This is a guest post by Mark Belden, the founder of The New Man Within.
As soon as I decided to talk to her, my heart started pounding. We were running around the track in our high school gym class. I had been gearing myself up for weeks to say hi to her.
I ran up next to her and said, “Hey, aren’t you dating Cole?” (I knew she was dating Cole.)
Her: “Yeah, how did you know?”
Me: “I’m friends with him and he told me.”
Her: “Oh… cool.”
She looked over at me wondering if I was going to say anything else. I didn’t. She pulled ahead while I slowed down and wondered if I would be awkward forever.
This wasn’t the only interaction that went like this. I have a journal filled with conversations that I wrote down and tried to decipher why I kept feeling so out of place. I had developed a skill of starting a conversation and then immediately ruining it.
All of these negative experiences led to low self esteem and labeling myself as socially awkward.