I coined a word the other day.
It’s a portmanteau of “anxious” and “awkward,” the result less of my own linguistic genius than a comical slip of the tongue during a particularly… well… awkxious moment.
The thing I like about the word is that I sometimes feel we use these words interchangeably. However, you can definitely be anxious without being awkward, and the other way around.
Sherlock Holmes, for instance, as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, is almost always awkward without ever being anxious. (Non-Cumberbatchian representation are often eccentric yet confident geniuses who seem to transcend any social mishaps through sheer whit and intelligence.) Alternatively, I’ve witnessed much nicer people navigating social situations in a way that is either staggeringly oblivious, or endearingly self-aware. Some people seem to not know or not care that they’re awkward.
Anxiety, on the other hand… well, many of us are super good and hiding that. You could, internally, be one roiling mass of stress and existential terror but never let on. You could be the most gracious host, an incredibly charismatic public speaker, someone who generally passes at life as a chill person but who spends countless private moments contemplating with horror the gaping maw of inscrutable futurity. Who would know? I wouldn’t.
But put them together, and you get a compounding maelstrom of social self-destruction as anxiety triggers awkwardness while awkwardness fuels anxiety in an endless, reinforcing feedback loop.
Anyways, the good news is that if you’ve ever wanted to describe the way in which you anticipate your own embarrassment, or the way in which your social anxiety creates a self-fulfilling prophesy, then I have just the word for you.