I speak from personal experience when I say this: a book can be a person with social anxiety’s best friend. Nothing eases the tension of being in a public space better than having a good book to read to escape from the world and (hopefully) dissuade random people from trying to make unwanted conversation. If you also oftentimes feel this way, know that you are not alone. Not only can a book help you retreat within your own mind, but it can also help you better understand yourself. Here is a list of a few recently published titles spanning across autobiographical, self-help and fiction genres that are perfect for the socially awkward.
In Awkward, Psychologist and interpersonal relationship expert Ty Tashiro—self-described as socially awkward since childhood—makes the case that awkwardness deserves its own category on the ever-evolving spectrum, somewhere below Asperger’s syndrome and autism. He unpacks the latest research in human intelligence, neuroscience, personality and sociology, along with personal tales and real world examples, to help us better understand awkwardness. The book offers reassurance and provides valuable insights into how we can embrace our own personal quirks and unique talents to more comfortably navigate our complex world.
2. Socially Accepted: A Self-Help Book For The Socially Awkward by Joe Casanova
Socially Accepted is a book written especially for those who struggle in the art of being social. The notion of being “socially accepted” is based on the idea of presence, exuding confidence in every interaction. The ability to capitalize on the power of social acceptance can lead to many great opportunities, and this book seeks to provide a how-to guide on boosting one’s social presence and identity.
3. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures In The Art And Science Of Relating And Communicating by Alan Alda
Alan Alda, famed actor, director, screenwriter, host of PBS’ Scientific American Frontiers and founder of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, spells out his efforts to help scientists explain their work to laypeople, using methods from improvisational theater and other techniques. Alda cites the results of many psychological experiments to describe the ways we can build empathy, nurture our innate mind-reading abilities and improve the way we talk and relate to others. If I Understood You is a funny and thought-provoking guide to how we can better communicate and understand each other.
4. The Awkward Human Survival Guide: How To Handle Life’s Most Uncomfortable Situations by Adam Dachis and Erica Elson
Lifehacker writers Adam Dachis and Erica Elson bring the ultimate guide to hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. The Awkward Human Survival Guide offers a humorous and smart roadmap through some of life’s most uncomfortable situations. Some tips include how to call out a friend’s BS, how to handle accidentally letting I love you slip out of your mouth, confronting thieves at work and much, much more!
5. A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
For the perfect YA beach read, you can’t go wrong with Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison’s A Totally Awkward Love Story. Hannah is convinced she’s going to find the one the summer before college—and she does, unfortunately it’s in the master bathroom at a house party and she never catches his name. Sam’s summer is off to a rocky start, until he falls head over heels in love with a girl he met inside a fancy purple restroom. As fate would have it, another chance meeting brings the two of them back together… only to have a misunderstanding drive them apart—and the cycle continues from there! This novel is filled with raunchy, hilarious moments and deep romance that will make readers commiserate with Sam and Hannah, as they remember their own awkward moments.
Embrace your awkwardness, fellow bookworms! Whether you’re reading about how to conquer social anxiety or reading to sympathize with others who also suffer from it, always remember that even your most awkward moments only help contribute to you being uniquely you!
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Featured image via Quartz
h/t New York Times