Awkward: The Science of Why We're Socially Awkward and Why That's Awesome by Ty Tashiro (Harper Collins Publishers/Brandi Nicole)

LISTEN: This is awkward . . . here's the science behind why we don't always fit in

We all have awkward moments. Hear Dr. Ty Tashiro break down the research behind our least graceful interactions

Mary Elizabeth Williams
July 19, 2017 7:00PM (UTC)

What’s so great about being awkward? On this episode of "Salon Mix," we talk with Dr. Ty Tashiro about why we should actually embrace our quirks and the things we think are weird about ourselves. Tashiro is a psychologist and interpersonal relationship expert and the author of “Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome.”

What does it mean to be "awkward," anyway? Tashiro breaks down some of the defining characteristics:


There are social skill deficits, and those can be things like you have trouble trouble picking up on social cues. Social expectations: You might have trouble executing some of the social behaviors. So you might stumble when you try to explain things to people or you might actually be physically clumsy.

There's also communication problems. Awkward people don't always understand the implicit point or the underlying point people are trying to make.

Even the way they speak sometimes shows some differences. They tend to be more monotone. Sometimes they have trouble with volume regulation. When I hear a caller call in on a radio station I can tell if they're awkward or not just by the tone of their voice.

In our conversation, Tashiro shares his own cringeworthy moments, how he learned to navigate through them, and what we can all do to embrace the awkward. 

Listen to the full conversation, and subscribe to "Salon Mix" for more of the people, trends, phenomena and experiences that define and inform our lives and culture.


Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

MORE FROM Mary Elizabeth WilliamsFOLLOW embeedub

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •