There are countless times when I’ve seen or heard someone says, “Well that’s awkward.”
It’s one of the most unfortunate things of this generation.
When people reinforce that doing something out of the ordinary is awkward, the subjective emotion towards that particular action is negative. When you continually pound it into people’s brains that doing certain things is awkward or wrong, then they will be less likely to do it.
People learn from making mistakes. If you’re less likely to do something because it’s awkward, then you’re subconsciously making it tougher to change: whether that’s your habits, your patterns of thinking, or your social anxiety. It makes it more difficult to accept feeling weird.
So how can you come to peace with the concept of awkwardness?
Let’s define awkward.
I’ll take the 3rd meaning from Dictionary.com: lacking social graces or manners.
When you lack social manners, people look at you weird. People think that you’re making a big mistake. Even you know what you’re doing is uncomfortable for some reason.
The funny thing is that no matter how careful you are, you will mess up and lack social grace anyways. So why not embrace it?
I came to peace with awkwardness by embracing it. I told myself that no amount of awkwardness would hinder me from learning how to socialize and interact with people. I gave myself the allowance and tolerance to feel comfortably awkward.
Other ways to become comfortable with awkward:
– When you notice you’re in an awkward situation, take a deep breath and frame it as a new experience.
– Don’t label uncomfortable situations, let it be.
– Understand that normality will soon arrive.
– Most of the time, it’s only awkward because of society’s perceived idea that it is; don’t mindlessly follow that perceived idea.
– Find comfort in knowing you’re still alive after many awkward situations.
Allowing the silence to pass instead of labeling it awkward
For example, I went up to two girls to chat with them about their choice of Starbucks drinks a few days ago.
I told them, “Hey I really think you’re the two most interesting looking people here. I mean you even have an interesting choice of drinks there.”
At this point, I ran out of things to say. I could feel that this was going to be uncomfortable but I presented an aura of calmness in my lack of certainty. I decided to tell them, “See, awkwardness isn’t so bad when you allow it to happen as it is without judging it as awkward.” They smiled and nodded. I basked in the awkwardness comfortably and told them that it was nice meeting them. I had to get going.
The type of energy you project out towards others will determine how they feel also. When you give off a calm energy, others will be more likely to remain calm as well. I didn’t notice too many nerves because my mind allowed failure and that “lack of social grace”.
Give yourself some slack and find comfort in your awkward actions.