Last-Minute Gifts for Awkward Girls

Christmas is about a week away, and maybe you’re not quite done with your holiday shopping. It’s a fun time of year to give gifts to those you love, regardless of what you celebrate. The hustle and bustle of this time of year and PRESSURE of finding the perfect gift can be overwhelming, especially for the hard-to-buy-for people on your list.

Did you find yourself one week from a holiday celebration thinking “What should I get for my favorite awkward girl?”

As an awkward girl, I know it can be hard to find the perfect gift for those introverts out there. And maybe, just maybe, you’ve put off buying for those people on your list. Well, I’m here with some ideas that are quick and doable even if you need something ASAP (even if ASAP is tomorrow… I don’t know your life but I know my life and things happen).

All these gifts can be easy and doable in different price ranges. I also kept with things that you hopefully won’t have to pay for super expedited shipping and cross your fingers that everything arrives on time (let’s be honest… we’ve all been there).

An awkwardness- free opportunity to see friends is an easy present with no shipping and handling.

This is a simple gift but it can mean so much to your favorite awkward introvert. Though I need some alone time in my life, I love hanging out with friends and family. One of my big weaknesses, however, is asking people to hang out because I get so worried they don’t want to hang out with me. I’m bad at initiating a hangout session. If someone gifted me a lunch out or a platonic move date, I’d be thrilled. You can pick a place that is related to your awkward girl’s interests but that she wouldn’t go to alone or just plan a chill day at your place. Make a little card or buy the tickets or a gift certificate. Plan an afternoon or a weekend. This can also fit in most price ranges which is awesome!

Tap into favorite memories to pick a gift that will delight and surprise.

If you’ve known the awkward girl on your list for a while, pulling from your memories with them can inspire your gifts. Think the teapot Jim gives Pam in the early years of The Office (or pretty much any gift Leslie gives in Parks and Rec). Gift a memento or something you enjoyed in your younger days. Creating an album or some other photo gift is always an option too. You can lean sentimental or silly, but a memory gift allows the receiver to feel known and loved.

Don’t have a wealth of memories to pull from? Utilize a family member or spouse to still utilize a photo gift that brings up memories, even if you didn’t experience them yourself.

Handmade gifts are a personal and heartfelt gesture.

I know that “it’s the thought that counts” is a cliche, but it comes from a real yearning. It feels nice that someone has put real thought and effort into a gift no matter what it is. That’s why homemade gifts can be a great last-minute option. If you’re crafty, you can make something lovely. for example, I’ve knitted washcloths and sewn eye pillows. The magic of the internet allows you to find ideas and tutorials for almost anything. Cooking/ baking something is always nice too… who doesn’t love a delicious homemade treat?

If you’re not very crafty or a mess in the kitchen, check out options to purchase homemade goods from local shops, craft fairs, bakeries and the like. You’ll be supporting local makers and you’ll have a thoughtful gift to give.

She wants to stay in- help her keep it cozy!

Listen, any introvert will tell you that a night at home is a personal favorite. You don’t ever have to worry about being awkward or weird in your own space. So anything that provides a chance to make that chill time even cozier is an awkward girl’s dream. Soft blankets, pj’s, warm slippers or socks, a nice candle, and bath products are all relatively easy to find but always a win in my book. There are a lot of jokes about giving socks or a generic candle as a present, but they clearly weren’t written by me because I always love those gifts (As I type I’m wearing cozy slipper socks I got a couple of years ago… I rave about them all the time). And to be honest, not everyone is good about getting themselves items that are purely for comfort, which is why getting it as a gift is nice. Just try to pick something that’s not too generic- you can always find something that ties into their likes/ interests.

Keep the cozy option in mind for next year, too. Places like Etsy sell all sorts of candles, bath bombs and other cozy goodies that tie into someone’s favorite book, movie, TV show. This sort of thing always makes me feel extra good because someone chose something very related to my interests.

Give the gift of mail that’s tailor-made for her interests!

Ok… so I know Jelly of the Month club is another cliche joke about bad gifts, but hear me out! Subscription boxes are a BIG THING now and they offer a gift that keeps giving. Have the boxes sent directly to your awkward girl’s house means you don’t have to wrap anything or carry it along! Plus you can find a subscription box for almost any interest including books, makeup, cause-related goods, teas/coffees, snacks, food, almost anything. Having something lovely delivered right to my door is such a pleasant surprise and totally awkward girl approved. Even if you only purchase one month, it’s a nice way to get a tailored gift without all the work (and on a deadline… *REMINDER: YOU ONLY HAVE ONE WEEK).

Last-Minute Gifts for Awkward Girls

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Attending a Professional Conference

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It’s been almost a year since I’ve been blogging here on An Awkward Girl’s Guide. I’ve found that it’s very difficult to produce content all day for work and then come home and do more. What a writer’s dilemma.

I just came back from Content Marketing World, and I’ve been feeling incredibly inspired.

When anything is your job and your passion, it’s easy to get a little cynical and burnt out. Good professional enrichment is essential, and a professional conference is one great way to get on fire for your work again!

As an awkward girl, a professional conference also come with stresses. I hadn’t been to a professional conference since becoming a real-deal professional, so there were some things that worried my awkward little heart. I have some ideas of how to overcome your fears and have a wonderfully productive professional conference experience.

Set Goals for the Conference

When you’re looking through the schedule before you leave, set yourself some goals for the conference. Are you looking to network, or wanting to focus on learning? Is there a resource or provider information you want to come home with? Are you going alone or with some collegues?

All these factors will affect how you proceed with your time at a professional conference. If you’re hoping to network, you’ll be sure to be at those events, but if learning is your main goal, you’ll prioritize the educational sessions. I found in order to get a good seat in a session, I didn’t have much time for the networking breaks. Since I was attending with my bosses and networking wasn’t my goal, that was ok! You can’t possibly do everything at a busy professional conference like Content Marketing World, but having goals made my decisions easy.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Plan a couple of things at a professional conference that are a little out of your comfort zone. One of my favorite sessions was one that I attended just because I thought it was a good “business choice.” After all that, a session about Return on Investment (which is typically a very math-heavy subject) ended up being wildly helpful and inspirational. I never would have guessed.

In the same line, any time I struck up a conversation with people around me, I was pretty nervous. My awkwardness is not always conducive to small talk. I didn’t ignore my introverted personality entirely at Content Marketing World, but I did find getting out of my comfort zone a little bit improved the experience.

Don’t Ignore a Refresher Session

As a professional writer, I tried not to take too many sessions that were just about the craft of writing. I didn’t want to sit in a lot of sessions where I knew all the concepts already. However, the writing sessions I did attend were incredibly instructional. I took a class about using journalism skills in content, even though I went to school for journalism, and I still found new concepts and ideas I hadn’t thought of before.

I would have missed out on some great learnings if I’d avoided all the sessions that seemed like they were about things I should already know. Not only that, but hearing fellow writers talk about how their careers have progressed and what drives them was incredibly inspiring. I left the conference itching to write and it had been a long time since I’d felt that sort of itch.

2018-09-07_23-55-35_000Gamify the Experience

When you’re nervous, making a professional conference into a game takes some of the pressure off. If you need to make up a point system, do it! There’s plenty of research that gamifying work helps you get it done. If the expo hall makes you nervous, try to get as much swag as possible by talking to and learning about providers.

For me, I gamified getting from session to session because I was nervous about being last in line or entering late. Strategizing my timing helped keep me confident and I always beat the majority of the lunch line (food is a powerful motivator, my friends).

Take Notes

Taking notes helps me feel professional and helps keep me focused. When you’re waking up early and rushing around, it’s easy to feel tired and distracted, especially towards the end of the day. Taking notes helps focus your brain. I find an old school notebook the best for that but plenty of people were typing. I find a computer or my phone just another avenue for distractions.

In the case of Content Marketing World, we had access to presentations after the fact, but I still liked to take my own notes. I also found it helpful to keep an idea list, because I was coming up with tangential ideas throughout the whole event that I’m excited to bring to the office next week.

2018-09-07_23-56-11_000.pngLeave Some Recovery Time in Your Schedule

Running yourself ragged at a professional conference will probably counteract all the learning and inspiration you’re experiencing, especially if you’re an awkward introvert like me. For me, having a quiet breakfast and dinner counteracted a day of running around. I also avoided some of the evening fun activities because resting and taking my introvert time was essential.

If you need some time during the day, you can always find a quiet corner or skip a session block that you find less interesting. Give yourself the time you need to keep the experience productive. This is extra important if you have to go straight from a conference back into a work day.

 

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Attending a Professional Conference

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