Know Yourself Better This Year

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Make exploring your personality your top goal for 2020!

So here’s the thing, I’m kind of obsessed with self-reflection. I mean, I try not to be too self-involved but I am constantly trying to better understand myself if only to figure out why I am being so annoying. I’m an introvert who spends a lot of time in my own head, so I spend a lot of time self-reflecting and thinking about the way to respond to things in my life. I like to think Awkward Girl came out of a significant amount of self-awareness. In general, I think this examination has been super helpful in my own personal growth, but there’s more to it than just thinking about yourself. Here are some ways you can start the process of getting to know your own awkward self better. 

Start with easy to understand personality classifications. 

Most people have heard of the Myers Briggs personality types. I had to take the Myers Briggs assessment in high school and college even though I found it much more helpful the second time. This well-known typing system provides many free or low-cost test options and a wealth of online information to start to understand yourself. It can feel weird the first time you take one of these personality tests, but just answer with your first inclination and go with it. I consistently test as an INFP, which tells me I’m an “Idealist” who is quiet, a good listener, has high standards and wants to figure out meaning in my life (All of which are right on). This language gives you the ability to start to think about what motivates you and what the different parts of your personality mean when put together. After you get a handle on all this, you can use it to handle difficult situations better and interact with other personalities .

GET STARTED: Take the humanmetrics test to start your Myers Briggs journey. 

Some people swear by the Strengthsfinder 2.0 test. I’ve never taken this assessment but it makes sense that understanding your strengths could be helpful to learn what opportunities to embrace or how to work with others who may have different (but complementary) strengths.

Make Some Lists

Now, I understand that these lists will be much more appealing to certain personality types. I understand, but I can’t think of a better way to start thinking about your values, likes, and dislikes. Whether you want to creatively map all of this out, or just write some straightforward lists in your favorite notebook, the act of writing things down can help you think out how you feel about your life. 

GET STARTED: Here are some lists/ questions to think through to understand your personality and what drives you. 

  1. What are my top 5 favorite things? 
  2. What are my top 5 pet peeves?
  3. What 5-10 adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
  4. What do I value most in a relationship?
  5. What are my biggest fears? 
  6. What is your biggest regret?
  7. If you had a life motto, what would it be? 
  8. How do you deal with negative emotions/ideas?
  9. What would be a perfect day for you?
  10. What motivates you most?

Writing down an answer to these questions will probably start to highlight some things that seem defining in terms of who you are. Having all of this in your head can help you see how you align with personality classifications and can really help if you start exploring the enneagram (see the next one ;)) 

Dive in with the Enneagram

The Enneagram changed the game for me in terms of understanding myself. I cannot speak strongly enough about how much more I make sense to myself the more I explore the enneagram. Now, you might be wondering what the ennea-thingy is? 

The thing about the enneagram is it requires more mental investment than something like Myers Briggs. The experts will tell you not to take a free test for the enneagram although that’s what you’ve probably done for any other personality typing system. I’ll be honest, I took a free test to start, but I followed that up with a lot of research. To really understand your type, you’ll probably have to read some books and listen to some podcasts.

In the enneagram, there are 9 types with various subtypes. One of the experts, Ian Morgan Cron, author of The Road Back to You and host of the podcast Typology, describes the enneagram as, “an ancient personality typing system that identifies nine types of people and how they relate to one another and the world. The Enneagram is a powerful tool for understanding why we behave the way we do, and how our personalities are powerfully influenced by our motivations. It provides a framework for how we can begin to live into our most authentic selves, and also reveals the wisdom each personality type can offer to others.”

View this post on Instagram

Discovering your Enneagram number takes some listening, both to other people’s stories and to your own. You see, each number on the Enneagram tells a different story. And to find your number, you must listen to the stories of the different numbers until you find one that sounds like your own. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It is normal to relate to all nine of the types, so finding your Enneagram number can be tricky. But out of all the nine types, there is one which will strike a deep chord within you – perhaps a painful chord. There is one which will make you pause and say “the story that this number tells…it sounds like my story!” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There are many tests and quizzes for the Enneagram, but they are rarely accurate. Because tests and quizzes speak to behavior and traits, but your Enneagram number is actually determined more by your deep motivations, the core wounds that have shaped you, and the way in which you see and process the world around you. That’s why listening and reading to the stories of each Enneagram number is the best way to determine which number most describes you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The 9 types are commonly known by the following names: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1: The Perfectionist 2: The Helper 3: The Achiever 4: The Romantic 5: The Investigator 6: The Loyalist 7: The Enthusiast 8: The Challenger 9: The Peacemaker ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Any idea which number you are? Where are you in the process of discovery? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We have type descriptions on our website page “Find Your Type” (link in profile). Also, once you’ve narrowed down your search to a few different numbers, you can search our posts to read through the comments of others and listen for the ones that resonate most with you. Hot tip: you can find our posts on any specific type by searching for the hashtags #xoenneagramfours, #xoenneagramnines, etc.

A post shared by xo, enneagram (@xoenneagram) on

The thing that the enneagram has helped me with the most is understanding what motivates me, what healthy and unhealthy tendencies I have and how to grow towards health. It can feel really intimidating to learn about at first, but the first time you read something and think “That is so me… how did you know?” it’s so validating and helpful. 

Read and Write About It

Once you start exploring any of these ways to think about your personality, you’ll grow most by doing more reflection. Start journaling about your motivations and the way you react to things and what you identify with and don’t identify with about anything you’ve learned so far. 

If you really want to get into the enneagram but you’re too overwhelmed to start, there are some great courses you can pay for. I’ve heard great things about Ian Morgan Cron’s, “The Enneagram Made Simple” and Suzanne Stabile has a well-respected curriculum if you have a group wanting to learn. Both these enneagram experts also have books and podcasts and I’ve found that to be a great way to learn. 

I’ve also found a lot of great Instagram accounts that talk about the enneagram. Some of them are SUPER educational focused and some are more on the entertainment side, but the comments can be super helpful in learning about other people who have the same type as you. 

GET STARTED: Check out these Instagram accounts!

Know Yourself Better This Year

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Voting


element5-digital-1126225-unsplash.jpgIt’s that time of year again! It’s voting time! As an awkward person, everything about voting in person is scary and stressful, but it’s such an important part of the democratic process. The system doesn’t work unless we all get involved… even the awkward people. It’s too late for early voting (which is probably the easiest solution for you awkward folks out there), but you still don’t have to be stressed or scare yourself out of participating.  Voting is an awesome responsibility but it isn’t as nerve wracking as it can seem. In fact it is one of the quietest, most introverted ways to make your voice heard. So get to it! Here are some last minute tips to make it as painless as possible.

Find your reason.

Find an issue or a race that matters to you and makes you feel like your vote matters. There are no shortage of issues facing our states and country as a whole. A couple of them probably matter to you, even if you haven’t thought much about how the vote you cast plays a part. If you’re a woman, remember that suffragettes fought for years and went to jail to get you the right to vote. Reminding yourself of the purpose and value in the difficult action makes it easier to go, at least for me.

Declaration of Sentiments from Seneca Falls, NY, the location of the first Woman’s Rights Convention in the United States.

Do your research.

You can find your ballot online pretty easily. I usually use Vote411 but I’ve also used Ballotpedia. There are a lot of other personalized ballot tools online. If you’re in a more rural area, you might still end up with some local political races that you don’t know about, but you can find a lot of information about the statewide and national races you’ll be voting for. You can see, in many cases, overviews of the positions each candidate has.

From there you can also review their websites, interviews and social media interactions to try to get a sense of their positions. Understand that everyone is trying to say what they think you want to here, but you can get the basics to make an informed choice. Mark it on your ballot and print a copy to take with you. You don’t have to memorize your choices. Bring it with you and you can feel a little more confident in what you’ll have to do on voting day. It’s also a good idea to review your rights as a voter, just in case. Here’s a good resource from Rock the Vote

Make a plan.

Find your polling place and it’s hours. Again, a quick search will help you out. Figure out when you can fit voting into your schedule. Write it down. Block it off on your calendar. Don’t miss it. Factor in travel time and a bit of standing in line. Find a buddy to go with. Just have a solid plan that is feasibly built into your day. You can help yourself know what’s going to happen and hype yourself up for it. It will probably require a little more stress than your average day, but you can do it if you just think it through.

I also usually plan out other aspects of my day as well. I try to have an outfit planned (because a good outfit can make a good day better). If the outfit pays homage to suffragettes or matches my voting sticker- all the better! Having a lunch packed and a plan for the evening also helps because it helps me feel more in control of an out-of-the-ordinary day. Make sure you’ve located your voting card the night before as well!

Go at an unusual time.

Depending on where your live, certain time at a polling place can busy. Waiting in long lines of people talking about politics might seem like a nightmare for your poor awkward girl heart… at least it is for mine. If you can avoid peak voting times like the evening and during lunch, you might be better off. I try to go first thing in the morning. There are usually some people during that time, but I’ve always had luck getting through quickly.

Also be prepared to walk through a wall of people to to get in. Just put on a smile and let them know you’ve made your decision and keep walking. If anyone bothers you past that, please let someone know in the polling place. No one is supposed to harass you on your way to the poll. Also remember that your polling place is staffed by volunteers so offer them a smile too, if you can. Their might be some awkward interactions with them, but they also help the democratic process work.

Give yourself a reward.

My husband once made me this sticker because I was mad I didn’t get an official one. He’s a good guy.

Ok, you did it! You voted. Now treat yourself to something a little bit special! I almost always go out for a coffee and a scone before work since I have to get up earlier than usual on voting day. But if you’re not into that sort of treat, treat yourself to some extra couch time after work or a special dinner. Anything that adds a little fun into a stressful day and allows you to look forward to a reward. Hopefully you’ll also get a sticker because there’s something magic about getting rewarded with a sticker (or is that just me?).

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Voting

International Traveling for First-Timers

qPfq3m9FXkWYUfVRCfqmrPksJxhbLxf2wOxHXAQBpzwpX92IBI just returned from my first big independent trip abroad and let me tell you, there is nothing quite like it. As an awkward girl, travelling to 3 countries (four if you count airports) was a big undertaking that I was very nervous about. No matter how much research I did, I knew things would go wrong (they did). But it was an amazing experience and I learned a lot of ways to get through the world as an awkward girl. I may go a little deeper into things we learned, but I’m going to start with my overall awkward girl traveling tips.

A partner helps.

Relaxing with my partner-in-travel and life on our terrace in Rome.

I took this trip with my husband and I can’t deny that having a travel buddy that leans toward extroversion was really helpful. You don’t have to have a romantic partner for this to work, however, a friend or family member  who knows you well can aid by stepping in when the awkward gets to be too much. There we times when walking into a restaurant seemed impossible or asking for help was really scary but my husband can usually tell when to pus me out of my comfort zone and took charge when I needed
to. Plus, two heads are better than one when it comes to problem-solving. And sharing experiences with someone you care about is all the more fun. Plenty of people enjoy traveling alone, but, for my unique brand of awkwardness prefers a partner.

Travelling light keeps you mobile.

This was my only luggage for our nearly 2 week trip.

When I first announced that I wanted to do the whole trip in carry-on bags, my husband basically looked at me like I had casually requested we detach our heads from our body. This decision, which I made after a lot of research, was probably the best one we made on the trip. We wanted to do a lot of our travel via public transportation and trains and we always had a decent commute to the places we stayed. With a carry on and a shoulder bag each, we could move around pretty easily. There were a couple of factors that made our light travel easier:

  •  travel cubes and rolling clothes
  • a decent-sized, expandable carry-on.
  • limited liquids (I switched to bar shampoo, stick foundation, etc to help with this).
  • laundry facilities or the willingness to re-wear clothes.

We had a washer at our final rental and set some time on a travel day for laundry and honestly, other than that, our light travelling was pretty easy. I also packed a small duffel for later in the trip so we could have a little more flexibility to check some bags on the way home.

Over-scheduling leads to anxiety.

Over-scheduling meant we had to rush through the Globe exhibit very quickly before closing, but at least we took some good pictures outside.

It’s no surprise that we overbooked our itinerary for this trip. Since this sort of trip had been the matter of our dreams for many years, there was so much we wanted to see and we didn’t want to waste our time. The thing that lead to the most consistent frustration was timing and exhaustion from packing our schedule full of too many items and not leaving enough time for lines, exploration and travel time. For this trip we struggled because we know it’s going to be a long while before we make it overseas again, and we wanted to see as much as we possibly can. But our ideas weren’t exactly realistic, which I think we knew secretly. The “sleep when the trip is over” mentality leads to a less pleasant trip with more bickering, in my experience.

You really should try new things…duh.. but really.

Despite my deep fear of heights, I greatly enjoyed the London Eye… not so much the Eiffel Tower.

When you’re a first time international traveler, the whole experience is new, so this advice can seem super simple. There will be opportunities, while on this journey, to push outside your boundaries in ways you hadn’t thought of yet. Order something you would never order. Have experiences you wouldn’t normally attempt. On this trip, our experimentation was usually in food and drinks. We drank spring mineral water in Bath and did a shot of espresso in Rome after a meal because, of course. My husband tried escargot. I’m terrified of heights but I had to do the London Eye and the Eiffel Tower.  We are by no means the most adventurous travelers the world has ever seen, but there were definitely times when we had choice between the comfortable and out-of-our-norm and we tried to choose the latter. It made the trip better. I did cry at the top of the Eiffel Tower, though.

Find some comfort measures to keep you grounded.

Our fearless English-speaking tour guide for Mont Saint Michel.

There were definitely days when we just felt overwhelmed by everything new. From not knowing the language or where we’re going, to the day my phone got stolen, there were days when we needed something familiar. In many cases ending the night a little early and going back to our place to stay was helpful (and it also helped with our general exhaustion). We also ate at American dining chains for dinner two nights, just so ordering and eating wouldn’t have to be an ordeal. It felt kind of like a failure at the time, but honestly it was nice to be able to chill out. Having a couple of tours booked in English also helped. We didn’t do a lot of guided tours but we did have two semi-guided tours which gave us a brief respite from feeling surrounded by unfamiliarity.

Have a back-up plan.

An amusing warning sign from the Vatican Museum’s spiral staircase.

Establishing some back-up plans give you something to turn to if something goes wrong. What would you do if your phone, wallet or passport was stolen? As I mentioned before, my phone was stolen in Rome, so having my tablet/e reader as a backup device helped a great deal for our last day of tourist-ing and our final travel day. It’s also good to have a back up plan for your day in case the weather changes or the museum you were planning on attending was unexpectedly closed.  You can’t possibly plan for all eventualities but you’ll feel a little bit more comfortable if you have some things in place.

International Traveling for First-Timers

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Getting Mental Health Help in College

jeremy-bishop-131058.jpgWhen stressed by school, you might not have time to exercise or wait a little too long to go to the doctor about your cough. Similarly, sometimes it’s easy to ignore mental health concerns when you’re busy with school. Mental health issues are becoming a larger and larger issue on college campuses and students often don’t know how to begin addressing their concerns with their mental health. Some colleges are more supportive than others, but regardless, there are attainable ways for you to get any help you need. You’re not alone.

Self-harm is estimated to affect up to a third of college students. One in 12 college students admit to having had suicidal thoughts. My college friends and I had many encounters with mental health in school. Dealing with these situations was stressful and at times alienating. I also learned from these experiences that help is out there. Here are a couple of places you can start if you’re struggling with your mental health.

  1. SELF-EVALUATE. Think about the feelings and difficulties you are experiencing. Are you overwhelmed? Frequently and uncontrollably depressed? Having trouble sleeping? Write these feelings and any potential triggers down. This resource will make it much easier to talk with providers about your experience.  ULifeline provides a free, online quiz that allows you to get a general self evaluation of your mental health. This doesn’t replace a visit to a professional in any way, but it’s a good place to start. Psychology Today also has a mental health evaluation if you’d prefer not to enter any information about yourself.

  2. EXPLORE YOUR SCHOOL’S RESOURCES. You can start by searching online if you’re nervous about asking someone. Your R.A. or school wellness center will likely be able to help you learn more… in fact, that’s what they’re there for. ULifeline also allows you to search for services by school, although it’s not comprehensive. Starting with the services your school offers is the most convenient route since they are set up for students. If you don’t feel like these services are working for you, they can also refer you. Some schools offer counseling at a reduced price from grad students in their counselling programs. This is an affordable option to look into if it’s available in your area.

  3. LOOK FOR OUTSIDE HELP. If your school doesn’t offer sufficient services or you want to avoid them for any reason, you can look for help outside the school. Psychology Today has a great listing of therapists and psychologists depending on your needs. SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), provides 24/7 info to help you connect with treatment options. Checking what is covered by your insurance can also help. You can also try online/ text therapy if you’re in a pinch, such as Talkspace and Better Help. If you are in immediate need of help and feel like you want to end your life, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or you can text the Crisis Text Line by sending CONNECT to 741741. These are good numbers to have written down somewhere in case you need them or are with someone who needs them. Both are available 24/7,  free and confidential.

  4. GIVE IT TIME. Finding treatment that works can be difficult with mental illnesses. The process can be scary and it can feel so hard, especially as you’re also trying to keep up with your life at college. Take the time to invest in your health and you may help prevent a major, debilitating crisis.  It’s important that you give the process time. It may take a couple of trys to find the right therapist/provider. It’s common to take more than one try to get the right fit. Don’t be discouraged, your comfort is important and this is worth the time. Also, talk to your psychologist/psychiatrists about any issues you experience with medicines and treatments. This will involve going out of your comfort zone but it’s all part of the process of finding something that works for your needs.Many antidepressants and other mental health treatments take 4-6 weeks to reach full effect and some can have some temporary side effects when first starting that you’ll eventually adjust to.

  5. STAY HOPEFUL. You are not alone in this process. Hope is real and help is out there. It may help to read stories of others going through similar challenges. You can find such stories on the To Write Love On Her Arms Blog and The Mighty. You can find many supportive groups online and there might even be some in your area. But if you aren’t ready for a public support group, virtual options are out there too. Knowing you aren’t alone and that others have gotten through their darkest times can be just the seed of hope you need to get through another day.



Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Getting Mental Health Help in College

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Pet Ownership


If you’re an awkward person and a pet lover you’ve likely already uncovered the secret that your pet doesn’t care how awkward you are. It can be magical to have a companion who loves you whether you’re fixating on something stupid or feeling nervous unnecessarily. There are also some aspects of pet ownership that requires talking to strangers and doing awkward things.

I wouldn’t ever trade my dog Rosie, even when I get nervous about vet trips or interactions at the dog park. She loves me and comforts me no matter how awkward, goofy or sad I am. I have figured out some tricks to alleviate my awkward girl moments when it comes to dog ownership.

    1. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Before you decide to get a pet, start doing your research. When it comes to adopting a pet, you’ll have to talk to many people. It helps if you have a pet in mind. Start with generally researching what breeds and age will work for your. Apps like PetFinder and shelter website can help you pinpoint animals that might be right for you. Research what questions to ask and what to look for when you have a pet home visit (which I totally recommend). When it’s time to go through the process of adopting a pet, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for and how to say it…even if it’s a nervous or awkward situation.

      This step can also be a little addictive. I can’t tell you how much time I spent on Pet Finder before I found my Rosie. But when her foster mom brought her to visit we were comfortable enough to figure out if she was as good a fit as we hoped.

    2. SET GOALS. Before you choose your pet, know what you want from this pet. Do you want a dog that can go on runs with you? Are you looking for a quieter pet? Are you equipped to train a new puppy/kitty or are you looking for a little more experienced pet? Stress with pets can occur when you end up with one that doesn’t fit your expectations and hopes.

      My husband and I were looking for a quiet, calm pet that could handle time at home while we were both at work.  For that reason, we decided to adopt a senior dog who had some minor health problems (she’s partially deaf and arthritic). We got to give a home to an age group who has trouble getting adopted and fulfill our pet goals. We also understood that new command-based training wasn’t really an option for us. Having realistic expectations based on what we were looking for in a pet helps us not to get caught up in the things she can’t do.

    3. KNOW YOUR PET. Spend time getting to know your pet and let that inform your decisions. You’ll start to understand when your pet isn’t feeling well or is anxious and you can take the appropriate actions to remedy the situation. This will keep you from being in an awkward situation where you miss out on an illness or a sign of oncoming aggression. You know what your pet can handle and what makes them a little out of control, which is very important when other animals or people are around.

      Just like you know what things can trigger a negative reaction from you, you can also get a pretty good idea of what will trigger a negative experience with your pet. Avoid those situations if you can. If something negative does happen, forgive yourself and your pet. You can’t always be in control and that’s ok. While you can apologize in the moment and treat any issues with the proper training, etc., don’t fixate on one little circumstance forever. Loving and forgiving your pet and yourself is an important life lesson.

    4. FIND A GOOD VET, GROOMER, ETC. Pet care providers are all different. Check out reviews before you choose a new provider and when you’re testing them out, look for a good fit. A vet that you feel comfortable interacting with and asking questions makes a huge difference. It’s pretty easy to bond with pet providers because they care about your pet and so do you. This is one social benefit of a pet, because it’s always easier to talk to other pet people. You have a built in shared interest! This is just as important at a vet or groomer visit as it is at the dog park or in a pet store.

      It can be stressful to try to figure out what a good fit feels like especially if you are a first time pet owner, but in time you’ll figure it out. For your first vet or groomer visit have some questions ready. The way a provider answers your questions will tell you a lot about how they work and whether they work with your personality. In the future this relationship will help you if you run into question or issues.

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Pet Ownership

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Being Decent on the Internet

So, in light of Keith Olbermann’s recent Twitter rant and subsequent suspension, I thought it was time for an Awkward Girl’s Guide for keeping your human decency on the Internet. It seems like every day I hear a new story about a social media controversy. Young and old people alike seem to have trouble controlling the way they express their thoughts on the web (lest you try to blame this on “my generation”).

Open conversation/debate is one of the coolest things about the Internet, but it’s hard to express yourself textually sometimes. I don’t think there is a way to avoid causing controversy and offending someone on the Internet, but I do think some simple practices can help your chances of coming off as the decent human being you are (provided that you are a decent human being… and I truly believe you are).

1. THINK BEFORE YOU TYPE.  The old adage “measure twice; cut once” can apply just as much to the Internet as carpentry. Ignore the impulse to just hit send after every thought you type out. Sometimes you are missing a nuance that comes off as offensive. Maybe you realize the thought you had wasn’t as important to share as you thought at first. Maybe that joke isn’t as funny as you thought. Will you be ashamed of this post in several days or months? Then maybe you shouldn’t post.

I’m not saying you need to censor yourself all the time, but you do need to remember that what you post can be seen by anyone. No matter how much you think you’ve protected your privacy, things on the Internet are inherently public. Just slow down and think about it.

2. REMEMBER CONTEXT. The Internet is this masterful place that connects to all aspects of your life. This can be super fun, but it can also mean that the things you produce could be lacking important context. Especially with networks like Twitter, one post can be singled out and passed around without any of the rest of the posts that were associated with it in your head.

Also in terms of context, remember that everyone who reads/sees what you put on the Internet will not know you personally. They almost definitely will not understand the tone you intended (especially in the dangerous zones of sarcasm and satire). If you are going to go on a Twitter rant (which is largely cathartic, I’ll admit) or write a satirical blog post, just be aware that you will probably get some people who misunderstand you.

3. DON’T INTERNET ANGRY. This is so important to me. When I see a post or article that offends me, my first impulse is to write one essay-of-a-comment. In the first draft of that comment I usually say some mean and/or aggressive things. If I feel like I’m defending myself or a cause that is important to me, it is doubly easy to rattle off some strong language. I try to never hit send on those posts.

If you want to enter in a Internet debate, try to be respectful, logical and kind. I find it’s helpful to consult a friend to make sure what I want to post is coming off the way I want it to. If you have to explain what you mean after a friend has read your potential post, you probably aren’t expressing yourself as well as you could be. The other thing about Internet debates is that they sometimes go on forever. When people stop bringing up new points or when they get angry and mean, disengage.  No matter how reasonable you are being, you won’t be able to force people to change their minds.

4. DON’T TARGET PEOPLE OR GENERALIZE. I just don’t think it is ever appropriate to straight out target a single person with a hurtful post. I also think it’s a terrible idea to generalize whole groups of people in a derogatory way in your posts (or ever…but whatever). It might feel good at the moment to get it all out, but just don’t do it.

If you really need to say something mean/angry about a specific person, message or text a friend. Don’t put it out there for the world to see. The world doesn’t need more anger/violence/overly simplistic generalizations.

5. DO BE OPEN AND WILLING TO APOLOGIZE. You’ll probably enter into an Internet debate with someone who completely disagrees with you, whether you intend to or not. Unless you don’t put anything on the Internet, you’ll probably offend someone. Be willing and open to listen to people who are respectful to you. Explain your side of the story. Be willing to agree to disagree.

And when you did something wrong, apologize. I recently read an article that basically said apologizing is the #1 way to keep a PR crisis going, but I disagree. We are human beings and we make mistakes in the real world and the Internet world. If we ignore that fact, then we are ignoring part of our humanity and I don’t think the Internet is a better place if it becomes less human.

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Being Decent on the Internet

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Wedding Planning

It’s no secret that my Awkward Girl’s Guides usually come directly from my life. Though they are often topics for young awkward professionals like myself, they also venture into other areas. Today’s is going to go a whole new direction: wedding planning.

I have been engaged for a while, but this weeks marks 100 days until the wedding mark. Let me tell you, I have fully entered freak out mode. So, though this is a different sort of Awkward Girl’s Guides, I think it makes sense. Planning a wedding is hard. Planning a wedding as an awkward, little introvert is even harder. But alas! I have learned some things in the past 100 days that I’m hoping help with the next 100.

Here we go.

1. EMAIL. There are a lot of people to contact when you are having a wedding, especially if it’s going to be on the bigger side. There won’t always be a way to get out of face-to-face meetings and phone calls, so when you can do so, go for it. Can you email the caterer to set up a meeting? How about all the people you have to ask favors of?

Email obviously doesn’t work for everything. You’re going to have to tour your venue and talk to many of your vendors. But any bit of reprieve is a nice thing, plus email means you have a written record of your conversations, and allows to you respond to things whenever you have a second.

2. DON’T TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE. Many people are going to have opinions about your wedding. They will get downright passionate, sometimes, about what  kind of cake you have and how you decide to seat your guests. Take it in stride. Most people understand, at the end of the day, that what makes you and your significant other happy is the most important thing.

Still, for awkward girls, the temptation to try to please everyone. Maybe you want to take a vote of your bridesmaids to pick their accessories. Maybe you want to indulge every thing your in-laws would like. It’s great to take input and let it affect some choices, but if you get into the trap of trying to perfectly pleasing everyone, you are going to make things pretty impossible. At the end of the day, you gotta go with what works the best  as the person with the most complete picture of the event.

3. GET HELP. I am notoriously bad at this one. Wedding- big or small- take a lot of work and coordination. For me, I tend to get lots of ideas but get really shy about sharing them or asking people to help me out. I have a secret for you, there are tons of people who WANT to help. You just have to find them and let them take a part.

You can make it fun, though. Go out with your mom and pick out stuff you need. Have your girls over for a crafting party. Make a game out of wedding choices with your significant other. Deep under all the stress is an opportunity to have fun and grow closer with the people you care about.

4. ADD YOUR PERSONALITY. With the magic of the Internet, especially things like Pinterest, it’s easy to pick up on wedding trends and want to fill your wedding with them. A trend here and there is fine to embrace, but it’s also important to fill the wedding with your personality (and your Significant Other’s as well). It’s easier to get into the planning process if you incorporate things you love into your plans for the big day.

Being a bookish person myself, I’ve incorporated them in a lot of my decorations. From book page flowers to actual antique books as centerpieces, my wedding is going to be full of the things I love (other than my fiance… who I also love).

5. TAKE BREAKS. Your wedding will be an important day in your life, but you will have many, many more important days. Though the stress and anxiety of worrying about whether or not everything will work out is a necessary evil, try not to let it consume your life.

A perfectly planned day isn’t worth it if you are fighting with everyone involved or are too stressed to enjoy it. Make sure you are still making time to grow with your significant other and cherish your family and friends. Long after the day is over, you will be enriched by the positive relationships you have with your new spouse, family and friends. Take care of yourself, too.

Hope any awkward girls who are getting married out there are helped by my tips, but as always, things are different for every person out there. Just remember, you fell in love my dear awkward girl, and that’s something to celebrate!

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Wedding Planning

An Awkward Girl’s Guide for Days When You Just Can’t

So. I had a day recently and I knew immediately that I should write about it, but I’ve been putting it off. I know that I frequently write about  how awkward and generally stupid I am in public, but this one was especially embarrassing and out of control.

Most awkward people know what it’s like to have a day when you feel like you just can’t function. Sometimes the awkward levels are too high and the anxiety is so strong that even the idea of something can make you freak out, only compounding the problem. I, personally, try to keep those days to a minimum. But sometimes, I get so inside my head that I actually can’t do the things I know I need to do. And it’s disappointing and rough on the psyche.

I was going to volunteer at an event last weekend. I was spending the weekend mostly alone, which is when my social anxiety kicks into full gear, so when the opportunity to volunteer for a cause I really cared about came up, I thought it would be good. I knew it would be a challenge for me, but I was pretty sure I could do it.

When they day of the event came, a prior commitment ran long and a series of unfortunate events lead to me standing in public crying because I couldn’t convince myself to ask around and figure out where I should be. I just couldn’t do it. I went home disappointed and upset.

Sometimes you can’t do something or you fail at it miserably and those days need some tips too. So here it is:

  1. CALM DOWN. It’s pretty easy to blow a situation out of proportion when you’re feeling awful about your awkwardness. Even if it’s a big deal, you have to be able to calm down enough to really assess the situation. For me, I had to cry it out and take a long hot shower before I could be anywhere near reasonable.
  2. CALL SOMEONE. Have someone you can call or text to help talk you down. Maybe they’ll be able to talk you into doing whatever you are stuck on, but if not, they can help convince you that you are really ok even if you feel really stupid.
  3. FORGIVE YOURSELF. Experiences where you honestly fight your nature and lose are exhausting. Give yourself a true chance to relax and rebuild after a “failure.” Do what you need to do to convince yourself that you are a good person and you will be ok.
  4. FIND A TRIGGER. Once you’ve calmed down, you can start considering what made this case of awkwardness so debilitating. If you can figure out, even just a little, what made you react the way you did, then you can possibly prevent these days from happening too often.
  5. GET BACK ON THE HORSE. You’re gonna have to keep challenging yourself, because that’s a fact of life for awkward folk. It’s tempting to hide away for a bit, but that makes it so much harder to get back to being able to try things. I’m especially prone to that; When I was a kid, I crashed my bike and I never rode again without extreme fear. So I definitely understand the temptation, but I think it’s so important to do whatever you have to do to get back to the business of living.
An Awkward Girl’s Guide for Days When You Just Can’t

An Awkward Girls Guide to Quarter Life Crises

Mostly everyone has heard of a midlife crisis, but until recently I thought realizing that you were almost halfway through your life was the only named crisis-worthy life event. As I get closer and closer to graduation, I’ve started feeling more and more panicked and less and less like ever getting out of bed. The title for this, I’ve found, is called a quarter life crisis.

It might seem a little melodramatic to give 20 somethings their own crisis, but the fact is, this a really stressful part of a person’s life. This is a time full of change and big life decisions, and for an awkward girl like me, it feels like a crisis. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this, so I wanted to share some tips that I’ve found for not just surviving but thriving in this difficult time.

1. PLAN. One of the most stressful parts of the last few months before graduation for me is all the uncertainty. I’m applying for jobs but I don’t know when I’ll get one or where I’ll be in the next year, let alone five. For the last four years of my life, I’ve known where I would be and what, in general, I would be doing. Now I have no idea.

To avoid panicking, I like to focus on things that I can plan. Whether it’s a weekend event or when I’m going to do my work, having plans makes me feel less like everything is wibbly wobbly.

2. RELAX. Find a healthy way to calm yourself down. Personally, I’ve recently started doing Yoga regularly to keep myself feeling chill. I’ve never been a huge fan of exercise (in fact my feelings about the awkwardness of gyms would be a whole other article), but many people find that it helps them focus on something other than their life stress. I’ve definitely found that in the meditation and breathing practices of yoga.

Your stress relief method doesn’t have to be exercise related at all, however. It could be art or music or going for a drive, but whatever you choose, make it a regular part of your schedule. Your body and mind will thank you for the moment of peace.

3. REWARD YOURSELF. If you have something you don’t want to do but you need to get done, set up a reward system. Let yourself watch an episode of something you love on Netflix if you finish your paper or apply to a couple jobs. Get a snack if you get ahead on your work. When the motivation just isn’t there (let’s call it senioritis, perhaps), give yourself a reason to keep working.

You have to be careful with this one, though. Make sure you aren’t just letting yourself have rewards and not getting anywhere. I know that it’s easy for me to make one episode on Netflix turn into three episodes and a nap and then my reward is just more procrastination than anything else.

4. TALK ABOUT IT. There are tons of other people feeling like you, and pretending that everything is fine is silly. Don’t try to hide from the fear and stress you feel. You are overwhelmed, so own it. Rant to your friends and let them rant as well.

Share so that you don’t feel alone but don’t dwell. Talk to those who made it through their quarter life crises and know that it will get better. You’ll get used to the change and stress. Life is going to throw you some curveballs but you’ll make it through.

5. CELEBRATE. Good things will happen even though you feel like everything is challenging and stressful. When those things happen, don’t just skim over them, celebrate them. It’s easy, when you are feeling stressed, to stop noticing all the good things in your life, especially the things you do well.

Celebrate even the little things. Let yourself be happy about the days when the weather is good and when you get something particularly yummy for lunch. You might feel like you’re in crisis mode, I feel that most days, but this is all pretty normal and you’re going to be ok. I will be too.

 Originally published in “The Setonian.” 

An Awkward Girls Guide to Quarter Life Crises