The Astronomical Benefits of Welcoming Awkwardness

Day 11 of Awkward Moments Experiment.

This post will talk about the risk I took in order to meet one of my closest persons currently, which was extremely awkward.

I’ll show you everything that happened by taking that one chance. If I ended up walking home that day, none of this would’ve happened.

It was before I knew of Rejection Therapy.
It was before I made these Awkward Moments.


April 29, 2010. 10:03PM.

In my mind: “Alright, it’s time for me to get a Pepsi and go home.”

My mind: “Wait Matt, look behind you, there’s the cute girl with her best friend! You should go back and talk to them.”

My body wanted to leave the building and go home. It could feel fear. It could feel the nerves.

But I decided I wasn’t going to go home. I walked back and did one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done to that day (and even to the present day.)


“Hi, I need a phone as my phone is dead and I need to call someone.”

One of the girls smiled at me in an odd way and handed me her phone.

I took the phone and called my best friend. I told her that “I’m nervous”. I said that I’m doing this because I’m tired of being stuck in the comfort zone. She rooted for me and we ended the conversation.

“Here’s your phone.” I told the girl who was kind enough to lend it to me.

The other girl introduced herself and her friend. I introducd myself. We talked a bit about the class we’re taking. (Intro to Astronomy, 3 hour class, once a week.) We all laughed jokingly about how it seemed like that class would never end.

There are a few other things we talked about but I was too nervous to fully remember.

They headed home and I felt an adrenaline rush by finding the courage to approach them. I felt proud of myself.

May 6th, 2010. 9:10PM.

The following week, during the second break of the three hour marathon, I noticed that one of the two girls from the previous week wasn’t there.

I got up from my chair and walked to her table. “Hi, where is your friend?” She told me that her friend went to an opening of a movie (which I don’t remember). I nodded my head.

We went on to talk about her driver license exam and had epic laughs about a few other topics I don’t fully recall.

It was incredibly fun.


I caught up to her at the exit and tell her, “Do you want to play a game?” She says, “Okay?” I ended up asking her ridiculously funny questions about herself and made fun of all of her answers! It made both of us smile.

I got her Facebook and after chatting there for an hour, we decided to meet up in SF the following day.

May 7th, 2010. 11:00AM.

-She told me about this creeper who was trying to get her number at the grocery store.
-I asked her why she wears school sweaters all of the damn time. She explains, “To make sure I don’t catch creepers attention.” (Now that’s irony!)
-She liked spaceships (and still does).
-For some ridiculous reason, I told her how to survive a nuclear bomb attack. I don’t know why to this day. She reacted in a very surprised manner.
-I did an experiment where I dropped a quarter and told her to see if the people were kind enough to give it back. The guy heard the coin drop and gave the coin back. That was nice.
-We walked all over the place. I recalled walking with her from Pier 39 to the San Francisco Giants stadium and back. (Roundtrip: 5 miles.)
-She had a latte and I had a coffee. We chatted on the bench for another half hour before she had to go.

We had a fun time and I told her to schedule another hang out the following week.

She got busy with family events and that was understandable. Then, we didn’t talk again for almost a year. I got busy with a lot of other stuff that was going on, like moving to 4-year university. She got busy as well.

(It would be fascinating to see growth in the both of us.)

June 2011.

I saw her on Facebook and decided to talk to her. We had another epic chat that lasted two hours. We decided to meet up in SF again.

We met again to walk around SF. We walked to Pier 39. We walked all the way to the San Francisco Giants Stadium. We got coffee at Peet’s coffee at the Ferry Building.

That sounds like deja vu.

-She told me about stories of racism around the states, as her family has traveled all over the US. They were extremely fascinating.
-We chatted about the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants and the choke-prone San Jose Sharks. We said that Lincecum was awesome and Setoguchi was cool too. (Then the latter got traded a month later.)
-There was a discussion about Baz Luhrmann’s Speech “Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen.” She stated the part where, “Live in NYC once in your life but leave before you get too hard. Live in Northern California once in your life but leave before you get too soft.” There were so many other gems in that speech. Look it up.
-I asked her what university she was going to transfer to and she wasn’t sure.

(She would end up getting into the same university as me.)


Fast forward to this past Friday.

October 7th 2011. 10:17PM.

We texted one another during the week to decide when we wanted to meet again.

I told her some vague directions like, “It’s coffee in the blue building. Let’s meet there. Find me in my orange shoes.” I went outside of the blue building to look at the morning sun and enjoy watching people going about their day.

Then out of the corner my eye, I saw her walking past me. I laughed and let her go on for a bit longer.

I got up from my seat and walked at an angle where I went behind her.

I poked her from behind and we both laughed.

We went back into the blue building. I got coffee. She got hot chocolate. (She’s not into caffeine that much. Ouch!)

We sat at one of the counters. She told me that she was disappointed that she didn’t see my orange shoes. Yet she held in her defense that my directions were way too vague.

I laughed.

We talked about my classes, her classes, her amazing mountain bike, more spaceships, Spongebob Squarepants (which is dangerous for children under 6, although I’d say it’s dangerous period.), why she isn’t into caffeine, how her forearm is sore from too much badminton, etc.

I did awkward things to tell her about my awkward moments project. I put my face close to hers (that’s awkward). We made fun of the concept of personal space (it’s 18 inches!). I tried her hot chocolate that was overrated (slightly awkward). She raised her hand and said, “I’m that strange kid.”

Once I’m close to someone, I tend to enjoy being awkward and weird with them. Life is more fun that way.


So what’s the point about all of this?

This is just one example of how taking that chance could create a domino effect of awesome events.

Denise Smedley
Denise Smedley

Just connected with you on twitter. Intrigued by your experiments here. Looking forward to following along... Stepping out of my comfort zone is something I've gotten better at in the past year or so and it's lead me to some great opportunities.


Great post!! I'm really loving your awkward moments project, as I have been one of the most painfully awkward people EVER. I used to like to think I'd grow out of it, but now I've realized that it's brought along some pretty hilarious moments for me and the people closest to me. Here's to stepping outside of the comfort zone.