Although some might disagree, I don’t consider myself an awkward person. Even so, that doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally find myself in awkward situations, whether it is others committing the awkward act or if the blame falls squarely on my shoulders.
Recently, a few situations have managed to come up more frequently than usual in my everyday life. Since I am having trouble sleeping tonight and because I just love to share with you all how awkward my life is, I thought I would reveal and dissect these less than comfortable situations that have seemed to pop up more often than not lately.
You Go This Way, I Go That Way: Out of the three situations I am sharing, this is the most prevalent one that I find myself in on almost a daily basis. You are walking somewhere in one direction and another person is walking in the opposite direction and your paths cross. It just so happens that there is not a lot of space between the two of you so both must make a calculated move one way or the other. Instead of you moving to one side and the other person moving to the other, you decide to go right and the other decides to go left making it so you block each other. After that awkward snafu it just gets worse as both you and the other person immediately move in the same direction again, once again impeding each other’s progress. After doing the dance a couple more times, you finally break apart and embarrassingly go on your merry way.
I have to pat myself on the back and say that this is one awkward situation that I never create myself. In my opinion, it is common knowledge that you ALWAYS walk to the right…always. If everyone followed the simple role to just stay right there would never be any awkward bumps, delays, or brushes when crossing paths with someone. I find myself dealing with violators of this basic rule at the gym all the time. Pathways are narrow and people are always walking in opposite directions. I get it that people get tired while working out but don’t use fatigue as an excuse to forgo simple etiquette. Awkward moments are bad but they are even worse when they happen up close with complete strangers. Remember, just always walk to the right!
Let’s Both Talk At Once: This is one situation where I find myself guilty of from time to time. You approach someone and start to say something to him or her only to realize that the person you are talking to is also in the middle of saying something. After the one or two second cacophony of both people talking at once there comes that awkward silence when both people immediately stop talking in hopes that the other person would continue talking. After both people realize that the other person is waiting for them to continue it never fails that once again, both people start talking at the same time again! This results in one of the people, sometimes both, saying “sorry, go ahead.”
Besides in face-to-face communication, this regrettable pattern happens all the time during phone conversations. Obviously without any nonverbal cues to go off of, this is something that can easily happen. Although maybe more acceptable, it is still awkward and still requires some apologizing and reiterating.
Talking right when someone else talks is something that we can all get better at (I definitely can), especially in face-to-face conversations. We just need to be more mindful of someone’s nonverbal language and evaluate for that split second whether or not they are going to say something. At times it is better just to have a strategy where you say “Okay, no matter what, I am letting this person open the conversation and will continue to let him/her do most of the talking throughout our talk.” When it comes to phone conversations, the key is to just anticipate when the other person is going to pipe up and to make sure to leave a couple seconds of silence just in case the person feels like adding anything. When both people talk at once during a conversation it is not only awkward but it just takes away from what the two people have going and makes the communication less impactful.
Oops, That Text Was Not Meant For You: This one has happened to everyone and it can perhaps be the most awkward and embarrassing moment of them all. Nothing is worse than when you type out a text message and then send it to the wrong person. Even an innocent text that went the wrong way is humiliating enough but many people have experienced the ultimate horror of writing a text message that criticizes someone and instead of sending that text to someone else that text actually gets sent to the person you were criticizing! Oh yes, serves the person right for attempting to talk behind someone’s back!
I have sent inadvertent texts before but I haven’t made such a gaffe for a long time now. I understand the consequences and confusion that can result from such hastiness and I avoid it at all times. My mom on the other hand still finds herself sending text messages to the wrong people, especially her kids. Quite frequently I will receive texts from my mom that were meant for my brother or sister. I can’t help but laugh when this happens and I try to play along with her, acting like I am my brother or sister until she figures out what she did.
The key to avoiding this situation is to just take care when sending text messages. Always take a second to double check who you are sending the message to before pressing that button that will transmit the text. Keep in mind the situations where you are most vulnerable to send inadvertent messages and then crack down on it.
Everyone loves a “That awkward moment when…” story; except when it centers on ourselves. To avoid these types of situations we just need to plan things out more and really evaluate our own tendencies. Becoming “cool as a cucumber” takes some practice, even when it comes to the most basic social interactions. Don’t Blink.