No one enjoys being put in an awkward situation, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. The good news is that there are ways to avoid and overcome these uncomfortable circumstances. By being prepared and knowing what to do, you can make even the most awkward moments more manageable. Read on for helpful tips on how to handle any social snafu.
1. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
One of the best ways to avoid awkwardness is to not take yourself too seriously. If you can laugh at yourself and your mistakes, others will be more likely to do the same. It’s also important to remember that everyone makes blunders from time to time – so don’t sweat it if you find yourself in an embarrassing situation. Just brush it off and move on.
2. Be confident.
Confidence is key when it comes to social interactions. If you walk into a room with your head held high and a smile on your face, people will be more likely to approach you and strike up a conversation. On the other hand, if you’re hunched over and looking around nervously, you’re more likely to make people uneasy. So relax, stand up straight, and make eye contact – it’ll make a world of difference.
3. Don’t be afraid to break the ice.
If you’re feeling awkward in a social setting, it can be helpful to break the ice by starting a conversation yourself. This shows that you’re friendly and approachable, and it can help put others at ease. Just be sure to keep your questions light and avoid anything that might come across as intrusive or offensive.
4. Listen more than you talk.
One of the best ways to avoid awkwardness is to simply listen more than you talk. People love talking about themselves, so letting them do so will not only make them feel good but will also help you get to know them better. And the more you know about someone, the easier it will be to carry on a conversation with them.
5. Avoid controversial topics.
When you’re getting to know someone new, it’s best to avoid controversial topics – such as religion or politics – that have the potential to cause disagreements or offend. Stick to safe subjects like hobbies, movies, or books instead.
6. Be aware of your body language.
Your body language can say a lot about how you’re feeling – even if you’re not saying anything at all. If you’re crossing your arms or fidgeting nervously, it’s likely that you’ll make others feel awkward as well. So try to relax, uncross your arms, and make eye contact when you’re talking to someone.
7. Don’t put people on the spot.
Asking someone personal questions – such as their age, weight, or salary – can immediately make them feel uncomfortable. And if they don’t want to answer, they may start to squirm or look around uncomfortably. To avoid this, stick to safe topics of conversation and save the personal questions for later on down the road.
8. Be respectful of personal space.
Everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to personal space, so it’s important to be aware of how close you’re standing to someone. If you’re invading their personal space, they may feel awkward and uncomfortable. So try to give them some room – a good rule of thumb is to keep about two feet between you.
9. Don’t stare.
Staring is considered rude in most social situations, so it’s best to avoid doing it altogether. If you find yourself staring at someone, simply look away and focus your attention elsewhere. And if you catch someone staring at you, don’t take it personally – they may just be lost in thought.
10. Don’t interrupt.
Interrupting someone mid-sentence is not only impolite, but it can also make the other person feel uncomfortable and disrespected. So, it’s important to let people finish what they’re saying before you jump in with your own thoughts. If you can’t help but interrupt, apologize afterward and try to avoid doing it again in the future.
11. Avoid talking about sensitive subjects.
There are some topics – such as illness, death, and money – that can be difficult for people to talk about. If you bring up one of these subjects, the other person may start to feel awkward or uncomfortable. So it’s best to avoid them altogether – unless, of course, the other person brings them up first.
12. Don’t monopolize the conversation.
No one likes a conversation hog – so make sure you’re giving others a chance to speak. If you find yourself talking more than everyone else, try to reel it in and focus on listening instead. And if someone else seems to be monopolizing the conversation, gently steer it in another direction or change the subject altogether.
13. Avoid making assumptions.
Making assumptions about others – such as their beliefs, values, or opinions – can often lead to awkwardness. That’s because people don’t always like it when they’re pigeon-holed or put into a box. So it’s important to avoid making assumptions and instead take the time to get to know someone before you make any judgments.
14. Don’t be afraid of silence.
In some cultures, silence is considered a sign of respect. But in many Western cultures, silence is often seen as awkward and uncomfortable. If there’s a lull in the conversation, don’t feel like you need to fill the void – just let it be and see where the conversation goes.
15. Don’t take things too personally.
Not everything is about you – so don’t take things too personally. If someone says or does something that bothers you, try to see it from their perspective and understand where they’re coming from. And if you can’t do that, just let it go and move on. Life’s too short to get hung up on every little thing.
Awkwardness is a normal part of life – but that doesn’t mean you have to let it take over. By following the tips above, you can learn how to avoid and overcome awkward situations. So next time you’re feeling uncomfortable, just relax, take a deep breath, and remember that everyone else is probably just as awkward as you are.