How Not To Be Socially Awkward In Online Class

Understandably, high school is a crucial stage in a person’s life, but it can also be quite stressful, especially if you feel socially uncomfortable in crowds and struggle to fit in.

One of the significant changes brought about by COVID-19 is the shift from in-person learning to online education.

Students all worldwide have had to adapt to video communication, allowing them to collaborate with their peers and educators, and learn remotely.

While remote instruction may not be preferred by students who feel socially inept, it might actually be quite beneficial.

What is being 'socially awkward'?

Social awkwardness refers to having difficulty communicating with others, especially in social settings like large groups or gatherings.

It can significantly limit our life experiences and interactions. Socially inept individuals may also struggle with social skills, often saying or doing awkward things when feeling nervous or pressured, which can lead to uncomfortable situations.

If you find yourself often saying things unintentionally, you might feel like you’re socially awkward.

Sometimes, you may even make things more awkward by drawing attention to yourself, amplifying the awkwardness. Situations like these can make you feel anxious and uneasy around your peers.

Sometimes, people may mistake social awkwardness for shyness, as the two are similar in nature.

But, it’s important to understand that social awkwardness goes beyond mere shyness and involves difficulties in navigating social situations. If we struggle with social awkwardness, we may find it challenging to engage in small talk.

Essentially, social awkwardness is a sign of limited social skills that can result in discomfort for everyone involved. Even with the prevalence of modern technology, we may still feel socially inept.

The reason for this is because we’ve become accustomed to communicating through texting more frequently than speaking face-to-face.

It’s crucial to note that feeling socially awkward does not necessarily mean that we have a social anxiety disorder.

Am I socially awkward?

Being socially awkward is more of a collection of feelings and experiences that form a pattern in an individual’s life. These feelings and experiences of social awkwardness may arise from difficulty in recognizing social cues.

It can also stem from misunderstanding or not noticing others’ body language. Social awkwardness itself is not inherently negative. However, it can become problematic if it leads to distress caused by people making unkind remarks.

If you’re spending excessive time worrying if you’ve made a mistake or feeling rejected by others, it can be a hindrance to your regular routine. It’s important to understand that facing such challenges can be tough, but it does not mean you need to change who you are.

You can refer to a short quiz that can help you recognize if you’re someone that gets overwhelmed in social situations online.

Am I Socially Awkward? - A short quiz:

This quiz is a quick assessment aimed at evaluating your comfort level with virtual social interactions. The questions are rated on a scale of 1-5, with 1 indicating “strongly disagree” and 5 indicating “strongly agree.”

1) I find it challenging to engage in casual conversations with classmates during online classes.

2) I often feel uncomfortable in virtual social situations, such as breakout rooms or online group discussions.

3) I tend to avoid online class gatherings or virtual events. 

4) Expressing my thoughts or emotions effectively in an online class setting is difficult for me.

5) I often feel misunderstood by my peers or instructors in online classes.

If your total score is between 15 and 20, you’re likely to be socially awkward. The good news is, with a bit of work, you can fix that and blend into any virtual group in no time.

How to not be socially awkward?

If you’re finding it challenging to navigate online classes due to social awkwardness, there are coping strategies that can help you feel more at ease. Remember, social awkwardness is normal, and it’s okay to have moments of discomfort in online classes.

Here are some tips specifically tailored for virtual social interactions: 

1) Practice active listening: Pay attention to what your classmates or instructors are saying, and respond thoughtfully. This shows that you’re engaged and interested in the conversation.    

2) Utilize humor: Humor can be a powerful icebreaker, even in online settings. Share a funny meme, make a witty comment, or use appropriate humor to lighten the mood.   

3) Leverage your strengths: Focus on your unique strengths and talents, and find ways to showcase them during online discussions or group activities. This can boost your confidence and help you connect with others.    

4) Be authentic: Be true to yourself and express your opinions and thoughts honestly. Avoid pretending to be someone you’re not, as it can come across as inauthentic.   

5) Practice mindfulness: Stay present and focused during online classes by practicing mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing or meditation. This can help you manage anxiety and stay calm in social situations. 

By implementing these coping strategies, you can navigate virtual social interactions with more confidence and ease.

How to help a socially awkward child?

As an educator, it’s important to remember that some children may struggle in social situations. It’s crucial to adjust our expectations and accept that it’s part of their personality, not a deficiency. 

Avoid expressing frustration or making the child feel like something is wrong with them.

Instead, break down the situation and try to identify what might be challenging for the child, such as separation anxiety or fear of the unknown. Provide knowledge about the event, practice tools like scripting and role-playing, and encourage small steps out of their comfort zone.

Celebrate every success, no matter how small, and help the child find a buddy or a friend for support. Communicate openly with other parents and avoid power struggles. With patience, understanding, and supportive strategies, we can help children with social anxiety thrive in social situations.

Learn how you can assist your students to overcome obstacles, as an educator — get access to exclusive EDU Blog content by signing up today!

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