I think for most people, awkward is mostly a neutral term. Awkwardness is an inevitable part of daily life; nothing to lose sleep over. It passes and everyone moves on. My husband is not really phased by awkwardness. He sometimes chuckles and gets a little kick out of it.
Not for me. Somewhere along the way, awkwardness became something a little more dreadful. Awkwardness can often feel pretty intense, anxiety provoking, even painful at times. I consider myself HIGHLY awkward. I tend to avoid awkward situations whenever possible.
But life is awkward.
- Small talk
- Talking on the phone
- Lulls in conversation
- Failed punch lines
- Asking for help
These are all part of life. I can’t spend my life in my comfort zone. My big dreams include living abroad part time, relocating our family to the countryside, forming a closer community or “tribe”. There will be awkwardness for sure as cultures clash and we start everything anew. I want to embrace all that instead of fear it. I know a big part of me wants this, awkwardness and all.
So lately when I feel awkwardness is just around the corner (say, I see a stranger approaching me on the sidewalk), I breathe, adjust my stance (usually this means uncrossing my arms and relaxing my butt muscles!) tell myself to lean into the discomfort, and let it play itself out. It’s really nothing to dread. The more I lean into it, the less awkward I feel and the less awkward it is.
Awkward first dates can lead to true love. Awkward introductions can lead to soul mates. Awkward parties can lead to awesome memories. Awkward incidents often become the funniest stories we tell. Awkwardness is the spice of life 🙂