Well, that was awkward

You know what I’m talking about. At least … I hope you do. Those ridiculously is-this-really-happening-or-am-I-on-some-terrible-game-show moments. They happen to me more than the average human.

I had never heard of the awkward turtle hand signal until a few years ago. So it was kind of awkward when someone did it and I was the only one who didn't catch on to what he was getting at. I don't know if I'm out of the loop or if it's common to be ignorant of the awkward turtle, but if you aren't familiar either, you can Google it.

There’s the “please don’t see me” — The little jolt of panic you get when you’re walking through your local grocery store minus a shower, any hint of makeup, and still wearing your pajamas, when you see you’re on track for a head-on collision with the one person you didn’t want to see. It could be your ex. It could be your arch-frenemy. It could be that acquaintance that thinks you’re best friends, but hearing them open their mouth makes you want to jump off a building. Regardless, you didn’t want to run into them — Especially when you’re not looking your finest.

Like the now infamous Katy Perry Muppet-like no makeup Twitpic.

You duck in between a display of guacamole and a magazine rack, but escape attempts are futile. They’ve spied you and you’re stuck now. Plus, you’ve got to make up some bogus excuse about how you were out of guacamole and couldn’t miss the latest issue of Ok! Magazine, and that’s why you were careening in between the displays, not because you’d rather visit a razorblade and lemon juice factory than talk to them. (Karma gets you double if they talk to you all the way to the checkout line and you’re stuck buying the guac and Ok!)

I'm guessing karma in guacamole form looks like the Grinch.

This happens to me every time I visit my hometown. You’ve got to get dolled up if you want to go to Wal-Mart (Williston, ND’s, only major store) because you know it’s going to be a high school reunion the second you step foot in there.

This would be the only thing that would make it worse: Cameras to document your meeting and immediately declare it to the world on Facebook.

You probably know about my debacles with texting. Have you ever accidentally texted the wrong person? And, of course, 9 times out of 10, it will go to the worst possible person? Whether you end up bragging about last night’s hookup to your mom or send a flirtatious text to your best friend’s little sister, it’s not going to end up well. In my case, I ended up sending a particularly wrathy four-messager about the irritating qualities of one of my friends to the subject of the text. Whom I was physically in the same place with at the time. And immediately called me out on it. Talk about mortification.

At least this one was a random wrong number. And, surprise, there's a whole site dedicated to these, too: wrongnumbertexts.com. That's where I found this one.

Have you ever bailed on someone in favor of better plans and then run into them while you’re out? That’s a fun one to explain. “Uh, hi! Fancy running into you here! Ummm. I just … ended up not doing the whole bathing homeless cats at the animal shelter thing annnnd … so-in-so here was walking along the street in the rain while I was on my way home, sooooo … we ended up here?”

Yeah. Painful. They know. Give it up. Admit defeat. Scamper away with head hanging and tail between legs.


First-time meetings breed awkwardness. Whether you’re meeting a classmate, a new co-worker, your friend’s mutual friend, or your significant other’s parents, disaster hangs out here. You’re grasping for common ground in an effort to kick off the conversation and note a glimmer of recognition in your conversation partner’s eye when you mention coverage of the PGA that was on in place of your favorite soap opera. You go on spouting about how golf is the lamest sport ever invented. In fact, you say it shouldn’t even be considered a sport. You continue to rip it to shreds for the next few minutes before you notice your conversation partner squirming a little. They then mention that they’ve been a member of their local country club for years, where they teach golf lessons for a living. Fail.

But, hey, at least once the initial sting of the awkwardness goes away, you have a entertaining story to tell.

The epitome of awkward, courtesy of AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com. Definitely good for a laugh at the expense of others' awkwardness.

14 thoughts on “Well, that was awkward

  1. Pingback: under construction!

  2. Those awkward feelings and times can make us who we are, but it can also break who we are. It always feels awkward for me when meeting a new person when everyone else knows them. Like at the party when you are the friend who was invited, but you know only that one person. Who do you talk to? What do you do when everyone else is talking to one another? I always hated those parties. If I don’t know more than three people at the party now, I will spare myself the embarrassment and stay away.

  3. Hahah – this made me laugh at my desk when I should be working. I can relate heavily to your Wal-Mart example – except this happens to me at the mall. I see all sorts of people I went to highschool. Most of them were acquaintances, so when they stop and talk to me it is super awkward because we have nothing to talk about! Sometimes the awkward wave from a distance is the better way to go!

  4. Pretty much every interaction I ever have is awkward. My power animal is probably awkward turtle. (I had never heard of it, either! Just Googled it!)

    I have a hard time understanding the “normal” ways you should go about interacting with other humans, so I end up coming off as very, very awkward. That just makes them uncomfortable, making me feel even more awkward and the cycle continues.

    I blame my mom for sheltering me as a child and not making me talk to anyone. When people would ask my name or my age she would nearly always answer for me, and I would just hide behind her leg and stare. >_>

    • Hahaha I’m actually giggling after reading this (not just fake-LOLing). I think I’m pretty awkward, too. I hate eye contact. Especially with strangers. I usually try to avoid it, but sometimes I force myself to make eye contact in interviews and stuff … and then I’m not quite sure how long you’re supposed to hold said contact. So I usually just do for an eternity longer than I’m comfortable with. And then I start sweating. Making it really awkward on my end at least. Maybe the other person doesn’t notice. I can only hope, I guess.

      • Hehe, glad to make you laugh.

        I hate eye contact, too. I’ve started realizing that when I’m in a store, or pretty much anywhere that I have to interact with strangers, I rarely if ever make eye contact with workers or cashiers. I’ve started to try to push myself to remember to make eye contact so that I can hopefully start becoming more used to it. XD

        How long to hold it is hard, too! I’ve read about how if you’re the person talking, it’s important to look away occasionally so that you’re not staring them down, and if they’re talking you should almost always keep eye contact to show that you’re listening. But then I start to overthink it and I find myself thinking more about eye contact than actually listening or thinking about what I’m saying.

  5. Yes. And because I wear glasses that are ill-suited to my eyes, I can’t even see people until they’re right in front of me. So…yeah. I’ll leave it to your imagination.

    • Oh, no! A recipe for disastrously unpleasant meetings! (For some reason, my glasses are pretty ill-suited to my eyes too, even though they’re the same prescription as my contacts. It’s a conspiracy to create awkwardness!)

  6. Yeah speaking of new co-worker awkwardness, I’ll be the new guy at my job tomorrow so I’ve been fretting about that all day. Hopefully I’ll remember to tuck my weirdness in but knowing me I”ll have a little bit sticking out in the back.

    • I’m loving your awkward imagery. Just because you made it sound so cool, I think you should wave it around, or wear it like a cape or something. But seriously, good luck at your new job!

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