I am a nerd and an introvert, which shouldn't surprise anybody here. I try not to be a socially-awkward nerdy introvert, and I think I'm moderately successful at that. A stranger I recently met at a party described me afterwards as "outgoing" which is a total mindbender. Awkward conversations are total torture for me. Being a nerdy introvert, I get to hang out with lots of other nerdy introverts, and so I get to have plenty of awkward conversations anyway. One difficulty is that I deal with people who have very obvious autism-spectrum disorders. I cannot fault them for this, but that doesn't make our conversations any less awkward. I do my best to accommodate, and so they seek out more awkward conversations with me regularly. It's hard to know what to do in this situation. Other times, it's just that our conversation styles don't mesh for whatever reason. Sometimes it's cultural. Other times it's that my low tolerance for small-talk kicks in before we find something more interesting to talk about. Tonight I went out to what I thought was a group dinner, but it turned out to be just me, someone on my awkward-conversation list, and a complete stranger. This could have been a major disaster. Thankfully, the stranger (despite being a huge nerd himself) had excellent social skills and there were two hours of effortless, pleasant conversation about all manner of interesting things that did not make me want to gouge my brain out with my butter knife. FOCUS: How are the social skills of people you interact with? How are yours? Do you have anybody that you interact with where you just can't get a 'flow' going? Why not? How do you deal with it?