Most (if not all) of us collegiettes find ourselves dealing with totally awkward situations on a daily basis that make us want to jump into the nearest hole. Let’s face it: sometimes college is kind of just one big, awkward moment! Although there’s no way to avoid awkward encounters altogether (besides never leaving your dorm room, of course), there are ways to make the best of uncomfortable situations. Here are some common “awkward moments” that happen in college that we can all relate to, and how to deal with them!
1. You run into a one-night stand
You’re walking across campus or hanging out at a party when all of a sudden you recognize your one-night stand from afar. Or, even worse, you realize mid-conversation that the guy you’re talking to looks familiar… because the last time you saw him, you were in the midst of a very sloppy, very drunk hook-up with him. Your heart begins to race, your palms start to sweat and you’re considering creating a diversion in order to escape from the awkwardness.
How to deal: Although you may be panicking on the inside, remain calm and try to play it off like nothing’s wrong. “The best way to handle it is just to play it cool and act like it was no big deal—or make your friends hide you. That works, too,” says Sophie Dodd, a junior at Middlebury College. As soon as you can, politely excuse yourself and make a quick getaway.
2. You walk in on your roommate mid-hook-up (or your roommate walks in on you)
You come back from a long day of class, only to open your dorm room door and find a whole lot more than you bargained for—a very embarrassed roommate and her SO in the middle of a compromising situation. Although this type of encounter is nearly inevitable in college, it can be pretty mortifying, to say the least! Accidentally walking in on a hook-up is awkward for everyone involved, especially if you and your roommate don’t have a close or open relationship.
How to deal: If you’re the one who got, ahem… interrupted, laugh it off and apologize to your guy for the situation (because he probably feels even more awkward than you do!). Whether you’re the interrupter or the interrupted, an apology to your roommate is also essential. To prevent accidental walk-ins in the future, set up a system with your roommate, such as texting her beforehand or writing a code word on a whiteboard on your door, so that you each know when to stay out of the room for a while. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you have alternative sleeping arrangements, just in case!
3. You run into a high school acquaintance you never talk to anymore
You’re walking across campus when you see the girl whom you were kinda-sorta-not-really friends with in high school. It’s the most awkward of run-ins: you know her well enough that not saying anything would be weird, but you don’t know her well enough to actually have anything to talk about.
How to deal: Chances are you’re going to see this person around campus again, so ignoring her completely is a no-go. The best course of action is to acknowledge the person with a nod, a smile or even a “hey!” but to continue walking so that you can avoid a potentially awkward conversation. If you’re forced to engage in chit-chat, try to keep it short and sweet. Ask a few polite questions, but after pleasantries, you can say something along the lines of, “It was great seeing you, but I have to get to class!”
4. You have to do the walk of shame
It’s happened to the best of us. You got a little crazy on a Friday night and ended up in someone else’s bed, which forces you to make the long walk of shame back to your dorm or apartment in last night’s clothes. You have to totter back home in the ever-classy stilettos-and-bodycon-dress combo (or, even worse, still in theme-party attire) under the harsh light of day while enduring stares from bemused college-tour groups and elderly professors.
How to deal: In this situation, there’s not much else you can do but hold your head up high and make it back to your place as fast as possible (and hope that you don’t run into anyone you know!). If you can, try to take an out-of-the-way route to avoid walking by huge groups of people in the middle of campus. And hey, as awkward as it is at the time, your walk of shame will make a good story later on.
5. You’re talking to someone you’ve met before, but you can’t remember his or her name.
Considering how many new people the average collegiette meets from one weekend to the next, it’s safe to say that many of us have ended up in this awkward situation. “Before, I've met someone and forgotten about it and then felt really awkward when he approached me on campus, and vice versa,” says Susannah Hine, a senior at the University of California, Irvine.
How to deal: If you find yourself racking your brain for a name but coming up empty, try this sneaky trick. When one of your friends walks by, introduce her to the person you’re talking to. That person is likely to introduce herself back, which will save you the awkwardness of asking, “What was your name again?”
6. You drunk-texted someone last night
You wake up on a Sunday morning, check your phone and find out that Drunk You thought it would be a good idea to text your mom, your ex and an old friend from high school at 3 a.m. You scroll through your texts with horror as you read the typo-ridden, emoji-filled and often all-too-honest messages you can’t even remember sending. Now what?
How to deal: Unfortunately, by the time you realize what you did, the damage is already done. All that you can do now is either apologize or pretend like those texts didn’t even happen. If you need a cover, you could say something like, “Oops, I accidentally texted all of my contacts last night!” and leave it at that. In the future, give your phone to a trusted friend so you can party to your heart’s content without regretting it the next day.
7. You end up at a party where you don’t know anyone
Somehow you end up at a house party all by your lonesome, and it feels like everyone else knows someone but you. You’re awkwardly standing in a corner, clutching your cup and debating whether or not to attempt to slip out unnoticed. In your mind, everyone else is zeroing in on your awkwardness, which just makes you feel even more self-conscious. This is a socially awkward person’s worst nightmare come to life.
How to deal: While it can be tempting to flee, remember the motto, “fake it until you make it!” College is all about stepping out of your comfort zone, and this situation is the perfect opportunity to branch out. “When you’re talking to someone you don’t know, start simple! Ask the person how they know the host of the party or what their major is,” says Olivia Kim, a sophomore at the University of Toledo. “Don’t sit in the corner refreshing Twitter on your phone! If you project a friendly, outgoing attitude, people will respond to that.”
Think of it this way: this worst thing that can happen is you get bored and leave, but on the other hand, you could end up making new friends or talking to a new cutie! Embrace the awkwardness and give it a shot.
Although awkward moments are unavoidable, the best thing to do is always to try to make light of the situation (or just try to pretend it never happened). Remember, it’s only awkward if you make it awkward!