I’ve been called the master of the awkward moment. I have the ability to make any situation overly awkward and uncomfortable, mostly because of my innate talent at saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, or simply saying anything at all. A friend of mine dyed his hair black with bleached-blond spots, and my missing this-is-appropriate-filter permitted me to inform him that he looked like a skunk.
But I believe the awkward moment is beneficial to social settings. Let me articulate: First, the awkward moment always brings people together. As a group, you share in something that no other people will ever be able to recreate, and probably wouldn’t want to recreate.
Secondly, the awkward moment can relieve tension in otherwise uncomfortable situations by creating an alternative place to focus the conversation’s attention. Example: meeting new people can often be uncomfortable and make one quite nervous. My solution is to tell the story about the time when I was five and I peed in my backyard like a dog and my mom had to hose me off on the patio. People immediately forget that they had nothing to talk about, suddenly everyone wants to call my mom to confirm the facts, and I’ve made new friends.
The awkward moment provides a memory that is easily humorous at a later time. One time, I openly stated my belief that someone’s bleached hair made him look like a dirty Q-tip. I quickly slapped my hand over my mouth like a badly rehearsed scene in a farcical movie. Again, my inappropriateness led to a situation in which everyone got the last laugh. To this day, whenever we see him, a giggle spews out of our mouths like lava from a volcano in turmoil.
I pride myself on being the queen of awkward moments. I probably wouldn’t have as many good friends as I do if that weren’t so—people secretly love awkward moments.
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