Being socially awkward can be hard sometimes.
Particularly when you consider that social engagement with strangers is pretty much unavoidable on an everyday basis. However, while most of us come to accept that interacting with strangers is inevitable, it doesn’t mean we’re any good at it! I often say things that end up sounding really silly out loud. Or I fail to respond ‘appropriately’ to things. Or I pretend that I didn’t hear, and make people repeat themselves just so I have an extra five seconds to form a unique, interesting response instead of just being myself. And other times I just laugh really unattractively because I become completely incapable. So yeah, it’s safe to say that I’m pretty awkward.
Because I am this way, I tend to avoid things that involve unnecessary social interaction. Like gym classes, personal shopping appointments or spa days. At least when I’m on my own. I even get my mum to cut my fringe so that I don’t have to go to the hairdresser’s too often! Yep! I’ve come to realise that I can’t just go through life avoiding all of these things in the fear that people will see how awkward I am. Besides, Taylor Swift made being socially awkward cool, right?
So I went to Toni & Guy today to get my hair cut and coloured for the summer. And of course, no matter how hard I tried, awkward things happened. And I was awkward. And it was uncomfortable and cringe-worthy at times for me. But instead of curling up into a ball and crying about it, I decided there’s nothing wrong with being awkward and nothing bad happened as a result of my nervousness and I kind of just ended up laughing at myself behind my foiled fringe for most of the appointment anyway.
Without further ado, here is my list of what NOT to do at the hairdresser’s if you are prone to social awkwardness: (all are based on true events from this very appointment)
- Do not pretend that you know how to put on the gown/apron type thing they give you just as you come in, because you WILL put it on backwards and they will chuckle at you in a patronising hair salon receptionist manner.
- Do not try and act cool when the super cool colour technician comes over to you and says, “You alright?” because you WILL laugh awkwardly and just say “yeah” without asking them how they are. Which is not only awkward but also RUDE.
- Don’t pretend that you know hair stylist terminology when you’re explaining what you want. Examples: “ash blonde”, “scrunch dry”, “cool tones” etc. They will correct you and you will feel silly and shrivel up inside a little bit.
- JUST FIND A PICTURE AND SHOW THE HAIRDRESSER WHAT YOU WANT. Simple. Do not try and describe the length that you want with inches or using hand gestures. You will just get it wrong or be dangerously vague. For example, I tried to use my hands as a visual aid to indicate where I wanted my hair cut to, and then I showed a picture afterwards. The hair stylist proceeded to tell me that what I was doing was completely different to the picture. More awkwardness.
- Do not spend the whole appointment just looking directly at your own reflection as if you’ve never seen yourself up close like that before. I know it’s extremely uncomfortable to be seated right in front of your own reflection for an hour and it’s a really strange situation to be in. But just don’t. Also don’t completely avoid eye contact with yourself either because let’s face it, there’s not much else to look at, and you’ll probably look just as odd doing that.
- Don’t be afraid to make conversation. Even though you suck at it. Yes, you don’t want to distract the guy from doing his job because YOUR HAIR IS ON THE LINE but it’s also weird to reply to every question with “yep”, and “okay” after a while. Be witty. Or try to be witty. Just do something!!!
- Do not make awkward over-exaggerated nervous faces when they cut a large chunk of hair off like you’re not sure you wanted it to happen. You’re doing this most likely because you’re trying to be funny, but do not do this more than once! Because the person doing your hair will just feel all worried and awkward. And just because you’re awkward, doesn’t mean you should spread your awkwardness to normal, socially capable people.
- Don’t end up telling your life story because they’re not THAT interested and they WILL just cut you off eventually, and say something like, “do you notice that you get a dryer scalp as the weather changes?” which will cause you much embarrassment and you will shrivel up inside once more.
- Try and play it cool at the big reveal. For example, be confident with the mirror thing they do. You know, when they hand you the mirror and ask you to check the back and in your head you’re like WHICH ANGLE DO I TILT THIS MIRROR TO SO I CAN SEE THE BACK because you forget and there’s so much pressure to not look like an idiot.
- Finally, TRY AND BEHAVE LIKE A NORMAL HUMAN. I find that I wait for directions from the hairstylists like I’m five years old again learning how to use play doh. Literally. Don’t forget that you are still a functional adult and you should RELAX. You know how to tilt your head accordingly and you know what getting your hair washed by someone else entails. Don’t be so immobile and tense. You don’t have to worry about disobeying the hairdresser’s instructions – you are paying them for this service, and they know that you’re only a human and not a robot who gets their hair done all the time. They are also human. So you’re okay.
Of course this list is not serious in the slightest and what I’m getting at here with this post is that you shouldn’t let your nervousness hold you back. You can’t just avoid everything, so embrace your awkwardness, and don’t be afraid of looking silly. Because you probably don’t, and it’s just in your head. Trust me, I get like this a lot.