Social awkwardness: Lily has it and wants to talk about it

There are a few consistent truths in my life. One is that I will always eat all of the bacon in front of me, regardless of how hungry I am. That counts whatever bacon is on your plate. I’m eating it. Another is that I will always think standing on rolling desk chairs to put up decorations (that violate fire safety rules in all 50 states) is a good idea, even though that consistently leads to me on the floor, wrapped in several strands of Christmas lights holding a piece of ceiling tile. I always bring down my Political Science readings to do “during the commercials” of the newest Game of Thrones episode, and an hour later my knowledge of the inter-workings of Korean politics is unchanged, but I will have 40 new and excessively elaborate ways I want to be able to braid my hair. However, the most invariable truth of my life is that I will, forever, be truly awful at talking to strangers. Like, traumatically awful.

This is the kind of personality trait that, were it capable of change, it would be different by now. Trust me, it’s something I would have worked on. Working as a waitress or going to college or studying abroad would have fixed that, and I would now interact in a normal way with other human beings. However, this is not the case. It’s actually a minor miracle I have any close personal friends at all. In fact, the first time I spoke to my boyfriend, I yelled “HELLO MY NAME IS LILY IT’S NICE TO MEET YOU” at him, with no introduction or context, and then sprinted away in the opposite direction. Really fast. Without waiting for a response. I ran into a door. But, you know, I didn’t want things to get “awkward.” The first thing I did upon meeting my freshman year roommate was ask her if she liked cheese. Then I handed her some. No one wants to live with that girl; the girl who hands out stinky cheese to strangers. There’s a place for people like that, and it’s called France.

It’s pretty easy to tell when I am meeting someone new, because I will most likely be speaking at a really unnecessary volume, and all of my words will blend into one, long, Mary Poppins-esque word. Sometimes I just make up words, especially in a foreign language. While abroad, I have spoken to my fair share of strangers. Most of them now think I have a speaking disability, because I take completely normal, easy words and change around one or two letters, making it absolutely unrecognizable. For example, “niente” is a word, “miento” is not. They are not the same. If I think you are “cool” or “funny” or “nice,” I will probably make our conversation as minimal as possible, so that I don’t accidentally share too much information with you or ask you inappropriately personal questions.

The issue of too much information is key when it comes to my lack of ability to make friends like a regular person. For example, what is the appropriate joke to make to someone you just met at orientation? You know nothing about them. Do you wait for them to bring up awkward freshman activities and usher in a clever and yet flirtatious conversation, or do you just yell something incoherent about “Gays of Our Lives” and how you and that blonde girl have the same favorite pair of underwear? Mostly I go for the second option. This is a fairly extensive issue, and honestly, judging by the fact that whenever we go by an ancient building with huge brass knockers on the doors, my mom feels the need to yell “LOOK AT THOSE KNOCKERS,” I can’t help it. It’s genetic. Like my weird ear thing (don’t ask…ah alright, go ahead and ask, I’ll show ya. It’s REAL GROSS, THOUGH).

Of course, all of this makes the ACDC an incredibly difficult place to exist in. Before I left for college, I was told by maybe a dozen people that I should just “sit down at a random table and make friends!”. Ha, ha. Ha. Casual. But no. It’s not nearly that simple. To start with, there are two sides. And within these sides, there are multiple rooms that you can choose to sit on. How am I supposed to be able to talk to strangers when on my first week in the Deece I accidentally walk into a room where all of the workers are taking their break and it takes me like five minutes to realize that a few of them aren’t even speaking English (or any other language I recognize?) and that probably no one over the age of 30 is a Vassar freshman.

There is also the issue of the egg and pancake stations, where I feel like I should be making conversation with people but honestly I am a little hungover and my slippers are in the shape of small woodland creatures and now is not the time for me to talk about Cartoon Network at a high volume. For some reason people don’t like talking about the mayor from “The Powerpuff Girls” when they have splitting Crystal Palace headaches.

Really, what it all comes down to, is that if the next time I talk to you, and I say something really uncomfortable and/or personal and then sprint away, you should know that I want to be your friend. I’d recommend following up on it. Maybe just don’t let me speak for a month or two. Or eight.

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