Book Nerd Problems #4: Social Awkwardness

Posted March 8, 2013 by Debby in Uncategorized

This is a periodic discussion feature here at Snuggly Oranges about the many problems one can run into as a book nerd.

#4. Social Awkwardness

This week’s Book Nerd Problems is a bit more personal than the last ones. I’m not expecting everyone to relate to this one – man, I’m glad for you if you can’t. But I at least have the support of Judith in this, and that’s about all it takes for me to go on a gif hunt to tell you guys a story.

See, since I’ve not been a book nerd for too long, and this blog is still relatively new, I’ve witnessed a change in my own social habits. I love books so much that I would rather be reading than going out. Admittedly it also helps that my best friend moved away to London last September, but I digress. My social life is rapidly downgrading. It’s gotten to the point where if someone asks me to go out, have dinner or drinks or something, my reaction resembles the following:

After getting over the initial shock, it takes me at least 5 times longer to answer than it did before this bookish obsession. This because I’m constantly analyzing the tradeoffs. Night time is typically my reading time, and to spend an evening not reading but consciously choosing for something else is suddenly a hard thing to do. It feels wrong, like my books are my best friends and I’m suddenly choosing real life people over them. Ew. And so I’ve noticed that, especially since I started this blog, I’m much more likely to say no, which does make me feel a bit self-involved and guilty at times. That’s not to say that I’m not grateful for their offers or that I’m so popular everyone wants to hang out with me all the time. I just don’t feel like socializing.

It’s NOT that I’m like this.More like this.

As a consolation prize to my friends, if I’m reading a book that I’m not really enjoying, there is a much higher chance that I’ll say yes. So. You know. That should count for something.

Occasionally, I do see that I need to be social. That, though I totally love my books, I need contact with others outside of lectures to keep me sane. I may talk to myself a little too much when I’m being such a hermit, so yeah. So I let myself get dragged out to be social.

But if you get me so far to where I agree to go out with you, you’d better make damn sure it’s a good evening. Because I chose to be there, you know. I had potentially better books to read things to do. And maybe that’s the worst part – that I have trouble letting go. Those books are always in the back of my mind, reminding me of their existence and my impatience and desire to read them. So there’s nothing worse than a social evening that makes me regret my decision to go out. And since I am a blunt and socially awkward penguin, my exasperation is usually very visible.

And it doesn’t help that when I am finally out and about and put into a social situation involving crazy things like flirting I become the most socially awkward creature imaginable. I mean, just last week, I was convinced to go out, and a really cute Greek guy started flirting with me, and I felt like in return I pretty much looked like this:

NAILED IT …right?
In truth, I just blushed like crazy but I was also put in a position where I was like, “…What do normal people talk about in situations like this?” My life basically consists of boring studying, committee chairmanship, reading, blogging, Twitter, and YouTube. And the occasional TV show. I felt massively inept at this whole flirting thing. But aside from that example, I have this with friends as well – that I’m reading so much that I have little else to talk to them about. And none of my real life friends read, like at all. My conversations lately have gone like this:

  • Friend: So what did you do last week?
  • Me: Uhhhhh….
  • Friend: ….
  • Me: Yeah… Hang on… *desperately tries to think of something that happened to talk about*
  • Friend: Come on, you must have done something.
  • Me: *time’s up*Β  Well, I read three books (that would be creepy) two books (still not normal) a book?
  • Friend: … *sigh*
Truth is, I don’t mind being at home on my own. At least I can’t embarrass myself in front of my books. I’ve always said I just need to get a cat and then the whole image is complete: shut-in bookworm cat lady. Sometimes it makes me feel like an old grandma, but what my peers are doing, like going out to clubs and bars late at night, isn’t that appealing to me at all. I find myself rolling my eyes at them most of the time.

So yeah. I tend to pick my books over my friends. But my books are my friends! And everyone has a ranking of importance when it comes to friends. Right? This is normal… right?

TL;DR: I’m a nerd and a socially awkward penguin. It’s something for me to work on.

Let’s Talk!

What about you? Do you feel like an old lady, a hermit shut-in, or a socially awkward penguin? Do you choose books over friends? If you make up excuses for it, what was your best one? Let me know in the comments! Bonus points for gif usage!

Β I don’t like going out that much. I am kind of an old lady. After it’s 11 p.m. I am like, ‘Don’t these kids ever get tired?’ When I am out, I think about my couch.Β Jennifer Lawrence



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33 responses to “Book Nerd Problems #4: Social Awkwardness

  1. Can I just say that I would love if you turned this into a meme because I would totally participate??

    About the post though, I can totally relate to this. Most of my friends are from Michigan, but with the hubby, we rarely go out because of books. I would always rather be reading, blogging, I’m a homebody. For me to go out to like dinner or a movie or a day trip, it takes an enormous amount of effort and I always wonder if it would be inappropriate to bring my Kindle. LOL. Usually it’s not. But yeah, I’m not a social person much at all these days and I kinda like it that way, tbh.

    • Haha, this could be a good meme, huh? I’ll have to keep that in mind, though I don’t want my blog to get bogged down in memes, even if they are my own.

      I can totally relate! I almost always have my ereader in my purse, though I try to resist pulling it out. At least you have your husband to try to get you to go out, and you have someone at home to socialize with. Unsocial people unite! *high five*

  2. Bec

    So you just basically described me perfectly, except I do have a cat and no one ever flirts with me (I think. I’d be scared if they do. And I’d never recognise it).

    I’m at uni doing a Veterinary Science, so whenever I’m not studying, I’m reading or blogging. I don’t have much time to do anything else (or so I tell myself). I did go to two parties a few weeks ago, but after standing in a crammed spot with the sickly smell of alcohol invading my senses and getting annoyed because I didn’t want to go in the first place, NEVER. AGAIN.

    Books are a lot well reliable than friends I find. They’ll always be there, though occasionally they will rip your heart to shreds. But that’s a nice pain.

    • Haha, the flirting thing was new to me – but I also recognized the fact that I never go out to bars/clubs with just one friend to try to meet people. So yeah, maybe I would experience it more often if that was my scene. Which it’s not. And it’s not going to be. πŸ˜›

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one who really dislikes parties. I have to really be in the mood for them – but that mood only comes around like twice a year.

      Totally agree – books = β™₯

  3. Okay I was keeping my lol’ing to myself…until I got to that John Green gif. The Green brothers are like…the Elvises (Elvi?) of nerd culture, so to see him in a post about social awkward nerdiness…awesomeness.

    This post is me, 100%. I live in a city that looks at reading as the same thing as studying the dictionary for fun (which, sadly, I’ve done…several times), so I have literally no real-life friends who read. The closest I get to a book discussion is the latest episode of TrueBlood, which is usually so different than the books that we end up talking about two entirely different plotlines. I’ve been a bookworm since I opened my first Harry Potter book at the age of eight, and since then, my social life has been all downhill.

    In order to prove to the world (and myself) that I’m really not an old cat-lady shut-in (unlike you, I do have the cats to go with that image) but a 22 year old girl, I try to go out and have a few drinks with about three or four other friends like every other month, but almost every night I’m either blogging, writing, or laying in bed reading until I finally pass out.

    I’ve also decided a long time ago that, since I am unwilling to settle for less than the Akivas/Etiennes/Noahs/Augustus’/Jacks of the world, I’m not going to be doing much dating, and so flirting with real guys is an alien concept to me.

    I LOVE these Book Nerd Problem posts! Even without the awesome reviews, these would keep me coming back to your blog every Friday.

    • Haha, the John Green gif was an obvious choice. I couldn’t possibly have written this post without him β™₯

      Ugh, I totally feel you on having no friends who read. And I kind of have the same – the closest I come to book discussions is like, ranting about how the Pretty Little Liars TV show is straying from the books and that’s stupid, or talking about recent book to movie adaptations…

      I think the problem for me lately has been that I’ve tried to make myself go out and socialize, but I’m just not enjoying it. I feel way more… mature or something than my peers.

      Haha, at least I’m not at all looking for romance, so that helps, but DAMN you’ve got some high standards there hahaha! Flirting is absolutely terrifying and I’m horrifically bad at it.

      Thank youuuuu β™₯β™₯

  4. Hahaha, this is so me, except I make almost no effort at all. I *hate* going out for drinks or whatever. It really doesn’t interest me at all.

    If I go to see friends then I’d much rather go to their houses. Luckily, most of my close friends a) live too far away to meet face to face very often and b) bookworms/introverts like I am. So it works out well πŸ˜€

    Honestly, I don’t go out just to please my friends. Maybe that’s a bit self-centred, but I’d like to think that they’re okay with me doing something I enjoy rather than doing something I hate. I would never expect them to do something they don’t like doing for me.

    Yeah… I probably sound like a terrible friend right now haha.

    • You don’t sound like a terrible friend! Not at all. I totally agree that if you really don’t enjoy it, you shouldn’t make yourself do it, and your friends shouldn’t expect you to. I wish I was that resolute.

      I’m with you on bars/clubs. I don’t enjoy that 95% of the time, the other 5% being when I’m tipsy enough to not care. Hanging out at home is way more my style, but the sad part is that not many of my friends feel the same way about that. I’m getting along really well with one of my housemates lately though, so that’s really cool, and then hanging out at home isn’t that weird.


  5. You’ve just described my life. I love going out with friends, but I’ve got this nagging guilty conscience thing in the back of my head that I should be reading, or working on a blog post, or commenting on other peoples’ posts or something else blog related. And some nights, I have to be dragged out because I just don’t want to spend the night not reading.

    I think if it were just up to me, I’d be a total hermit. But the hubs is quite social, so he manages to drag me out a couple times a week.

    • I’m so glad I’m not alone!! Blogging takes up a lot of time, man. And Twitter doesn’t help – all the bloggers on there are so awesome to talk to and everything. x_x Time consuming!

      See, at least you have your husband. That would make all the difference. I’m kind of jealous. I tend to need someone to really have that amount of influence over me that they can make me go out. Sigh, maybe I should find a boyfriend for that. xD

  6. I definitely enjoy going out at rare times, but at least the majority of the time, my couch with a book is where I want to be! (kinda like how I’m reading blog post on a Friday night). I enjoy hanging out with my friends, but even when I enjoy it there’s definitely a level of social awkwardness of my part. I have this thing that at times is a talent, curse, and ability where I can change any conversation to intellectual and serious conversation within 10 minutes. I just don’t get light, fluffy talk I suppose? It’s definitely a talent at professional events and things like that because people there see it as a skill, but hanging out with friends on a Friday night? Not so much. I’m just incapable of small talk!

    • Hahaha, I’m totally the same. Especially Friday nights – I barely ever go out xD And I feel you on small talk!!! I’m not good at it either. I think the problem is that most of the time I’m just thinking about how pointless that conversation is, you know? Us awkward penguins can just huddle together. We’re not alone!

  7. This is definitely me. It’s been even more apparent in the last two weeks as my husband and son are away, and have I gone out? One evening for 2 hours. Other than that I have mostly read. So when people ask if I’m livin’ up my temporary singledom, I sadly answer no, but inside I like that I have been able to rearrange my apartment and do a lot of reading. It’s kind of sad.

    • Hahaha, I don’t blame you. It’s not sad, it’s just different! I have this all the time as well, that I’m like, “Oh… I’m going outside for the first time in three days.” My friends then look at me like I’m absolutely crazy. But… yeah. Homebody. *shrug*

  8. Well, I kind of really want to hug you right now.
    ‘Cause like, you just wrote my life up there. I’ve always been the kind of ‘socially awkward’ person, but ever since I’ve really started reading and blogging about books, me and humans interact as little as possible. πŸ˜› Awesome post, Debby! πŸ˜€

  9. Aww I’m fairly social but always feel like I have to hide how much I read from other social people. They’ll come over to my apartment and stare at my bookshelves for a while. One girl once actually said “you don’t actually read all these do you?” I felt so uncomfortable. So what if I do? Why is that a bad thing? If only all of us book lovers to get together and hang out (ish) or you know, all read in the same location. I really just enjoy being around other people but it makes me so sad when those people don’t love books as much as I do.

    • YES. Definitely feel you on this one. My parents always get this as well, because we have a huge book collection. I mean, even just reading one book a week is a lot to most people, so… urgh. It’s so sad. As this goes on I’m just thinking that I really should join or make a book club or something and just huddle together with those people. *sigh* normal people just don’t get it.

  10. DUN DUN DUN! HERE I AM with my oh so very late sorry didn’t mean to be so late comment! I really liked how this post turned out πŸ˜€ I never actually liked going out, not even to high school dances or anything. Well, sometimes I did. I have some good memories of times when I went out and had a fun time, but that was because I do love dancing.

    But the thing is, even in high school I went out, most of the time, because my friends did. And that is still the case. I usually don’t enjoy it all that much. But I sacrifice myself from time to time (it really feels like that haha!) and go along, but the entire time, I think about going home XD I don’t drink either, and maybe that’s part of the reason I don’t like it that much? But honestly, if I hear about all the university parties my friends go to and they tell me it was AMAZING, I’m like this:
    Dit is ook de reden dat ik niet lid ben van een studentenvereniging trouwens, al die verplichte borrels zijn niks voor mij πŸ˜›

    And don’t get me started on flirting. I feel like I AM THE WORST. Every time someone comes up to me to talk, I always feel like this:
    [im][/im] (sorry, no gif, but it fit so perfectly!)

    OH and that Jennifer Lawrence quote is PERFECT! Maybe I would like going out more if I didn’t have to be up talking to strangers until freaking 4am. Though I am a night person, I’d rather get all the social stuff done (OOOOH THIS SOUNDS TERRIBLE) before 12am πŸ˜€ Hahaha, I do realize how awful I sound. I like to think that I’m a pretty good friend, but if I put it like this… But where was I? Oh right, the quote. What I wanted to say is: YES. Whenever I hear people cycling into town at 1am on a Saturday night, I feel sorry for them because they still have to go out πŸ˜›

    Oh, I’ll stop now. It’s been a bit all over the place, as usual. Whatever.

    • I feel you. I really only go out because of my friends as well. When it’s up to me, I’d rather have a movie night or something at my house. If I do go out, I force myself to drink because otherwise I really won’t like it.

      Studentenverenigingen zijn dom. -.-

      Hahaha, that image fits me perfectly as well. Flirting is hard man.

      AND YES. I hate here that going out means you’ll be out till 3 am at least. That kills any desire I may have had because that means you sacrifice the next day as well because you’ll be lacking so much sleep. If we could just go out at a normal time… geez, I might enjoy it then.


  11. You just described my entire life in extensive detail O_O It feels better to know I am not alone. Its not that I’m anti social or anything although I can be at times, I can also be over the top social like a crazy penguin too. However, I have come to the realization that I’m just the type of person who rathers be surrounded by books than people. They dont judge or make you feel like you need to have something interesting to say all the time, they just offer unconditional love xD The truth is I’m a nerd and I’m proud of it. In class my friends try to talk to me and I basically tell them one sentence and go back to reading. Its one of the reasons I love the blogging community so much, they understand. Great post!

    • Hahaha, we can all huddle together. Hermits united! The comments have definitely made me feel better about my socially awkward tendencies. It’s great that we really understand each other, here in the book blogging world.

  12. You know, it’s always such a good feeling when you find out you are not the only “weirdo” I love to stay home to read a good book. I hardly go to any clubs. You know, this is also the main reason why I didn’t join a “studentenvereniging” (I also don’t like the “ontgroeningen”) I’m so happy that I have a boyfriend, so I don’t have to flirt anymore. Hahaha. I have a feeling I’m a very bad flirter. I always feel like “what are you looking at me??” .. yeah.

    Say it loud, say it proud! I am a booknerd πŸ˜€

    • I know right? The comments here have made me feel so much better. We’re not alone!!! I’m with you on the studentenvereniging/ontgroening… Ain’t nobody got time for that. Ew. And yeah, I’m envious of your having-a-boyfriend situation. That would make it all so much easier. Hehe, flirting sucks. Way too much trouble.


  13. This is my LIFE! Well, except the flirting. I’m married, so I feel like I have even less reason to go out. I mean, it’s nice to do stuff on my own, but I’d much rather stay home with my books and my cat and dog and my tv and such. I have some people I met through my local Nerdfighter page and we hang out occasionally, but not too often sine, frankly, we’re all kind of hermity. I do enjoy their company, but if it’s up to me to make plans…well, it’s probably not going to happen.
    Being an introvert is hard.

    • I wish I could skip the flirting stage. That’s just totally nerve-wracking and annoying. I should reach out to the Nerdfighter community, haha, I probably would get along with them much better than my peers at uni. When you understand each other like that, it definitely makes it easier.

      At least we’re not alone πŸ™‚

  14. Will it be okay if I say that I’m an old lady, a hermit shut-in and a socially awkward penguin? Well, I am. I totally choose books over my friends and social outings. Who needs to go out and dance when one doesn’t even know how to dance decently. To think, I’ve always been a socially inept, introvert person who is pretty content with her internet presence. Just don’t tell me to come out of my room. So yes, I love your post.

    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile

    • Hahah, that’s perfectly all right – in fact, it’s encouraged! I’m definitely all three as well. And I’m with you, I feel mega awkward whenever I try to dance.. can’t do that at all without alcohol. Way too self-conscious. Thank you πŸ™‚