Monday, May 3, 2010

Um, Awkward!

Have you ever suffered from an uncomfortable conversational moment? That instant when you suddenly realize all eyes are on you and that you've crossed the invisible line from normal conversation into awkward?

Yeah, happens to me all the time.

Sometimes the faux pas is your fault. Sometimes it's not. In my opinion, it's not who throws the net of social blunder, but how one escapes after being caught. Are you a laugher? Do you shout out, "Awkward." Do you walk away, change the topic, or have a witty comeback?

Most of the time your reaction depends on the situation. Here are three conversational blunders to be aware of:

The Misunderstanding: Perhaps you are only partly listening. Or you may be listening intently and the person isn't completely clear. Either way, The Misunderstanding can cause serious foot in mouth.

Person 1: Life's been so stressful lately I can hardly bear it all!
Person 2: Yeah, I've got a great story about baring it all. It happened last summer in Cancun..

The Last Word: When a conversation topic is winding to a close and you speak last. A lengthy pause ensues.

Person 1: I think we're all in agreement that the scarecrow is the best character in "The Wizard of Oz."
Person 2: Yep. "If I only had a brain..."
...crickets chirping.

The Inappropriate Laugh: A person shares a thought that you think is a joke and you laugh only to realize that he/she was serious.

Person 1: My mom totally needs brain surgery.
Person 2: Ha ha ha, yeah mine too. Speaking of which, how was your mom's doctor appointment yesterday?

Let's hear your stories. Or solutions. Either way, I'm in need of a good laugh today.


  1. I know it's hard to believe, but I have experienced all of the above. However, I cannot pull a specific example from my brain at the moment.

    Instead, I will add a category that has happened to me many times - The "Why did I just say that?!" This often happens to me when I'm speaking with someone I've just met. It's when you're trying so hard to make a good impression or keep the conversation going, you hear yourself saying something and think "Why did I just say that!?" because it's lame or could be taken the wrong way.

  2. There is also the "stating the obvious" moment when everyone is thinking it and you are the only one stupid enough to say it out loud.
    For example:
    Person 1 trips down the stairs and sprawls on the floor.
    You--"That must have hurt." Duh. ya think?

    the unasked for encouragement-
    Ironman final lap of the marathon...134 miles into the race and a perky sideliner yells "You can do this!"
    Ironman runner's glare says 'shut it' and the rest of the crowd looks sympathetically at the perky sideliner cause really 'who do you think you are to say something like that while sitting in chair eating a candy bar?' So yeah I was the sideliner...awkward!

  3. I have awkward conversation moments all the time. I am just that lame.

    The worst was in a recent meeting and I let something slip and your husband reminded me of all the nasty names people call me . . . and maybe there is a reason for them to say those things. It was totally meant to be funny, but it was a bit true and mean and I was embarassed.

    There was another one recently that is nagging the corners of my brain that I can't quite pin down. If I remember I'll come back . . .

  4. How about the, no. Too awkward.

    I once was part of a conversation in which I thought we were talking about long, black trench coats as a wardrobe choice for a friend (who was also part of the conversation) only to realize too late that we were talking about the Columbine shootings. I've never been so embarrassed in my entire life!