How do I tell my partner he's socially awkward?

posted 7 months ago in Relationships
Post # 16
206 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2019

I would agree that he sounds like an introvert, and that aspect of his personality is not going to change.

I feel for your fiancé, as I have been in his shoes, and being told to be more outgoing in social situations, or being told that you come off as “rude” or “cold” is hurtful and damaging, especially if this is just who he is. For what it’s worth, he doesn’t sound like he’s acting rude at all, just that he’s more quiet and reserved than your family. I think it’s on your family to make him feel included, not the other way around. 

I think you need to decide if this is a dealbreaker for you. He deserves to be with someone who accepts him for who he is, not someone who is looking to change him. 

Post # 17
1932 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

Hes an introvert and shy, and thats just how some people are. I myself am a very reserved person, and it does take me awhile to warm up to people, even D.H. family took me awhile to be super comfortable around. I get how it can come off as rude though, I myself have had that issue in the past, but i am who i am. Your not going to be able to force him to be outgoing, it just dont work that way. 

Post # 18
456 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2019

You don’t have to tell him, I guarantee he knows. I also have social anxiety, General anxiety, I’m an introvert, etc. Small talk does not interest me. I think its a waste of time. I’d rather just be quiet or talk about something interesting/important. And if I find people at all intimidating or I feel anxious around them it’s next to impossible for me to think of things to say. I’m WELL aware of this. It’s not ideal but it’s me. I don’t feel the need to fill silences and it sounds like he’s the same. I think it comes down to if you can live with that or not. 

Post # 19
1375 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

You don’t tell someone they’re socially awkward, that’s an awful thing to do especially if they’re just introverted. 

Who are you to say he’s socially awkward? It sounds like you guys just aren’t compatible imo. 

Post # 20
6242 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

Telling someone they’re socially awkward is a sure way to make them even more self conscious and awkward. He doesn’t act the way you would in social situations, but that doesn’t make him wrong. And you’re valuing the comfort of others over your FI’so comfort, which is kind of sad.

It sounds like you two might just be fundamentally incompatible. You want him to change who he is to suit your family, and that isn’t likely to happen. 

Post # 21
6365 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

lizzyxoxo :  ugh, I do the same thing and I’m always mentally kicking myself afterwards for not reciprocating. Sometimes it doesn’t cross my mind, other times I literally don’t care and don’t want to fake it. At any rate, no one needed to tell me I do this. I know it and am trying to change that aspect of my character. 

I recommend you don’t tell him at all. But what you can do sometimes (not always!) is sit with him and lead the conversation a bit. Someone asks how the job is going, he answers, you then give an answer yourself and return the question. He’ll catch on to the concept and perhaps try it out himself when he remembers at a decent time. Or the conversation moves on anyway without awkwardness. Telling him he’s socially inept will only make it worse though. 

Post # 22
84 posts
Worker bee

As someone who can be socially awkward around people I don’t know, telling him that he is socially awkward is not going to help anything. Most of the time we know we are awkward, but it’s not like we can just flip a switch and suddenly not be shy anymore. It’s your relationship, not your parent’s. They really shouldn’t make a big deal out of it. 

Post # 23
2427 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Socially awkward? It sounds as if your family and you are the awkward ones. He’s comfortable with companionable silence and you feel awkward & as if “something NEEDS to be said”, pretty much all the time. That must be exhausting.

I’m assuming that your bf has a job, a friend or 2, and maybe is able to just chill with his family? 

I find it telling that it’s you & you’re family that are having an issue… maybe other people & other families put less stock into constant conversation?

Post # 24
41 posts
  • Wedding: July 2016

lizzyxoxo :  


I used to feel the same as you, my husband is very introverted. When we would go out with friends or hang out with family, it would really upset me how he acted. I would spend the whole time over analyzing each thing he did and said, being extremely hypercritical. 

It wasn’t until I was talking with my introverted sister, that I realized I was the problem, not him. I am an overly polite talker that analyzes everthing I say and always tries to make everyone feel included. This is just my personality though, so I can’t expect my husband to be the same. He is friendly when chatting, but doesn’t see the point in excessive talking or small talk. And that is okay.

Only other thought I have, is changing the activities you do with your family and him. Instead of just hanging out around the house for dinner, plan something. Such as a game night, move night etc. This way the conversation is limited and pointed. Maybe ask your boyfriend what activities he is comfortable with. 

Honestly though, unless he is flat our rude and disrespectful, there is nothing wrong with your boyfriend. You and your family just have a different style of communicating. You just have to decide how important it is for you that your boyfriend’s is different. 

Post # 26
580 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2007 - City, State

lizzyxoxo :  stop trying to make him like you. He doesn’t act the way you do in social situations.

He sounds introverted. A lot of introverts come off as socially awkward. Do yourself a favor and learn about his personality type. Have him take the Meyers Briggs test. The worst thing in the entire world is someone trying to change you.

I’m very, very much introverted. No one would ever guess that I am because I engage other people at parties and gatherings and I’m very much able to chit chat. It’s so draining afterwards that I need a nap. My husband calls this my alternate personality. Social interaction with people you aren’t on a super deep level with, i.e. your spouse, is really hard for introverts. They hate small talk. 

Post # 26
818 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

I definitely wouldn’t say this in a general sense!  I don’t think you’d accomplish what you want and would just come off offending him.  I think it’s one thing if he’s saying things he doesn’t realize are offensive.  But the behavior your describe just sounds like who he is and not a character flaw to me.  To me if anything I’d have a conversation with your family that this is how he is and they shouldn’t interpret it to mean he isnt interested in your family or you.

Post # 27
175 posts
Blushing bee

I have commented on this post a couple of times however I have no idea why my comment is nowhere to be found..

My partner is not necessarily socially awkward however we definitely have a few differences in the way that we communicate and the things that we like to do.

After the blinding honeymoon phase and rose coloured glasses fell off, I think we were both quietly worried about the apparent differences between us that were surfacing.

In time I realised that it is not realistic or fair to expect one person to be everything (in this case your partner). It puts too much pressure on the other person and sets your relationship up for failure. It would not be realistic or fair for me to expect my partner to love makeup and retail therapy as much as I do, that’s what my girls are for. Similarly it would not be realistic or fair for him to expect me to love watching cricket as much as he does. I love to pump loud upbeat music at home when I am cleaning or getting ready to go out whereas he gets a headache from it. I like to go out for the very occasional drink to let loose with a group of friends whereas he prefers to go out with just a select few and does not drink alcohol.

In the time that I have been with him I have grown so much as a person. Because of these differences I have been able to understand people who are different to me better, and it makes for intersting for conversations between the two of us.

Wouldn’t life be so boring if we were all the same? If he treats you well, my advice from my own experience is to embrace the differences.

Post # 28
1454 posts
Bumble bee

I am “socially awkward” just in the same way your Fiance is. And my husband’s family has pointed it out to me bc they are all social butterflies who can talk all day and night about anything and everything .

Guess what. Them pointing it out made me feel even more self conscious around them. And it was condescending and I was offended that my behavior was being so scrutinized.

There’s nothing to “fix”. I am who I am. And as I told my husband, and I will say the same to you: take it or leave it.

ETA: It warms my heart to see so many people backing up introverts here. I’ve been made to feel like a freak bc I’m a quiet and reserved person, so seeing that I’m not the only one is quite nice for a change.

Post # 29
2427 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I’ve never felt socially awkward. Ever. But I also don’t really feel a need to constantly make conversation when i’m in a casual setting with family. If at my inlaw’s, I don’t go out of my way to entertain them & be overly talkative. As family, I would not think that I would be expected to provide entertainment but could just relax & enjoy myself. 

Of course, if I’m at a business or networking event, I will become more outgoing & tell witty stories and be quite charming. But that’s business. 

Its not rude to be comfortable sitting in silence. I find it relaxing 

Post # 30
682 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2020

jannigirl :  My immediate family is the same way as well; we can sit around watching a movie, eating, or just otherwise not talking constantly without discomfort. My extended family on my mom’s side is large and a bit more social, but I’m still comfortable not taking part in every conversation, and my relatives don’t think anything of my quietness at this point.

This all makes my fiance uncomfortable, and he pointed out how quiet I am prior to seeing my family this Christmas. I told him I understand how it seems unusual for him, but this is how my family is and how I am. None of it is weird to us. He explained that he feels awkward with my silence because he feels he needs to be engaging and entertaining to my family.

I then basically tried to tell him, as delicately as I could, that he shouldn’t worry about being entertaining or making a good impression because my family doesn’t put that much thought into him or what he does. We’ve been together for 12 years; they don’t need a “show” from him.


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