Welcome to Richard’s guide on surviving the most foreign of places, the most daunting of tasks, and the squirmiest of situations!
This week, I’ll give you a little guide on how to survive awkward social situations.
There are three major type of awkward social situations.
The first kind is awkward because the people/person you are with holds extremely extremist views that are completely against your beliefs. Now, there’s nothing wrong with holding your own views, whether it be conservative, liberal, or neither, and friendly discussion is usually a good thing in most social situations.
However, there are those people who hold extreme views, and think that their views are the highest, most moral, and overall best thing in the world, and they really let you know that. Sometimes, these people are also ignorant and very disrespectful. If you hear and/or see someone mouth phrases like, “John Boehner should be executed for voting against gay rights,” or “Hillary Clinton should be tried for being a female Sec of State,” then there’s no hope. Just run.
No, in all seriousness, you should inquire—that is, if the situation seems to have some room for such debate or discussion (so don’t do it during an interview or anything)—as to why this person thinks such. If the person refuses to discuss, simply walk away. If you have to spend the rest of the day/evening with this person, just change the subject and don’t bring it up again. If this person tries to shove his or her beliefs down your throat, punch ‘em in the neck. No, wait, don’t do that. That’s a bad idea. Basically, try to tolerate, or maybe even listen. You may be surprised at the merits of seemingly weird arguments.
The second kind of situation is awkward because the person you are with is just an awkward person. He or she may say things like, “I think I am a vampire because I glisten,” or “I like Nickelback,” or “I can’t believe I’m here… Hanging out… With you…” Any of these three phrases—except the second one (see above for reference on how to deal with extremist views)—is a good sign you’re with an awkward person, which is perfectly fine. There’s nothing wrong with being awkward, but sometimes, you say or do something so awkward that you make others feel awkward.
If you’re with this kind of person, just embrace the awkwardness. Be awkward with them. It’ll make the situation much less awkward as a whole. And everybody loves a cute little awkward guy.
The third kind is awkward because the relationship with the person/people in the group is awkward or interferes with the situation. Examples: You are hanging out with your boyfriend and his math teacher. Awkward. You go shopping at Hollister with the CEO of Urban Outfitters. Less Awkward, but still a little awkward. You watch the movie “Teeth” with your boss. Super duper awkward.
There’s really no good way to get around these situations. You’ll just have to be a trooper and stick it out. Though I have no idea why your boyfriend would bring along his math teacher…
The overall moral lesson here is be mindful of social etiquette and be nice to people. That’s just a life lesson in general.