In November 2021, I tweeted: “Anyone else struggling to get back to their social interactive self that existed before the pandemic? Realising all those in-person interactions helped to shape my social interactions. Any tips on how to deal with this social awkwardness?”
I am an extroverted multimedia storyteller based in Nairobi, Kenya. I thrive in social interactions. But these were stifled in the two years of the COVID-19 lockdown. Everything was happening virtually and for the right reason. A viral infection had brought everything across the world to a grinding halt.
There were a few silver linings: Virtual engagement kept the virus at bay; I was able to interact with a broader group of people–colleagues, friends, family, mentors–that I would otherwise not have met without the logistics of travel; I was able to work on my thesis much faster than before; and rarely would I be caught in an impromptu meeting unless I had diarised it.
But now, two years later, a casual conversation with a stranger is difficult. I get anxious when I know I’m meeting someone in person. I realised it’s not better with colleagues I kept in touch with via emails and phone calls. I am not sure if I’m communicating correctly.
My tweet gained attention—online and offline—from introverts who were ‘glad’ with one notable response: “a less social lifestyle suits me better now!” JOMO—the joy of missing out—has replaced FOMO. For the extroverts I spoke to though, they related to how difficult it has been with being socially excluded. I was not alone after all.
I have compiled some articles that helped shed light on this feeling of social awkwardness due to the pandemic. I hope you also gain valuable tips on managing social anxiety and awkwardness now that the world is slowly opening up.
Image by Sean Gladwell/Getty Images
Eunice Kilonzo is a multi-award winning writer, communications and (social) media specialist, currently a manager of content generation at Safaricom PLC. Her immediate former role was with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) HQ in Nairobi, Kenya, as a social media and content consultant.
She is fascinated with newer forms of storytelling and content creation, generation and sharing. Beyond writing, she mentors upcoming media and communications professionals, and helps people review their CVs and cover letters.
She has a Bachelors (Political Science, Communications and Literature) and Masters (International Relations) from the University of Nairobi. In addition, she has an Executive Certificate in Global Health Diplomacy from the Graduate Institute Geneve. She is currently pursuing a Professional Certificate in Marketing from Strathmore University.
See her portfolio here: https://linktr.ee/eunicekkilonzo, and she tweets @eunicekkilonzo.