What do you think about first impressions? You must have heard that line… “you never get a second chance to make a great first impression?” well, I often wonder if some of us even hear the starters pistol or do we just see it…too late, watching yet another person “jump the gun” on us, charge through the finish line – impression made – whilst we’re still in the blocks, wondering if we can demand a restart….
In that race, without doubt, “Socially Awkward” should be pinned to my shirt – just below my racing number!
Yup that’s me! – Socially Awkward. At times I’m just like a rabbit caught in a car’s headlights, freezing… then running – hopefully NOT towards the oncoming car! (Confession: I have actually run into a plate glass window before!). Most of the time though, I put a front on – which trust me, is preferable to sliding down a plate glass window, as this hurts your pride – as well as your nose!
Seriously though, I do feel and get nervous in social settings and so love my “alone time”, which works well given that my current social life is “sparse” to say the least… but when I am in such settings, I can get into a real negative cycle when conversation isn’t flowing, resulting in awkward silences or clumsy comments. I know this is my normal reaction and not an exception – so I typically shy away from trying to make too many connections with others. You may then ask “why join an on-line Program to Quit Sugar then?”… when generally, my preference is to maintain and interact with a very small social circle, particularly as research suggests that online impressions are better if you are socially expressive and prepared to disclose much about yourself.
Firstly, I’m motivated to acquire new skills, knowledge and to make a lifestyle change – all of which are abundant within the IQS Program! Secondly, (and this is VERY understated) I simply LOVE FOOD and genuinely get EXCITIED by the creativity involved in prepping, cooking, plating and finally EATING IT.!! After all, how many artists get to eat their work?! So, I hear you ask, why, what and how on earth does enrolling on the IQS program tie in with my feelings of social awkwardness…
Well, the IQS Program has allowed me to filter out my geeky clumsiness! Yes, I still struggle when I see beautifully written comments on Instagram and Facebook (how do I reply to that… without sounding like a polite, well programmed robot…) and yes, I still question how much I should disclose about myself – being VERY conscious of how much “personal privacy” can be diminished through social networks – but I now give myself time to reflect, jumping in and out when I want to.
Of course, I still get “bite size pieces” of awkwardness… but I know it’s me who has the choice on how much I want to disclose. Yes of course I want to be liked – who doesn’t – and I’m gradually starting to build trusting relationships, on my terms, which keep my “boundaries” intact. It feels a bit like being in a relay race team now, where I’m running with like-minded people, building upon my experiences and developing my skills… supporting and working together with “a team” to get through the IQS Program.
Let’s face it… there are very few ways nowadays that are faster for people to connect and interact than through social media – sharing comments, tips, ideas and more. I also realize that ‘the net” can be used to “showcase” (or as hubby puts it… “Show off”) my knowledge, experience, skills and thoughts but privately, I’m still VERY self-conscious and remain my own worst critic, so it has been great to find genuine, fun-loving , like-minded people who I can “test the waters” with – leading with my photos, after all… a “picture paints a thousand words” right – so “f**k you” social awkwardness!
My horizons have broadened and I’m discovering – in real time! – just how well others are getting on and dealing with “their” IQS Program. Yeah, yeah, I know some of you will say “what a waste of time” but hey… we all love to withdraw sometimes and the key here is, BALANCE. I’m fully aware – as should everyone – of the risk that this could become socially isolating. You can get caught in your own little world, justifying the interaction on some level, despite spending more time connected electronically than with the “real world”. This is where the IQS Program encourages if not advocates face-to-face “Meetups” which I now find myself running to and not from, for a change… still let’s hope there won’t be any windows for me to walk into though?!
And get this – I’ve saved the best until last, which is what all good writers do right – “my” IQS Program is more likely to be a success as a result of all this because… although social modeling is complex, my lifestyle (and in particular my diet) will be shaped in part, by social inﬂuence – modeling. I can safely say the “norms” provided by those within my social network are developing and molding my own diet. I’m totally seeking out information about “appropriate behavior” and beginning to “afﬁliate” with others – seems obvious but that’s how “modeling” occurs, right?!
Yes, I know I’m proudly showing off my “IQS t-shirt” but in accepting this social identity, I’m beginning to feel validated, socially inﬂuenced even – but let me ask you… is this not a fundamental feature of human perception and behavior?! I’m feeling happy, energized even, as the lifestyle changes I was hoping for continue to develop as a part of the IQS program.
I’ve never really felt or wanted to be part of “the majority”, in fact, I have prided myself on being an individual – despite quite often feeling awkward, shy, on the side lines… but from now on though, it’s time for me to challenge and move out of my comfort zone.
Yes, it feels awkward, uncomfortable even, but that’s what happens when you try something new, right?