Social Awkwardness

The Good

About a week or so ago, I, once again went to my comic shop a few minutes before the scheduled opening so I could grab my pulls before class started. When I got there there was already an older, possibly middle-aged guy, waiting as well , along with Wayne (a long time employee and my favorite to boot) Wayne and I started catching up about Thanksgiving break and what not while we all waited for Dave (the guy with the key that day) to show up. Wayne informed us that Dave had just moved and had to adjust to using a different bus to get into work and that was probably why he was running a little late. A few minutes later Dave showed up and he and Wayne headed up to prep the store. While they did so, the other customer and I struck up a conversation centered around comics, naturally, that was polite, pleasant, and not at all invasive. I found out that he worked down the street and decided to come up early so he could fully enjoy his lunch break rather than having to divide it between travelling to and from the shop as well as eat. I very much enjoyed talking with him and towards the end of our conversation Jeff (the store owner) showed up, and ushered us upstairs to our home away from home. Talking to other comic book readers about comics, comic related topics, or even *gasp* other topics, is what I look forward to the most when making the weekly pilgrimage to Phantom of the Attic Comics. It's always nice to see and hear what people are interested in who share a mutual interest. I'll stop with that for now as the social aspect of comic reading is a whole other topic in of itself.

The Bad

So, a few weeks ago, about a week or so before the above incident, I skipped my philosophy class and went to the comic shop before it opened so I could grab the titles and covers I wanted before the other faithful patrons could get their hands on them. Well, shortly after I got there another younger-looking shopper showed up and waited so I struck up a conversation with him and asked which titles he was reading and what he thought of the DC reboot. At first, he seemed almost deathly afraid to engage me in conversation and, throughout the painfully wrought interaction, seemed reluctant to talk about this mutual interest that we shared. After our brief chat I left him alone and shortly afterwards, Wayne showed up and went up to set up. Jeff followed him up to help and told us things would be ready in five. After the time elapsed we went up and my pulls were waiting for me in a neat little pile. Blah, blah, blah. To be fair to the other guy, he was just randomly asked about which comics he likes by a random bearded stranger at 10 in the morning so I can understand his initial reluctance. Moreover, he could have suffered from some social anxiety/disorder, but for whatever reason, he still tolerated my talking to him so I give him props for that.

The Ugly

Recently, I've been hitting up the commuter lounge, a new lounge that caters to commuter students (shocking I know, given the name). Strangely enough, there always seems to be a buzz of nerdy/geeky activity here: some people are always playing Magic, doing PC gaming (a lot of WoW fans and virtual chess) , discussing episodes of MythBusters, and the like. On this particular occasion, I was scoping out a spot to set up my laptop when I noticed a guy reading comics that were very 90s looking. I set my stuff down and asked him what he was reading (you'd think I'd have been discouraged from doing this by now) and he held up a cover to show me. I asked him if they were 90s and he said, "I think so" or something like that. I asked him another question or two but he seemed irritated that I was bothering him. I can appreciate that, truly, I can. Although he seemed reluctant to talk from the beginning he had a slightly rude air about him towards the end of our chat. Interestingly enough, later on that same day I was playing Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines and a guy walked up behind me and commented on how he'd never seen anyone else playing that game. I took out my ear-buds and had a pleasant, albeit short, conversation with him about it and afterwards he continued walking over to his friends, one of which interjected a comment during our talk. It was neat to connect with a random person over a shared interest

The point of this whole rant-ish entry is to stress how much I hate comic book nerd stereotype as being: shy, reclusive, social awkward, pale, etc. but this guy just screamed socially awkward and that really infuriated me. I though, don't make us look like that! However, the point remains that I still hate negative incarnations of comic book nerds as I'm very proud of my community of readers. (This may very well sound elitist and that too, I despise) We geeks/nerds or whatever have to stick together and support each other, not shrink away from social interactions. Everyone has a potentially interesting and informative perspective on things and it's always awesome to see/hear them and thus expand our experience, knowledge, and perspective as well. What do you all think? Any thoughts and input are appreciated.

12 Comments
12 Comments
Posted by cyberninja

Whatever razzles your berries. 

Posted by XMASCATEXE

Truth:

- Everyone has an aspect of social awkwardness. It's just displayed in a variety of ways as is any other human trait.

- The person your mentioning was socially awkward in their way with our without the comics. It happened to just be in interest they enjoy, so while on the subject their social awkwardness channeled through the context. He could have easily been the same person but into football, in fact I've met that variation ten times over and any other.

Personal:

- I don't feel the the same but more power to you. First, if your into comics your my sister or brother, and that's how I roll, together. The stigma was created by people per-judging people who read comics as weak and therefore inferior. I'm not into those semantics, in fact weakness is another trait all humans share, as is fear and nervousness, regardless of how hard anyone tries to cover theirs up. Personally I think " weak " is running from ones nature, and especially taking that to the lengths to strike out and cast out others one see's it in, see motivation behind the stigma attached to comic readers, as well sci-fi fans, RPG enthusiasts, ect. and abuse that has been dolled out as a result. The softest thing cannot be snapped. But I'm a lover in truth so that is also my nature showing through. Asking the person to display otherwise is just asking them to lie, or where a mask, or be whom their expected to be as opposed to who they are, and that is not love, and not unconditional love for sure, imo and my heart anyways.

Posted by rogue_mar1e

I'm socially awkward toward people I don't know.

Posted by Aiden Cross

Just because people aren't very social at one point, doesn't mean they are not social at all. Perhaps the guy you were trying to talk to in the commuter lounge had a very busy day and just wanted to be left alone reading his comics. We all have days like that, doesn't make one socially awkward.

I have no problem talking to strangers but when i've had a crappy or stressful day, i'm not really in the mood to talk to random strangers either.

Posted by The_Peter_Cosmic

@Queso6p4: You do realize that socially awkward people don't shrink away on purpose right?

Posted by Larkin1388

Great article. I completely agree. I have no problem discussing anything with anyone.

Posted by sesquipedalophobe

Social awkwardness to me would be blatant flirting, explaining jokes and waxing non sequitur. Activities usually don't contribute to anything, unless you're a serial killer.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
@rogue_mar1e said:

I'm socially awkward toward people I don't know.


 I'm socially awkward with people I know or people I am acquainted with, the ones I don't know doesn't bother me at all. 
Online
Posted by ReVamp

@spiderbat87 said:

@rogue_mar1e said:

I'm socially awkward toward people I don't know.

I'm socially awkward with people I know or people I am acquainted with, the ones I don't know doesn't bother me at all.

These are both good points.

Posted by difficlus

@Queso6p4: Nice post, i agree with you.

Posted by Queso6p4

Thanks to everyone for your comments and input. You guys make this community great.

@cyberninja: I see what you did there. Thanks for the comment.

@XMASCATEXE: Thanks for your input but to give it a comparably worthwhile and thought-out reply would take up a lot of space in this mass reply.

@rogue_mar1e: Oh yeah, this is completely fair and reasonable. I guess I just get really excited to see someone else sharing the same interest.

@Aiden Cross: That was one possibility that didn't cross my mind until you brought it up and I respect that as well. Later on the same day, however, he was walking around loudly mumbling things to himself so I'm just not sure how to peg him.

@The_Peter_Cosmic: Oh yeah, this is a given and I never assumed they do.

@Larkin1388: Thanks. I really like getting different people's take on comics or anything for that matter, but especially comics.

@sesquipedalophobe: I started agreeing with your statement but got confused towards the end. Thanks for the comment, though.

@spiderbat87: This is interesting as, for me, this is counter-intuitive. Thanks for the insight.

@ReVamp: Thanks for the comment!

@difficlus: Thanks. It's good to hear from a kindred spirit.

Posted by Ebbm

I can be socially awkward a lot of times, its not like I want to be it just happens. It sucks tremendously, sometimes I'll try to cover up being awkward by being anti-social. Rather come off as rude than awkward/pathetic. This isn't all the time but it happens on certain occasions...like the Christmas party I just went too. I'm not good with meeting new people, or talking to people I know but in different settings.