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?
Heh, heh, heh. Being an immature college kid, I chuckled and was tickled too much by this post.
Heh, heh, heh. I know what you mean about the loud awkward pee. I usually just skiddadle out of the bathroom asap. The most AWKWARD thing is when your friend waits for you to be done IN the bathroom.
But then, if you like and are comfortable with the person enough, you’ll be talking to each other while doing your thing in your respective stalls. Tee hee hee. Ask Eden. She knows. 😉
Hahaha, I hate awkward situations. But sometimes you just have to LAUGH!!
Most of the time I realize that what I think is awkward isn’t really for the other people involved. I think it’s just something I notice because I’m hypersensitive or something…….
Here’s one that gets me. I’m usually scheduled to work at nice until closing. Which means most everyone goes to their car and leaves at the same time. Sometimes I travel several miles either right behind, or right in front of one of my coworkers that I just said bye to. It’s just……awkward! Especially if one of us does has a crazy driving moment!
I do not like random run ins where you keep seeing the person again and again. You already chatted once, so what are you supposed to do? And I also purposefully avoid people if I see them in public. Why go through any unnecessary pain. They might be avoiding me, too!
An awkward moment I had was on Wednesday when I went to get my stuff from my office. I tried to make it quick and emerge undetected, but my advisor walked in the door at the same time. I had to lie and say that I would stop by after I dropped my stuff in the truck, when really I was leaving to go to the airport. Oops!
Ha, I nodded throughout this whole post!
My dad told me in japan, they were having water conservation problems because people were flushing so often in public restrooms so no one will hear the stream! now, some have toilets that emit bird chirping noises to save water while you pee!
I never had to do this, but my I know someone who had to get Plan B and coming to the counter asking for plan B is always awkward. My friend asked me if I would do her the favor and go get it for her.
I said “hell no”!
I love the word awkward! It perfectly describes this discomfort I often feel. And your awkwardness examples absolutely hit the bulls-eye! (Especially the “grateful exit” made me laugh.)
Awkward situation that tend to happen to me have to do with the fact that I’m sometimes really bad with recognitzing faces. It has happened that I’ve introduced myself three times. 😉 I’m also bad with remembering names often.
A special thing in German is that we have a polite and formal to speak to somebody (“Sie”) and an informal way (“du”). (In English, it’s both “you”.) If you don’t know somebody so well, you’ll say “Sie” at first, and then it usually switches to “du” after some time. Now there are some social rules surrounding this that make up perfect conditions for the emergence of awkwardness. For example, until recently, it was usually that, as a younger person, you had to wait until the older person offered the “du” to you. I’m a little traditional, so I still stick with this, but many people who’re more modern don’t anymore. Awkwardness arises a lot because shortly after starting to say “du” to somebody and not being used to it, I always fall back into saying “Sie”, and then the other person laughs and says I we had arrived at the “du” already, but it always happens to me. It’s even worse when you’re still in the grey area between “Sie” and “du”, not knowing which one to apply and trying to talk around directly addressing somebody … Gah.
I also hate to eat in front of other people, or when other people eat next to me, especially if they’re strangers. This is something that happens on long train journeys (and the train is so full that you can’t sit for yourself). You sit there squeezed into your seat among several others, and then you get hungry and have to unpack your boxed food and start eating … Or you sit there and read and the person next to you unpacks a thick sandwhich with liverwurst or salami and munches it noisefully, and the whole train is filled by the smell … Gah.
Yet another thing is that I tend to have to go to the toilet rather often. This doesn’t matter when being on myself and nobody notices, but when being with other people for some time or – even worse – stuck in a long lecture or seminar, everybody notices I have to get out often. It’s the worst in courses when you have to get up and leave in front of all the others. Gah gah gah!
I could go on. Awkwards moments define my life. 😀
I just noticed that leaving overly long comments also elicits awkwardness. So impolite to force all this bla bla upon you!
(Let’s sneak out of here now …)
I’ve got a million awkward moments I could share, but this is one of the kickers: The time I dropped my toothbrush in my boyfriend’s toilet.
I was mortified, but he was very nice and fished it out using an empty paper towel tube.
And, believe it or not, this has become a habit (and thanks to his gracious sense of humor, a running joke), as subsequently I have also managed to drop a pair of tweezers and the cap to my shave gel into his toilet as well. He needs to 1) get a bathroom that doesn’t have the cabinet mounted over the john or 2) learn to close the lid!
Oh I completely agree with all of these awkward moments! (Spelling awkward is often a challenge as well for whatever reason.) I have a couple…
How about when you purposefully don’t answer a call from a co worker from down the hall, then here they come walking to your desk just a second later…it’s like “oh hi uh, I just sat down, how’s that for timing!)–awkward
Or this one… One time all the bathroom stalls (only 4 of them btw) were all being used, so I went into the handicap one which I NEVER do because yes, there is a lady in a wheelchair on my floor. Well I took a little longer than usual with my business and the others left and guess who comes in to find that only the handicap stall was being used…yep. Talk about awkward when I opened the door. I guess she thought I was THAT A$$h*le.
Another is catching up with the person that you just had a road rage feud with and try to act like you just don’t see them….then to make it worse you get off at the same exit together.
Oh I thought of another one. Hate it when they put the condom aisle in the pharmacy right along the route that old people stand in to pick up their prescriptions. Setup for judgment, or feels that way.
The automatic reply and the eye contact while walking toward someone. I have this problem nearly several times a day when walking through the halls of the school I work at.
I find it hard to use a public restroom at all whenever someone else is in there with me. I don’t have my friends or family walk into the bathroom and start washing their hands while I do my business at home, why would it be any less comfortable with a complete stranger?
Your intro sentence kept me locked in and very interested today by the way – I find that the longer you stare at or repeat almost any word, the stranger and more foreign it becomes.
I can totally agree with the awkwardness of awkward. I also constantly give the wrong “automatic response.” Most recently, I responded the cashier at the grocery store with “you too” when she said “come back!” Yeah, that was awkward.
Haha 🙂 I can totally relate to this post. And I love the comments so far by the way.
I tend to feel pretty awkward in a lot of different settings, especially in public. I think the bathroom thing is at the top of the list. Eden mentioned the Japanese toilets that make noises including water running. We totally have that toilet at home! Luckily I don’t really need to use that noise button as it’s just me and hubs at home. Mostly we got it for the heated seat. It’s amazing how fast that became awkward….
I think the thing I dread the most are situations in which patients see me out and about and come up to chat with me. It just feels off somehow.
Pingback: Cornbread Waffles and “I Have a Dream” | Eden's Eats
This made me laugh because I have had all of those instances. Especially the one where you know someone but they are too far away to make any kind of gesture. But like you say, you don’t want to miss it. You look up a couple of times in that nonchalant way you do when you don’t want someone to notice you just yet. Hoping you are styling it out well. But regardless of how you know them or the relationship between you or how close you are, you always always feel like you’re some blood baying stalker. What is that?!
Haha, I was at the bank and the teller (who always makes small talk, grrr) was asking me if I had any plans that weekend. I told him that we were going for a drive across the state and as I left he said, “Have a good trip!”.
“You too!”, I replied.
How awesome you are, Abby! I hate leaving too and making a big ruckus about saying goodbye–especially around family. I like to just quietly get my things on Christmas evening, for example; and walk away without saying goodbye to a single person.