Starting to hiccup on public transportation, ripping your pants in a busy place, opening the bathroom door and finding that someone is already there, mistaking a pregnant girl for just a full girl – all of this is terribly embarrassing. Now imagine any of these things happening to your colleagues, with whom you then have to work. Any of these kinds of missteps can seriously damage our reputations.
An awkward situation makes us feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. But it is not all so bad. If you look at it from an unexpected angle, you can see that it can also bring a lot of benefits.
A professor of psychology at Harvard University.
Embarrassment and embarrassment are emotions we feel toward others when we make a slip or behave inappropriately to socially accepted norms and standards. Emotions that are associated with shame and guilt are often viewed as negative, when in fact they are not.
The positives of awkward situations are
1. Increased confidence
People who get into uncomfortable situations and feel embarrassed and uncomfortable because of it will have much more credibility simply because they care about the impression they make on those around them. There is also a good chance that their embarrassment will be forgiven and forgotten much faster than the embarrassment of someone who doesn’t care about the opinions of others.
2. Advance preparation for difficult life situations
Imagine that you have to tell a future client about your product. To make a good impression, you’ll try to prepare as well as possible and think through in advance the answers to all tricky questions.
Potential pitfalls encourage us to try harder so that we don’t slip up in the responsible moment.
Once you get into embarrassing situations and come out of them with dignity, you become more resilient and more prepared for the difficulties that may someday occur in your life. Situations involving embarrassment and embarrassment can be considered excellent training that builds character in many ways.
Communicating Core Values
Awkward situations serve as peculiar social regulators. They help people understand what kind of behavior is acceptable in normal society and what kind is not. Such situations are meant to maintain order and shed light on the things that really matter to us: caring for others, caring for loved ones and being interested in making a good impression.
Three ways to deal with awkwardness
Most of us consciously try not to get into awkward situations, but no one is immune from them. Here are a few things you can do to smooth out the awkwardness.
1. Treat the situation with humor.
The most common patterns of human behavior in awkward situations are as follows:
Be embarrassed and try to keep things quiet;
Courageously accept the blow and try to smooth things over.
The advice is this: do not try to hide what has already happened. Everyone has already noticed that you screwed up anyway. What’s the point of denying it? The best thing you can do in a situation like this is to be humorous about it.
Show that you’re not afraid to laugh at yourself. This way you will show those around you your courage and self-confidence. You can even say something like, “Wow, I’m awkward!” to reduce the tension to a minimum.
2. Control your emotions.
Saying “don’t be nervous,” “chill out,” or “relax” seems like a no-brainer, but it’s just as effective.
An interesting and revealing experiment was conducted at the University of Western Ontario. Participants were asked to recall situations for which they were ashamed and situations that evoked pleasant emotions. Afterwards, they were offered a choice of hot and cold drinks.
Most of the people who recalled embarrassing situations chose cold drinks. This is due to the body’s natural reaction to situations that make us feel uncomfortable: we feel hot and flushed, and want to cool down.
Emotions and our body temperature are closely linked. If you find yourself in a situation that’s out of control, try to calm down and not make it worse.
3. Forgive yourself
We need to learn how to overcome difficulties. This is the price we pay for being imperfect but normal people.
If you are often embarrassed, try to overcome yourself at least once and observe the reaction of those around you. Are they laughing in a friendly way and looking at you sympathetically? Instead of hiding your eyes, apologize and laugh at yourself with them.
Having made a mistake, you should not torture yourself endlessly. You need to practice self-compassion and self-forgiveness. When you acknowledge that you, like everyone else, are not perfect, it will help you to let go of the situation and say goodbye to the past.