Ruby and I are both introverts and a wee bit socially awkward. Not all introverts are socially awkward, but we are lucky to be both – the double whammy. I am OK with the introvert thing: I like my introvert ways but being socially awkward is challenging for both of us at times.
Dogs are natural conversation starters and dog people are usually friendly and chatty. I am a nice person and generally friendly (from a distance), but I don’t think anyone would ever describe me as chatty. Ruby is a sweet dog, but she doesn’t always understand normal doggie social cues. We are just a little complicated sometimes.
Ruby and I are normal most of the time until we are not. And although we are not always on the same page with our social anxiety, we have learned to work together, or rather I have learned to let her issues do the talking (or not talking).
You see, there are some serious benefits to having a socially awkward dog when you are also socially awkward. For example, when faced with ‘I know you are a lovely person and mean well, but I stink at small talk‘ moments, having a socially awkward dog can be a total lifesaver! Instead of hiding in your house or ducking behind a garage, you have a legitimate excuse to politely wave and keep walking.
3 Perks Of Living With A Socially Awkward Dog (When You Are Socially Awkward, Too)
1. You ALWAYS have an out. Dogs are instant friend makers, which is great most of the time. But sometimes we need space and quiet time. Having a dog that is socially awkward or even selectively reactive, gives you a built-in excuse to wave and keep walking. ‘Sorry, my dog is having a really bad day. Can we chat another time (like next year)?’
2. You have an excuse to walk at odd hours. Avoid the morning coffee hour or after work social scene when every dog and their charismatic guardians are out chatting and being normal. Of course, if you and your dog are feeling emotionally prepared, you can always join the fun – and then pat yourself on the back for not saying something silly, walking into a tree, or getting twisted in your dog’s leash and falling on your face.
3. You can use your dog as a social shield. Simply pick your dog up and carry her around with you (the real reason I always have small dogs). Your dog becomes like a superhero vest and bonus tip, you can hide behind her big head. When other dog people want to chat, simply say ‘sorry, can’t talk because I’m carrying 30 pounds of fur. Maybe another time (or not).’ And if family members come on too strong, ‘stay back, I have a dog in my arms and I know how to use her.’ Of course, this works best with small to mid-sized dogs. I wouldn’t recommend trying to pick up a Great Dane, but if you can pull that off, you are amazing.
Bonus Tip: If you can teach your dog to be socially awkward on command, all the better (just kidding, that would be wrong)
These tactics work equally well with friendly strangers or chatty neighbors not to mention those supportive yet exhausting family members who always want to talk at bad times like when you are awake.
You can read more about life with a socially awkward dog here. Stay up-to-date on our journey to be normal (as well as a whole bunch of cuteness and feel-good, inspiring rescue and adoption stories) by subscribing to our email list.