> I certainly think part of my problem is the how I'm saying it.
If you truly are coming off awkwardly, what's the real problem there? The problem is this: the interviewer is wondering, "How is this guy going to interface with the rest of the team here if he's this awkward? Does he even know he's awkward?"
So... you can address both of those unspoken questions head-on. Mention that you tend to get nervous in interviews and when meeting people for the first time and that it's something you overcome fairly quickly and that you tend to develop really good working relationships with coworkers. (Because that's certainly true from what you've said)
> I wish I had somebody who could do this for me!
> In fact, I had provided multiple recommendations on bug-tracking software,
> to include setting up demo servers for several different packages (because of
> those demos and related discussions, our interns started using both bug-tracking
> software and GitHub for their projects - so that was a definite win).
> ... you might not be coming across as awkwardly as you think you are ...
I have no doubt that I am.
> ... you can address both of those unspoken questions head-on ...
I honestly never considered this, but will in future interviews!
> If you live near Philadelphia...
> Is there anybody non-technical that might help you? Siblings, parents...?
I do participate in a ton of meetups. Would it be appropriate to ask a peer from a meetup group to be a proxy for an interviewer?