How To Be Less Awkward



One time years ago, while attending a conference put on by the startup I was working with at the time, I met one of the speakers, Tony Hsieh, a Vegas native and the former founder of Zappos. The morning after greeting out-of-towners all day, I completely forgot and brightly called out, “Welcome to Vegas!” My colleague next to me laughed, asking, “You do realize he lives here, right?” Hsieh looked at me like I was crazy. This kind of awkward moment has a name – awkward. We’ve all been there unable to say something intelligent (or even polite) to the CEO in the elevator with us or regretting a joke that didn’t make us laugh. It is clear that most of us would love never to be faced with a situation like that A self-described lifelong champion of awkward moments, Melissa Dahl is the author of a new book on the topic titled Cringeworthy that would like you to reconsider your quest to eliminate awkward moments

Awkwardness has its uses

The first reason is that I’m The first point is that eliminating awkwardness entirely is improbable, and the second point is that awkwardness is actually useful at times. Dahl says that the uncomfortable sensation we encounter when we say something profoundly uncomfortable is sometimes simply less horrible than not having the awkward conversation and living with the reality that caused the conversation to come up (like, for instance, your direct report making poor work or you getting a below-average package of benefits). In addition to acting as a mirror, awkwardness can serve as a reflection. In an interview with, Dahl explained that “these moments tend to show you the way you think the world sees you may not be how the world actually sees you.” Even though spotting that gap can feel terrible at first, it can also be a great learning experience, one that enables you to better understand those around you and grow as a person. The most profound discovery Dahl made in writing her book, however, was how accepting one’s own awkwardness can help you be more sensitive to and accepting of other people’s flaws In other words, awkwardness is a great way to boost empathy. At first when I began writing this book, I was going to tell you how to avoid awkwardness, but it turned out to be about something completely In my mind, [awkwardness] found some unexpected but genuine pleasure,” she told me, pointing to that moment we’ve all experienced when someone approaches and you move over to let them pass, only to have them move over too, creating an The ones that make me panic used to worry me. Then I just get all giddy, like ‘there’s yet another idiot trying to make their way in the world,'” Dahl explains with a giggle.

Awkwardness reduction tips

As a result, no matter what Dahl says, there is still an element of awkwardness that must be avoided. Most of us will continue to avoid behaving stupidly in public, despite that pep talk. She offers many tips from talking to researchers for the book, such as

When in doubt, acknowledge the weirdness. If you know a discussion is going to be strange, acknowledge that even ahead of time. The phrase “this is a bit uncomfortable to say” can sometimes help both parties feel less awkward. This allows you to listen carefully to one another. According to Dahl, this can help you find a common understanding between you.

You should defend your decision before you take it. Imagine how you would defend your decision to have an uncomfortable conversation before approaching the person. If you’re hesitant to have the conversation, examine how you would win the argument. It has been found that doing this can help you come up with the courage to say what needs to be said in a calm way.

You need to change your focus. In the heat of the moment, such unwarranted self-consciousness can cause us to do dumb things, causing us to feel awkward and to do more dumb things. You should strive to break out of this cycle by focusing to the greatest extent possible on the other party’s needs and perspective during an exchange rather than on your own. As a result, sports scientists have found that athletes are more likely to choke if they focus on the details You can also say the same for yourself. Don’t think about every element of how you present yourself focus instead on the impression you want to leave or the response you want to evoke.

Keep in mind there is no one who cares as deeply While everyone else is naturally obsessed with you, you are the only one who really cares. There will be people who notice if you do something awkward, but they’ll probably notice fewer than you expect, and they won’t care as much as you think they will. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Dahl insists that few people are paying as much attention as you may think.

Consider changing the way you think about Scientists Dahl spoke to for her book told her that nerves are as exciting for the body as excitement. You could just tell yourself that you are excited, and ‘My body is trying to help’ can help relieve anxiety and give you a greater sense of comfort during a difficult situation.


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