The Flip Side of Social Awkwardness (It's OK to Cringe!)

Sometimes it feels like the awkwardness of middle school just never wears off. But maybe there’s a silver lining? This week, Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen talks with psychologist Dr. Ty Tashiro about the flip side of social awkwardness, plus how parents can help their awkward children.

Ellen Hendriksen, PhD
2-minute read
Episode #193

image of two people being socially awkward

Awkward moments are a fact of life. We’ve all done the back-and-forth dance of trying to get around someone on the sidewalk. We’ve all simply not seen the line and accidentally cut, causing grumblings among others and embarrassment to us. But for some of us, awkward moments seem like an everyday occurrence. What to do? And is it really so bad? Luckily, we can ask Dr. Ty Tashiro.

Dr. Ty Tashiro is a psychologist and author of Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome. He is also the author of The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love. His work has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time.com, TheAtlantic.com, and on NPR, plus he’s addressed TED@NYC, the Harvard Business School, MIT’s Media Lab, and the American Psychological Association. You can find him on Twitter @tytashiro

In conversation with Savvy Psychologist Ellen Hendriksen, Dr. Tashiro shines a light on the awkward brain, both in childhood and as adults. In this episode you will learn:

  • What awkwardness actually is and why there are two sides to being awkward
  • How the hallmarks of awkwardness can actually be strengths
  • How the gap between what’s socially expected and our behavior gives rise to awkward or embarrassing moments
  • Why to put our awkwardness into context and step away from all-or-nothing thinking
  • How awkward people can use their talent for systems and how things work to hack social interactions
  • Two great ways to help your awkward child, plus how not to overprotect them (with potentially hilarious results)
  • How the painfully awkward traits of childhood often evolve into wonderful traits of adulthood

Listen to the full interview with Ty and Ellen using this article's audio player or wherever you like to get your podcasts.

how to be yourself ellen hendriksen bookCheck out Ellen's book HOW TO BE YOURSELF: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety. Get even more savvy tips to be happier and healthier by subscribing to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or get each episode delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for the newsletter. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

For free, helpful downloads to fight social anxiety and be your authentic self, visit EllenHendriksen.com.

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Medical Disclaimer
All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ellen Hendriksen, PhD

Dr. Ellen Hendriksen is a clinical psychologist at Boston University's Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CARD). She earned her Ph.D. at UCLA and completed her training at Harvard Medical School. Her scientifically-based, zero-judgment approach is regularly featured in Psychology Today, Scientific American, The Huffington Post, and many other media outlets. 

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