Ask Nicci: Social Awkwardness

Ask Nicci: Social Awkwardness

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My boyfriend is socially awkward, and it has turned into a serious problem for me. I am tired of feeling like his babysitter. I am always making sure he is comfortable and mingling when he accompanies me to work events or even something as simple as hanging out with friends. I do love him, but really want a guy that can hold his own in a social setting. Why do I feel horrible for thinking about breaking things off because of this?



Dear Babysitter,

I am an outgoing personality who loves parties and being the social butterfly. I absolutely agree that it can be quite annoying when our partners turn out to be the buzzkill sitting in the corner – or maybe worse the overcompensating guy with way too many cocktails turning into the party clown.


The social aspect of a relationship is extremely important to some of us. On one hand, being with the "life of the party" certainly has allure; however, the silent, thoughtful types that are so hard to resist aren’t always the most fun at happy hour. It’s time for a little self-discovery and to level with yourself: Is this husband material or simply a boyfriend with whom to bide your time? You need to first conclude if your boyfriend is a keeper – Mr. Short-term or Mr. Long-term.


If you are turned on by watching your man "work the room" during the after-work happy hours or weekend meet-ups but cannot think beyond the weekend festivals, concerts or the next happy hour – you definitely are looking for a Mr. Short-term. Don’t kid yourself: We’ve all dated guys that we know deep down aren’t "the one," but we are fine dating them as long as it is easy and drama-free. It could be that you are waiting for someone better to come along or maybe you aren’t ready to fully commit for personal reasons. Sound familiar? If so, do not envision him as a permanent fixture in your future. Maybe it’s time to weed him out.


On the flip side, if your guy has the potential of being Mr. Long-term, then his social shortcomings are something you should work through together. If he is husband material but simply uncomfortable in social situations, then maybe you shouldn’t put either of you in that position. We all have personality indifferences, and no one is perfect. What some would view as character flaws and weaknesses in someone, others might consider a perfect match. We are all attracted to different qualities in a partner and over time these qualities can change. Imbalance is good: It is actually essential in making a successful match. Finding the right balance for you is the trick.


Coming to the decision whether you can overcome his social awkwardness is a potential game changer for you. Ultimately, growing your relationship in a healthy way requires choosing to accept or dismiss personality indifferences. Do you accept him as Mr. Long-term, shortcomings and all? On the other hand, has this relationship with Mr. Short-term run its course? Maybe its time to find a guy that can hold his own at a party. These are tough questions only you can answer.