am I Socially Inept?” Is something wrong with me? In his free time, he usually tries to find answers to questions, “How to not be socially inept?”

As you read this article, you will get answers to questions such as the meaning of a socially inept person. How they feel and why they feel incapable of handling social situations. You will understand if being socially inept is bad or good. You will also learn some simple ways in which you can overcome such social awkwardness.

In this article, you will come across some key terms such as socially inept, awkward, and social cues. We will briefly explain these to you now but will be discussed in detail in the following sections.

  • Socially inept – This term refers to a person who has difficulties in interacting with people. Moreover, they find it difficult to hold meaningful conversations with others.
  • Awkward – It is a feeling of uneasiness in a difficult situation. Many people find these situations difficult to handle or deal with.
  • Social cues – These are signals people send through their body language and expressions.

“Practical and insightful” David

70 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use
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Chapter 1:

Who Is a Socially Inept Person?

As we mentioned in the previous section, a person finds it very difficult to interact with others. Let’s take Ray’s example and understand this concept better. So, on the day of Ray’s friend’s party, he spends the whole day thinking about how he will behave, what he will say and who he will meet. He also starts to think of all past experiences when he was socially awkward and how he should not be so.

Because of this, he starts feeling very anxious and considers missing the party. However, after gaining some confidence, he decides to finally get ready and go. Once there, he sees everyone has already formed groups and is talking to each other. He awkwardly walks around and tries to join the conversation. Ray also observes people looking at him, but ignores this subtle social cue.

As he tries to join in the conversation, he realizes he has nothing new to add. So, he just ends up standing behind someone wondering what to say next. People are busy talking but observe him in the corner just staring at them.

Does this sound like something you have done in the past?

Chapter 2:

Why Do People Feel Socially Inept?

If you have been in a similar situation as Ray, don’t be hard on yourself. There is nothing wrong with you. Being socially inept is not a mental health issue. It stems from a pattern of life experiences. Firstly, many people find it difficult to recognize social cues. Secondly, they misunderstand or do not notice people’s body language.

Sometimes , people do not realize that they are socially inept. However, they feel ‘off’ in social situations and find it hard to fit in.

Chapter 3:

Is Being Inept Bad?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being socially awkward. However, when we feel anxious or stressed due to this, it can be a problem. Some situations where we can feel disturbed are:

  • People pass mean comments
  • When you spend a lot of time wondering where you went wrong
  • You have a lot of trouble in social situations
  • Every time you try to make friends, you fail Feel rejected by others

If you are constantly subjected to such difficult situations, you may feel socially inept. However, this does not mean you need to change yourself. Though social situations are not your strength, we will help you find ways to reduce your stress.

Chapter 4:

How to Not Be Socially Inept?

If you wish to understand social cues, improve your social skills and improve your confidence you can try these small steps. These will help you connect with people in a healthy manner.

Read and Understand Social Cues:

Having information about social situations can help you be less socially inept. If you learn about social cues, you will be able to handle social interactions better. This will help you become more confident when you have conversations with others. To improve social skills, you need to understand – conversational skills, confidence, and empathy.

After you read about these skills, try to observe social cues when you talk to others. Observe any body language, people’s tones and voices, and so on.

Don’t Make People Like You:

Avoid forcing conversations on people. This means that don’t try to force people to like you. This is a good way not to be socially inept. The focus of any conversation should be on people liking your company and not only you. If the focus is only on people liking you, you may try doing things people may not like. However, if you want people to like your company, you will also be mindful of other people’s behaviors.

Be Aware of What You Tell Yourself:

Before you go out for a social gathering, think of what you tell yourself. Are you only being negative? Are you criticizing yourself? If you constantly worry about the way you talk or how you look, you will be self-conscious. This will lead to being socially inept. Hence you need to change your negative self-talk to positive self-talk.

Ask Questions When You Are Confused:

If a conversation becomes confusing, listen carefully and rephrase what you understand. This will help avoid any misunderstanding. If someone asks you questions and you do not know the answer, request some time to get back with the correct information. If we try to respond in ways that people will like us, we may say something which may clear miscommunication.

Ask a Friend for Help:

Confide in a trusted friend to give you feedback after a social gathering. Ask them if they perceive you as socially inept. Also, ask them if there is anything you can change about yourself in such situations.

You can also prepare some questions that can help start conversations. Use the W-H questions such as who, what, why, when, where, and how. Try to also find common topics and interests which will help you connect with others.

Despite all this preparation, there may be some awkward silence in conversations. While silence is not a bad thing, it may be very uncomfortable. Such silence can may us anxious and hence to deal with these situations join our self-help course DBT for Social Anxiety which will help you handle social situations better.

"Practical and insightful" David

70 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount