Content of the material
- 1. Send a code word
- 2. Get a text from “Mom”
- 3. Blame your parents
- 4. Invent a crisis
- 5. Show Positive Body Language
- What Middle Schoolers Can Teach Us About Respect
- 7. Give People the Benefit of the Doubt
- 10. If you forget someone’s name
- 8. The “Showing Something You Found Funny on the Internet to Someone and They Don’t Laugh” Situation
- 6 You Accidentally Say I Love You Too Soon
- 3 No One is Reaching for the Check
- 4. The “Touched Your Best Mate’s Hand While Walking Beside Each Other” Situation
- The upside of being awkward
- 15. Wait for a lull in the conversation
1. Send a code word
Lillie’s a fan of the fake urgent phone call to deal with an awkward situation. “I have a code word with my friend Alexis,” she reveals. “If I text the code word to her, she’ll call me right away—and I can take the phone call and then say I need to leave right away.”
2. Get a text from “Mom”
Text yourself. “When I find myself in an uncomfortable or awkward situation,” reveals Sue, “I will change my name in my phone’s contact list to “Mom” then text myself saying ‘You need to come home right now’ for some made-up reason. That way, I can casually show the text and just say I have to get home.”
3. Blame your parents
Blame your parents. “When I have to get out of an awkward situation,” says Tara, “I always blame my parents and make them look like they’re being really overprotective so I can get out of something more easily. My favorite excuse? I say I forgot to walk the dog and that my parents will kill me if they find out.”
4. Invent a crisis
If all else fails, there’s always the old, technology-free standby: invent a crisis. “If I’m dealing with a certain situation that makes me uncomfortable,” says Haley, “I will try to discreetly gather my things up and tell people that I really have to be home at a certain time.”
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5. Show Positive Body Language
You can project confidence, kindness, and leadership just by the way you carry yourself. Keep your head up, shoulders back, and chest out. We learn from Dr. Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are“, that how you carry yourself can impact how you think and feel about yourself–so get big!Advertising
What Middle Schoolers Can Teach Us About RespectMarch 23, 2022
Teens are developing a nuanced understanding of what respect means. Here are some ideas for cultivating more of it in the classroom.
7. Give People the Benefit of the Doubt
Should you be the recipient of an awkward or rude question, remember that the person may not realize they are being abrasive. Giving people the benefit of the doubt can let you breeze through what would otherwise be an awkward situation. Giving a direct and simple response, without being rude makes the situation much simpler than overreacting.Advertising
Featured photo credit: jazbeck via flickr.com
10. If you forget someone’s name
Forgetting someone’s name is very common and it feels like hell when you have to make the important conversation with someone and you don’t even remember the name of the person. If you are in such a situation, ask the person’s business card or tell them to be in touch or ask them how to spell correctly your name.
8. The “Showing Something You Found Funny on the Internet to Someone and They Don’t Laugh” Situation
6 You Accidentally Say I Love You Too Soon
If you ever find yourself in this embarrassing date situation, fess up and admit that you made a mistake. Whatever you do, don’t keep bringing it up and obsessing over it. You made a mistake, so what?! Own up to it, say you care about the person but you made a slip-up. Believe me, making it into a big deal will only make things worse so apologize and move on.
3 No One is Reaching for the Check
So your fun dinner out suddenly turns into a tricky social setting when the meal comes to an end yet no one is reaching for the check. If you didn’t indicate that you would be treating everyone, your friends should be aware that they’d be paying for their own grub. Take action and start divvying up the bill or just casually ask how everyone prefers the bill to be split.
4. The “Touched Your Best Mate’s Hand While Walking Beside Each Other” Situation
The upside of being awkward© Photo by Sidney Perry on Unsplash
Of course, being a nerdy kid or adult is not all bad. In fact, Tashiro writes of how a spotlight attention can help awkward people to develop expertise and think outside the box. He points to famous examples of socially-awkward people—like Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein—whose obsessive interests helped fuel innovation and new knowledge.
“Although awkward people are missing important social information that falls outside of their narrow aperture, what they do see is brilliantly illuminated and this gives them a deep, nuanced perspective about things that no one else takes the time to notice,” he writes.
While not all awkward people have special gifts, Tashiro explains, awkward people may be more likely to excel at systematic problem-solving tasks, as in math or science; to recognize patterns in a complex visual environment; and to persist in the areas that interest them. This suggests that awkwardness may have some evolutionary advantages, perhaps leading to insights or engineering breakthroughs that helped groups survive over time.
So, while his book is particularly instructive for awkward people negotiating their social world, it also calls upon the rest of us to have greater appreciation and empathy. If we all reached out with more understanding toward those who struggle socially—rather than judgment or rejection—we would benefit from a wider circle of friends and create a more inclusive society.
As Tashiro writes, “When awkward people take the responsibility to work hard to improve their empathic capacity and others show some patience and encouragement, awkward and socially fluent people can find an unusual brand of emotional connection.”
As someone with socially awkward people in my community of friends and family, I’m inclined to agree.
15. Wait for a lull in the conversation
In every conversation, there comes time when people drop off or have a lull in the conversation. This is the time when you can control the conversation according to you and enjoy it and keep the conversation going.