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The science behind social awkwardness - and why it’s not such a bad thing




U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and German chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands at the 2017 Munich Security Conference on February 18, 2017 in Munich, Germany.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and German chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands at the 2017 Munich Security Conference on February 18, 2017 in Munich, Germany.
Johannes Simon/Getty Images

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More and more, it feels like people are coming to terms with a simple fact: most of us are, at least a little, socially awkward.

Researchers have found that the average person exhibits 32% of the characteristics associated with being socially awkward. But is that such a bad thing?

That’s one of the many questions that Ty Tashiro tackles in his new book, “Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward, and Why That’s Awesome.” Among other findings, Tashiro reveals why awkward people tend to avoid eye contact, and why awkward people feel more alienated now than they did decades ago.

But there’s a silver lining, Tashiro argues, as we move to embrace quirks to help everyone more comfortably navigate this complex world.

Guest:

Ty Tashiro, psychologist and author of “Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward, and Why That’s Awesome” (William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2017)