Social awkwardness is something which affects a lot of people including myself. I've never been popular and never claim to be.
From the time I was about 7 until I was 16 I was painfully shy. Like, I'm not just saying that I was shy ... I was nearly irreversibly shy, especially in social situations. I hardly spoke a word in school. I kept to myself and just painted or drew pictures. It caused a huge inferiority complex to develop in me.
A few weeks ago, a friend took me to dinner where another friend wondered (later on) if I have a form of autism called asperger's... My niece has this issue. It was almost rude of this other person to assume that I had some sort of disease simply because I wasn't tuning into a conversation of which I had little to add to it---it dealt with philosophy and such... of which I am by no means an expert. So instead I just sat and thought things to myself. He commented that I don't look people in the eye---I RARELY look people in the eye. Why? Because I'm a bit awkward in social situations. Why? Because I spent most of my childhood in silence as I had no friends or people to talk to.
It makes me uncomfortable to look people in the eye. I only look people in the eye after I get comfortable with them, which sometimes takes weeks. I certainly wouldn't look someone in the eye or engage them in a long conversation after knowing them just a few minutes. Why? Because I'm socially awkward.
So when I'm uncomfortable in a social situation---which regularly occurs---I tend to be quiet. Why? Because I resort back to my childhood way of coping which is sitting in silence. Its embarrassing that as a 30 year old, I still have difficulty expressing myself or finding value in myself.
I do not have asperger's syndrome. I am just a little socially awkward from having a painful childhood.