I have a knack for making those around me feel uncomfortable, and I do it in a number of ways.

Sometimes it is by means of a snide remark that pretty much screams, “SURPRISE, BITCH!” I don’t yet have an explanation why I do this periodically; maybe I just have an inclination for meanness. Or maybe it’s the inherent urge to burst the other person’s ridiculously enormous bubble that was blown from soap suds of self-importance and delusion. Or maybe it’s just because I’m comfortable with you enough to want to make you feel uncomfortable — think of it as my love language, y’all.

Sometimes it happens purely because of someone’s — mine, for the most part — awkwardness and misjudgment of the situation, and I somehow say or do what is perceived by others to be the ‘wrong’ thing. Earlier today at my Psychology tutorial, we were learning about clinical and personality disorders, and there was a case study about someone who suffered from an anxiety disorder. “By the way, I think I might have this disorder,” I casually inserted. I had on a dead-serious expression but apparently it came off as an obscure joke that nobody understood but pretended to anyway and the five girls at my table LOL-ed gingerly. One asked after five seconds of laughter, “Why?” to which I replied, “Because I get panic attacks often and sometimes it feels like I am dying. Might need to see a doctor to get this diagnosed soon.” Cue uneasy shifting in their chairs and abrupt topic change after realising that I did not just tell a weird joke.

Sometimes it is simply because I do not give a shit about humouring ‘societal conventions’ (yessa i m k00L lyk dat) and do not feel obliged to go through the motions of making you feel comfortable just because. If I have established that you do not interest me, I am not going to make small talk with you. You are not going to hear me asking you about how your last relationship was like or why you are having a bad day if I do not genuinely want to know the answers to these questions. Similarly, if I have established that I do not interest you, your apparent efforts at keeping the conversation going even though it means nothing to you will be shot down by me; you’re welcome, don’t mention it.

The thing is, sometimes feeling uncomfortable can be a good thing. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that in many cases it makes me glad to make people squirm a little in their seats, because most of it time it means that they are no longer cocooned in their lukewarm bed of stagnation. I would like to think that breaking out of the familiar pushes at least some of them to reflect on why they felt uncomfortable and consequently think about what is really important to them. We all need to learn to get comfortable with discomfort; till then, here is to many more ‘awkward silences’ and uneasy social situations brought about by yours truly.


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