Last Updated on 2016-05-19 , 1:38 pm
Social interaction isn’t some sort of graceful mating dance and it ALWAYS looks easier on your favourite TV show. Some situations are just so painfully awkward that they make journeying into Narnia through a closet sound favourable to the claustrophobic man.
Here are some ways to avoid classic awkward situations that don’t boost your (already) declining self-esteem:
1. The Handshake-or-Hug Moment
You haven’t seen this, uhm, distant relative (he happens to be your mum’s sister’s son’s cousin’s son) of yours in ages. I mean, sure, you two were inseparable BFFs/cousins for some time – but the last time you two trotted around with fireworks in hand was Chinese New Year ten years ago! Do you hug him, give him a handshake, or…what on earth should you even do, for goodness sake? You close in for a hug, he lifts up a hand. What happens is some weird combination of the two – something of a one-arm hug or a tiny shoulder tap. Awkward laughter ensues.
How to avoid: Sick of this brand of awkward that seems to happen all the time? So am I, my friend, so am I. What you need to do is to carefully observe the other party – for example, if his hand lifts, you can automatically assume he’s going for a handshake and reciprocate in kind. If his arms remain firmly planted to his side, then you can assume control and decide what kind of greeting you want to make. Cool, huh?
2. Damn It, Facebook.
Things have changed (for better or worse) after Facebook introduced the “seen” feature on their messages. If you’re desperately avoiding unwanted attention and are yet curious as to what messages you’re receiving, then I truly pity you. You just can’t hide, man. If it happens to be a really boring message, then you have to awkwardly reply with something like “haha” or “lol” which…is quite sad, really.
How to avoid: In many cases, it depends on the relationship you have with the sender and how well you two know each other. If you guys see each other often there’s probably no need to reply to every single message – but if not, then you can think about continuing it if you’re worried your bro-in-arms will get offended. I know it’s a tough call to make, but you have to trust your superhuman instincts.
3. This Is NOT Goodbye…yet.
You say a heartfelt goodbye to a friend only to realize he’s actually going in the same direction with you (or even worse, that you guys are, like, taking the same bus home or something). “See you”also could mean bumping into each other five minutes later at a traffic intersection. Oh my gawd, you think, death by Awwkwaaaaard.
How to avoid: There isn’t an actual remedy for this. You can try avoiding it by making sure you aren’t going to see these people for some time before meeting them again. Do your best, man. And don’t do something silly like meeting your friend’s eyes and quickly taking the opposite direction, alright? That’s being just a tad bit rude.
4. I Just Want To Be Polite…seriously.
The nice guy who works at the cinema tears your ticket and tells you to enjoy the show and you nicely say “thanks, you too.” The waiter gives you your food and says, “enjoy your meal” and once again you tell him to enjoy his too. Or maybe it’s something like repeating “how are you” to your friend…twice in a sentence. Realization sinks in and you’re halfway from slamming your face into the nearest wall because the humiliation makes you want to dig a hole in a ground that would lead to China.
How to avoid: Well, you can avoid it by watching what you say. Obviously. But if you get into the deep and sticky of awkward, just laugh it off. It’s not like you’ve committed an unsalvageable breach of social etiquette anyway.
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