I had myself a classic awkward moment the other day… the one where somebody is looking in your direction, smiles and waves, but you realize only AFTER you’ve waved back that they are gesturing to someone directly behind you.
It seems there is no shortage of awkward moments. They are not rare, they are not endangered and they have no shelf life. They are just as potent the 50th time as they were the first time.
But the key to surviving an awkward moment is to be suave and approach it with candor. Own it. Cowboy up and accept that you just made an idiot of yourself, and you will be all the more respected for it.
This is sometimes easier said than done, because there are varying degrees of awkwardness. Low on the scale are the moments such as those I mentioned above, where you mistakenly think you are being engaged in conversation by some random person you’ve never met.
Examples that fall in the middle of the scale would include running into a wall, bumping your head on something, or dropping a sack of groceries in a crowded supermarket. You earn extra points if it’s the sack holding your eggs.
Other middle-scale events include — and I’m very guilty of this one — encountering people you’ve met before and not remembering their names.
“Hey… man… how have you been?” is a typical greeting in those situations.
Finally, those moments that are high on the scale — the real gold-medal contenders — can include the following…
• Tripping and falling (with or without the tearing of some article of clothing);
• Spilling soda pop on the new white carpet that is in the house wherein you are a guest of the housewarming party; and
• Snoring in church.
These moments are very hard to escape with your dignity intact, but it can be done. Plus you can always follow the church snore with the quick cough-clear throat-cough routine in the hopes that everyone will buy that your gurgled head-bobbing eruption was all part of it.
They don’t, but you can always hope.