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Posts tagged ‘eye contact’

#17 The Sidewalk Dance

I’ve seen this happen, but I never realized that it was awkward until it happened to me.

I had just gotten out of a meeting and was quite stressed out because I found out that one of my programs for student residents at my university dorm halls had to be postponed due to some paperwork problem. I left my coordinator’s office and went outside for a walk. Usually, I look up at the trees and say hello to people while I walk around, but not that time; my mind was elsewhere.

So while looking down at my blue Vans shoes cross the cracks on the sidewalk every other step, I encountered a pair of small black Converse shoes. I looked up and smiled nervously, a pretty girl had crossed my path, literally –and almost crashed into me. Almost immediately, I moved over to the left. But so did she. I shuffled over to the right. But again, so did she. This is where things got serious, no more messing around. I moved to the left and stayed there. . . at the same time that she did. Then I solved the problem by figuring out a cool trick: instead of moving in the other direction, I moved to the left again. Magic! It worked! At the time, I didn’t really stop to think of a solution, it came mostly by mistake. Oh well, great things are usually discovered by accident.

“There we go,” she said, “that was awkward.”

I replied, “It was fun, thanks for the dance.”

Of course, the encounter lasted no more than 5 seconds, but it seemed to take forever.The thing is, this –the Sidewalk Dance– kept happening with other people, up to the point where I believed that I was the cause of the problem; that I was doing something to trigger this. Though I still haven’t discovered exactly what I was doing, it was pretty awesome to begin getting used to awkward moments like these and finding the fun in them instead of making the situations worse for myself.

The laugh that the girl and I got from that Sidewalk Dance reminded me to smile again, and it changed my mood for the better even after having a rough start to my day. Awkward moments are awesome.

#15 When food falls before reaching your mouth

You finally get to scoop up a large piece of delicious chicken. It has been specially cooked for you, just how you like it. You can smell it, and steam is still making its way up toward the heavens as it begins to approach your mouth. When suddenly…

It drops.

It is common from people from different cultures explain this rare phenomenon. One of the ones that I have actually started to believe says that when your food falls off your spoon it means that somebody, somewhere in the world, is craving the food you are about to eat.

So THEY’RE the cause of this!?


All anger set aside, the result can be pretty uncomfortable. It might fall on your plate, and you might give it a second shot. At this point, however, please be aware that it might fall a second time and you  know that saying (slightly modified for specific purposes):

“If you drop once, shame on you (food), if you drop twice, shame on me.”

But what if it falls on the table? If anybody watched you fail at eating, they suddenly might become judges. Will you pick up with your hand and eat it? Will you try to get it from the table with your fork? Will you put it back on your plate? Leave it there? Offer it to someone else? No one will be happy with your final decision, or they might just be happy with any of them because they just don’t care. They have their food, you have yours. Right?

Though I don’t specialize in techniques for eating, I can tell you how to settle this situation when it happens (because after all, I do specialize in awkward):

1) Whatever you decide to do with the food that fell off, do it instantly and have no regrets.

2) If someone at your table laughs at your misfortune, laugh about it. If you’re too angry to laugh, make up a story of why your food fell and tell them as though you actually believe it. Blame others if you have to.

3) If you do drop it on the table, a quick swipe of your napkin settles it (unless you’re a firm believer in the 5-second rule, where you have five seconds to pick up your food and eat it . . . follow your beliefs, I don’t discriminate.)

Remember: the food is yours.

Image source

#11 When someone fails at parking

Of course, it is awkward if you’re watching it happen, or if someone is watching you attempt to park. Now of course, parking is extremely difficult for some of us; we might even park far away from everyone so that they don’t see us attempt to fit in a tiny spot that will likely take us 20 tries. Its a form of pressure that we feel to park correctly. Sometimes we begin to feel nervous and might even start sweating or just wanting to remove ourselves from that situation. Yeah, yeah.. I would just laugh and leave the car just like it is on the image above.

Then again, watching anyone fail at anything is awkward if you’re there watching the action:

1) Failing to properly remove change from your pocket and dropping it on the floor. “It got stuck onto something, I guess!”

2) Spontaneously dropping something. “So I was holding the cup and then it just, I don’t know …fell.”

3) When you’re trying to drink water from a bottle and you miss your mouth. “What? I only spilled a little bit.”

Simple tasks. Awkward moments.

How do you react when these happen to you?


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