Why Being Socially Awkward Is Actually a Good Thing

We all worry about being socially awkward and anxious, but there are reasons why being socially awkward is actually a good thing.

Researchers at Oxford University found that people who are socially awkward have really intense focus, particularly when it comes to rule-governed studies like math or logic. Ty Tashiro, who wrote the book Awkward: The Science of Why We're Socially Awkward & Why That's Awesome, recently spelled this out in an article for Time: "Awkward people show an exuberance for taking things apart, obsessively studying the components, then systematically putting those parts together in a new way, which is why they are more likely to 'nerd out' over fields like science, technology, engineering or mathematics and are drawn to leisure interests like gaming, collecting or, say, baseball statistics."

He also goes on to say that awkward people, thanks to their intense focus, can usually find workarounds for their feelings of social awkwardness through practicing conversations at home, or studying socially adept peers and then mimicking their behavior. Basically, it's possible to overcome social awkwardness and still keep the focus benefits that are usually paired with it.

All of this to say is that we generally frame social awkwardness or anxiety as bad things, when in reality they usually just signify a different way of seeing the world — one which is bonded to focus, and can often spell prowess when it comes to other areas.