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I wonder if this is an adequate explanation of awkwardness:

Discomfort and lack of smoothness caused by a combination of:

  • A lack of planning or extensive experience in a problem domain
  • Distance between modern socially-appropriate behaviour (and modern personhood) and behaviour that was appropriate for the human EEA
The idea of struggling with maladaptive instincts and social scripting without having much of a modern alternative, to me, feels like it captures most of the times I've identified awkwardness-as-such. It also captures the feeling that I am flailing and then the falling back to humanity's special gift: moments of extreme self-awareness as a kind of "reserve power" (to use a jurisprudential analogy) or "supervisory mode" (to use a computer systems analogy; yes, these are two analogy-sets I think in a *lot*).


i dunno how much this fits with your social-psychology framing of it, but: i have started to think about awkwardness as "insecurity about the nature of a situation, to the point that you would be extremely uncomfortable talking about the nature itself."

at least, to consider what the "meta-conversation" for a current situation has been an effective way of making myself not feel awkward, so.