Tag Archives: awkward

This Post Is Completely Awkward

Ironically, even spelling the word “awkward” is, well, awkward. It’s just one of the small annoyingly awkward things that we’ve all faced at some point in time—usually multiple times throughout a day.

They’re unavoidable. They’re consistently awkward. They’re part of everyday life. And fortunately—unfortunately?—we can all relate…awkwardly.

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Bumping into someone at the grocery store and saying goodbye, only to see them in every single aisle after that.

Passing a slow driver and then getting stuck next to them at a red light where you have to pretend to busy yourself and avoid awkward eye contact.

When someone catches you accidentally staring at them…twice.

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.

When you see someone waving and think its directed to you and begin to wave back just to learn it was meant for the person behind you.

Giving an automatic reply, such as “You, too,” “Love ya, “ etc. in situations where it absolutely makes no sense.

Trying to hurry up and put your change back in your wallet while people are waiting in line behind you.

Having to go around the room and say something random about yourself while everyone sits there staring pretending to care.

Pushing on a pull door. There is always a witness.

When the dental hygienist continues to make small talk that you can’t reply to because her hand is stuffed in your mouth.

Crafting the perfect voicemail and then having someone actually pick up the phone.

When people show you a picture of a wrinkly newborn and they’re like, “Isn’t she/he cute?!?”

Putting a dirty plate in the sink when someone is doing the dishes.

When you run into someone you should probably acknowledge and talk to, but they’re talking to someone else and you have to stand there waiting for them to finish.

Thinking there is one more step than there is and taking a giant awkward step/fall over seemingly nothing.

Walking down a hallway, an aisle, etc.—and someone you know is coming towards you, but you don’t want to make eye contact too soon. But you don’t want to miss that window, so you look at them , quickly look away, then look up again a second later.

Being with a group of people or in a quiet room, taking a drink of water, and having it go down the wrong pipe causing you to launch into a spastic coughing fit.

Trying to walk past someone on a motorized scooter without looking like you’re trying to race them.

When something you’re wearing or sitting on makes a noise that sounds like it could’ve been a fart and then trying to cover it up so everyone knows it wasn’t a fart.

Being stuck in the break room with a coworker you don’t know that well and forcing small talk while you wait to use the microwave.

Talking on the phone and interrupting each other over and over, eventually ending up with dead air, and “no, you go ahead” back and forth.

Accidentally walking into the wrong bathroom, or walking into the right one and making incidental eye contact with someone through the crack of the stall door.

Asking a question, ignoring the answer and being too ashamed to ask again because they’ll know you weren’t paying attention the first time.

Running into someone you’ve met a few times, having them call you by name, and having no clue what their name is.

Making eye contact with the store employee while trying to refold a shirt and put it back on the shelf.

Standing there on the other end of the leash while you wait for your dog to do his “business,” and then waving at someone with the plastic bag full of dog poop in your hand.

Being left alone with a person you kind of know yet have no interest in getting to know better while the third mutual friend steps out of the room.

The complex decision-making process of figuring out the right time to go into the revolving door, and if there’s time to go in there with someone or wait it out.

Having the toilet clog or not flush anywhere other than at your own house and being forced to let someone know.

Say goodbye to somebody and then realizing that you’re both walking the same way at the same pace.

Going into a store and deciding not to buy anything and being paranoid the staff thinks you’re shoplifting.

What would you add to the list?

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P.S. For some reason the text with this post runs over onto the images on the right for a few people. I don’t know why because I’m not a freaking genius. However, I’ve found if you refresh the page, that weirdness goes away–not the weirdness of the post, but of the spacing. 

Sorry, It’s Occupied

There are many things that can be said about working in an office. For better or for worse, you are forced to interact with people on a daily basis that you probably wouldn’t choose to hang out with on the weekends.

But at the end of the day, you smile and nod because you know that unlike family, at least you’re getting paid to interact with these people. What you’re not getting paid to do is become knowledgeable about their bathroom habits, but  that comes with the territory.

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My office is small in that we only have about 20 people who work there, with nine women on my end. There is a bathroom for each sex located towards the front of the office, and each bathroom has two stalls. Every time someone goes into the bathroom, you can hear the door open and shut and the light and fan go on simultaneously.

This is an important detail to my story.

You see, there are certain unwritten rules, at least with the women’s bathroom. Despite the fact that there are two stalls, every woman who uses the bathroom goes in and locks the main door. (And for some reason, I also lock the stall door when I go.)

Anyway, if I walk by the bathroom and light is shining under the door, I know that the door will be locked and that someone is in there. No one ever goes and leaves the light on when they leave, because that would signal to the outside world that someone was still in there. That results in someone (me) pretending to walk somewhere else and do a lap around the office just to keep an eye on the door.

When new people come in, they must be initiated to this process.

As I mentioned above, if the light is on, one does not proceed. However, if the light is on for an inordinate amount of time, suspicions arise and one (me) must investigate. Reaching for the bathroom door and finding it unlocked when the light is already on makes me suspicious, and when I enter and find no one in the tiny bathroom, I continue to look around as if they’re hiding in the cabinet under the sink.

It’s just not natural, and I think in the four and a half years that I’ve worked there I’ve only been in the bathroom with another person once or twice. I also believe that was during a tornado warning.

At any rate, with that unwritten rule established, I feel compelled to add in a few more of my own, as I’m sure there are a some things that apply to all office bathrooms in some way.

  • Despite the fact that there are only nine women in the office, it seems that whenever I head for the bathroom, someone else will be headed there at the same time. This results in the “No, you go ahead” back-and-forth that is both tedious and awkward. You want to go, but you don’t want to be rushed. You want to be polite, but you’ve gotta go.
  • Related to that, I hate being the “next” person to use the bathroom after someone has completely disrespected the toilet and any olfactory senses. The air freshener really does nothing but make it smell like shitty “Country Meadows,” and when I come out (after holding my breath and quickly doing my thing) to find someone else waiting, I always want to point out that it wasn’t me. I don’t do this, but I want to.
  • Finally, although the general level of cleanliness is far greater than that found at the gym, there are still times I wonder if someone completely emptied a hairbrush or decided to give themselves a sponge bath in the sink. Plus, it’s kind of amazing how people will go to great lengths to NOT replace the toilet paper, hand soap or paper towel, leaving one small square or drop for the next person to handle.

I suppose if I left the door unlocked, I could catch them in the act. However, I’m not willing to break that rule.

Sorry, it’s occupied.

Well, That’s Awkward

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.

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I have a few examples of my own that I’ve noticed lately.

Bathroom Break

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.

Graceful Exit

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.

Random Run-Ins

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.

Avoidance

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.

Miscellaneous Awkwardness

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.

awkward

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?                       

Chit Chat

I have discovered that I don’t do well with small talk.

While I can carry on these obligatory pleasantries with the best of them, I can’t help but feel that it all seems very forced and formulaic. And if you know anything about me past my love of baseball and green vegetables, you know that I abhor doing things “just to do them” or because I feel I have to. 

Superficiality is my karmic kryptonite.

If there isn’t a genuine motivation behind an action, my bullshit detector goes off and I lose interest. Warning signs may include me looking past your head, pretending to look busy at my computer, deep breathing (not in a creepy panting “What are you wearing?” phone call way though) and occasionally busting out in Trikonasana in an attempt to avoid my urge to shake you and scream, “What in the world do you want?”

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This is Triangle pose, for those unable to pronounce Trikonasana in their head.

Don’t get me wrong.

If you are not a close friend of mine (this is not a small club) and are really interested in how my weekend was or how work is going, I would be delighted to briefly tell you about it with the understanding that you probably won’t remember anything I tell you by the next time that we talk.

Once this basic exchange is complete, please feel free to move on with your day. You are no longer obligated to engage in meaningless conversation with me about things you really have no interest in learning.

But if I’m feeling pressured politeness, I might then reciprocate with a brief inquiry myself, knowing full well that most of the time your motivation for asking a specific question is for the sole purpose of me asking you about that very topic.

“Hey Abby! Did you happen to go to the bar this weekend and get wicked twisted, waking up in a vintage Michael Bolton concert T-shirt with a new tattoo you don’t remember getting?”

“No, actually I didn’t.” (Insert dramatic pause as they wait for it….sigh.) “Did you?”

And there go five minutes of my life I will never get back.

This is not meant to sound harsh, but rather to point out the fact that a majority of time spent with people is full of superficial chit chat, small talk—things to fill a silence that supposedly speaks volumes about our inability to constantly communicate as a species.

While interaction is obviously necessary and something that I personally enjoy—at a genuine level—repeatedly having the same meaningless conversations with people tends to push me into concocting ideas on how I can telepathically repel bullets of bullshit like a pinball machine.

But I will always engage in the obligatory pleasantries required of me, as once in awhile people can surprise you—in a good way (not in a creepy panting “What are you wearing?” phone call way)—and I thrive on those fleeting moments of genuine connection. 

I actually crave relationships and care about (most) people at a level bordering on oversensitivity at times, even if I sometimes end up disappointed. That’s how I roll, and I make no apologies for that—at least not out loud.

It’s just that I pick and choose my emotional investments.

And if we both know that it’s filler, why fill it?

This is not to deter people from talking to me or ever commenting—quite the opposite, in fact. If you can be unapologetically honest and not feed me what you think I want to hear—whether it’s while blogging, working or talking to me on the street—you might have just been elevated from superficial small talker to a member of that very small club mentioned above.

We have good talks about life, food, sports, other people — I promise it’s worth it.

But life is short and sometimes, silence is golden (and much preferable to a blaring bullshit detector.)