We all sometimes find ourselves in extremely awkward situations. There is no way to always avoid them.
However, you can certainly develop an arsenal of tricks to survive them.
Here is a list of life’s uncomfortable moments and the best ways to handle them:
1. Talking sex
Whether you need to address some issues with your partner, or give your kids the “birds and bees” talk, discussing sex can often be uncomfortable. We live in a culture where, despite so many changes, sex remains a basically taboo subject. Add the element of personal intimacy or parent/child relationship and it’s almost impossible! The best you can do is be honest and factual in both situations, and get over the momentary embarrassment.
2. Awkward silences
Whether on a first date or at a friend’s birthday party, sometimes there are lulls in conversation which last a few moments too long. Silence can be quite uncomfortable.
The best way to deal with these moments is to be prepared: have a few questions that you usually ask people to get conversation moving.
3. First dates
First dates are basically interviews where your looks count, too. The trick to a successful first date is:
a. Don’t overdo it: keep plans simple yet elegant. Don’t try and impress anyone too much, it’ll come off as pretentious.
b. Alcohol: one or two drinks never hurt anybody on a date, and can help you loosen up and be a bit more relaxed.
c. Honesty: just be yourself, it really is the best way to sell yourself to a customer that’s interested.
4. Good grief
Whether your friend, lover or family member is crying because of a breakup or, in extreme cases, a sick or deceased person, these situations can be awkward and tricky. What are you supposed to say? In most cases, any show of support will be meaningful. Offering a listening ear as well as physical support will always be appreciated.
5. Forgetting a name
You met a girl at a bar a few minutes ago. Your business colleague just introduced you to a potential client form abroad and…you simply cannot pull the name out of your mental rolodex. In order to get yourself out of this embarrassing emergency, you could do one of a few things:
a. Ask for their business card
b. Introduce the nameless person to a friend of yours, using only your friend’s name. Wait for the nameless individual to then introduce themselves.
6. Work conflicts
Our behavior at work has a lot of repercussions. When we get in conflicts at the office or with partners, we must tread carefully. Usually, the best advice is to keep interactions with coworkers discrete, polite and not too involved or personal. If you do need to confront a coworker, use delicate language and always be respectful. If you feel that your superior could do a better job of resolving a conflict, that’s another option.
7. Body awkward
Any situation related to exposed body parts – or bodily fluids, smells or noises – are usually extremely awkward. Maybe you accidentally exposed yourself, or you just turned the office bathroom into a toxic waste site. The rule of thumb is, always be polite, hygienic and clean up after yourself. After all, there’s always “Excuse me!”
We all make mistakes. And usually, the best thing to do next is admit that we made them. It’s easier said than done, but biting the bullet and saying you’re sorry is the best game plan in 99% of situations. An admission of wrongdoing and subsequent forgiveness paves the way for a new start and builds trust and strength in all kinds of relationships.