That Awkward Feeling

What is it that suddenly makes a situation awkward?

We’ve all had more than our fair share of awkward moments and it’s funny how each one seems to have its own unique set of variables. There’s also varying degrees of awkwardness. Depending on the situation it can range from slightly uncomfortable all the way to completely unbearable.

Here’s a few of the common ones:

  • You can bump into someone you don’t care for.
  • You run into someone with some sort of drama going on in their life and you aren’t sure how to address them.
  • Someone asks you a very pointed question and the only way you can answer it puts you in a bad light.
  • You can be amongst a group of people you are totally comfortable with but someone may inadvertently say something that’s inappropriate.
  • Your young child might say something that is completely embarrassing (i.e. yelling across McDonald’s "look at that fat guy over there!") to the point that you just want to crawl into a hole and die.

There are countless scenarios we can all imagine and that doesn’t even take into account the stuff that comes up in a romantic relationship. That could be a post unto itself.

It’s one of those feelings that’s difficult to describe. It feels all-encompassing and you feel as if you can literally cut the tension with a knife. You don’t know how to act or respond and there’s a ton of that "uncomfortable silence" that ends up filling the room. It feels as if time comes to a standstill and you just can’t wait for the situation to end. You want to get out of the room or find a way to direct the conversation into another direction.

In most cases it’s not something you can prepare for. It almost always catches you off guard. If you could prepare for it you most likely wouldn’t find the situation that difficult to manoeuver.

I know it’s not a situation that I handle very well. I’m not blessed with the gift of small talk and I don’t deal well with confrontation. When you add those two together you can see that dealing with awkwardness is not a skill I possess in my arsenal of social talents.

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