Michael Battalio

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Serious conversations (part 48):

        This series is a continuation of my conversations with an atheist friend of mine. These are my edited responses from that conversation. The forty-sixth through fiftieth entries deal with introversion/extroversion, social interaction and popularity.

        Previously I talked about my own personal social interactions (Part 46) and speculating on why people find bar hopping of all things so interesting (Part 47). This time I work on physical interactions.

        Speaking of social awkwardness, not a social interaction goes by where I don’t screw up physical interactions. I don’t know when to shake someone’s hand or when not to; is it a handshake or a high five? Also what kind of hand shake? Is it going to be a regular one or the one where you grab around each other’s thumbs? And then is this the kind of person that tries to get your fingers to snap when you pull your hands apart or what? Some guys also like hugging. That leaves me clueless as to when that is socially acceptable. Bumping fists has become a big thing as well recently. I have no idea what to do about that. I feel like Barack and Michelle Obama fistbumping while it is happening, but in hindsight I think I look like an idiot. And then there are the interactions towards girls. I never know if I am suppose to hug someone. I don’t particularly like hugging anyway, but I know quite a few girls (and the more extroverted they are the more they want to hug) who hug for all occasions. I haven’t seen you in five years...hug. I haven’t seen you since yesterday...hug. I’m sad...hug. I’m happy...hug. And then there are other forms of physical contact -- a jovial slap on the back, a punch in the shoulder, etc. I just don’t get it. I always try to anticipate when each action goes where, but I think I force it too much. Others often give me quizzical looks. Granted, I’ve gotten a lot better because I always try to stick to handshakes. It is difficult to go wrong with those. When I am in a group I can always just follow someone else’s lead. But it is baffling to me how the cool people know what physical interaction is appropriate. Did they all go to Debutant school and all have some sort of secret look to know how to act? Aside, dancing also confounds me. I’ve had some dancing lessons, so I kind of know how they do it. However, as far as complicated moves, I’m at a loss as well. Do any nerds have physical interactions figured out?

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