I find it appropriate that even the word “awkward” is awkward to spell and to say. The more you look at it, the weirder it gets.
Anyway, I don’t know about you, but for me there are some situations that are awkward. They’re not embarrassing or anything, just uncomfortable.
I have a few examples of my own that I’ve noticed lately.
Of course bodily functions are going to make an appearance on this list, but don’t worry—nothing gross. The thing is that at work, we have a bathroom for both sexes right next to each other. While there are two stalls each, it’s basically a one-person-lock-the-door-and-do-whatever deal.
Because of where they’re located though, you are constantly passing people as they’re going into the bathroom. This doesn’t sound awkward, but it kind of is. You smile and say “hi”—even though you’ve seen that person a dozen times already that day—just as they’re walking in to do their thing. We all know what they’re doing, we all do it, but it’s still just kind of weird.
* It’s also awkward when you pass that person going into the bathroom, get up 20 mins later to go find them and discover they’re still in there. However, they will come out at the exact second you are walking by the bathroom to go back. Avoid eye contact and shoot them an e-mail instead.
Run the Water
There is also the “run the water” moment. This happens when a woman is in the bathroom (not on the toilet) and another walks in to pee. Do you keep doing what you’re doing or run the water so you don’t both have to listen to the stream? Do you make conversation while she’s peeing?
Let’s move on.
This is going to sound ridiculous, but part of the reason I don’t always enjoy going to social things is that I never know how to leave. I’m usually one of the first people to leave a party—either because I’m old, bored or not drinking—and I never really know how to make a graceful exit. No matter what I do, it’s weird to leave. I usually wait for someone else to head out and just join in the good-byes with them—group support.
It seems that whenever I run into someone randomly—at the grocery store, book store, etc.—I will continue to run into that person multiple times in the following minutes. The first time around, chit chat is fine and expected, but what about subsequent run-ins? If I just talked to you in produce, do I have to talk to you again in dairy and then again in the cereal aisle?
Even though they probably don’t expect me to acknowledge them every time, it still feels weird to see them and not say anything. However, it doesn’t really feel as weird as seeing them for the fifth time in five minutes and pretending to have something new to say.
It sounds rude, but don’t tell me you’ve never seen someone you know in public (see above situation) and purposely avoided them. Sometimes you don’t want to get stuck talking, sometimes you look like you fell off the white trash train—whatever the reason—you’ve done this. I’ve even done this with people that I like.
What stinks is when you let down your guard for one minute—maybe you sneeze, both blacking you out for a second and drawing attention to yourself—and they make their way over. They mention they saw you earlier but you must have missed their wave.
Nod. Yes, that’s exactly what happened.
Stick with that.
When you’re walking somewhere—a hallway, an aisle, etc.—and someone you know is really far away, but you don’t want to make eye contact too soon. However, you don’t want to miss it, so you look at them then quickly look away, then look up again a second later.
Watching a movie rated anything above PG with people you’re not that familiar with and having a steamy scene last a little too long.
Recognizing sexual innuendo (and perhaps giggling) when no one else does.
Giving an automatic reply, such as “You too,” “Love ya, “ etc. in situations where it absolutely makes no sense.
Saying goodbye to someone and then continuing to walk the same way as that person.
Like I said, these are just a couple that I’ve come across lately. They’re not embarrassing, just uncomfortable—much like typing the work “awkward” entirely too much. But I’ll do it two more times…
To avoid that awkward blog silence, tell me I’m not alone in this. Do you have any reoccurring slightly awkward moments to share?