Awkward People Don’t Need a Cure — They Need Community

For a lot of my single years, I was hopelessly awkward. No doubt, there were still attractive things about my personality (or at least my mom says there were), but overall, I was kind of weird.

In college most of my awkwardness came from die-hard legalism, a weird, evangelical asceticism that involved no dating, parties, movies, TV, secular magazines, secular music or Christian music that sounded too secular. Moreover, I felt compelled to announce my convictions to everyone and make my awkwardness as glaringly obvious as possible.

There was this one time during my freshman year when I invited my friend Rebecca and her non-Christian friend to have lunch with me. When she and her friend sat down, I panicked, fearing they might think I was coming on to them. I decided to clear things up.

“Ladies,” I said, “before we pray over the food, there’s something I want to make clear: When I invited you to this table, I wasn’t hitting on you or trying to turn this into a date. We’re just three people having lunch, okay?”

They looked at each other, then at me, and then Rebecca began nervously stuttering and stammering, trying to clarify they wanted lunch, just lunch, and nothing more. I’d done it again — I’d made a perfectly normal situation very uncomfortable.

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