Have you ever had to ask someone to repeat themselves twice only to smile and nod the second time because you were too embarrassed to ask again? Or have you ever had to endure awkward silence in an elevator while you wait to get to your floor? Do you cringe at the mere thought of social interactions? Have you embarrassed yourself more times than you can count? Have you tripped over your own words and said something completely ridiculous or over excessively apologize?
If you’ve said yes to any of these questions (or not), then this is the article for you! Whether you’ve been socially awkward your entire life like me or it recently developed over time, it doesn’t change the fact that most times you’ll find yourself in extremely cringeworthy situations. Some so cringey, they come back to haunt you in your bed at night…
But not to fear!
If you’re tired of enduring awkward situations, then keep reading to find out a few ways you can avoid socially awkward situations if you’re a quirky college student like me.
1. Ordering a meal
Thank God we’re in the 21st century where UberEats, Doordash, and GrubHub are available. But unfortunately, you’ll become broke ordering $25 meals three times a day every day. Sooner or later, you’ll have to break from your anti-social bubble and go out to your campus cafeteria or food court where other people are bound to be. I bet the mere thought of having to be anywhere near people sounds absolutely scary, much rather order your own food. But there are a few ways to alleviate the stress. You could:
- Practice your order in your head or even write it down.
- Start by making small talk with the server by asking “how are you?” or “hi”.
- Beg a friend (if your quirkiness allows you to have one) to go get food for you (I would not recommend this method often. You might get an irritated friend and an empty stomach).
2. Awkward Elevator Rides
Class discussions are already detrimental to your social anxiety, but awkward elevator rides take the cake. You’d think that riding in an elevator would be the least of your worries, but most times it’s extremely cringy from the silence to the occasional throat clearing. But not to worry, I have a few tips for this awkwardness as well. You could:
- Pretend that you’re on the phone with someone.
- Take out your phone and pretend to look at a video when you’re really switching back and forth from the homescreen.
- Put in your earbuds and play some music (but at a decent volume; you wouldn’t want to make the awkwardness worse).
3. Saying goodbye to someone and then going in the exact same direction as them.
Honestly, there’s not much advice I can give on this one except to literally change direction. Nothing else can help this ridiculously awkward scenario. If you have to walk an extra mile, then so be it.
4. Running into someone and doing an awkward side step dance
Everyone has at least had this happen to them once: walking somewhere and realizing there’s someone in the way, so at the last minute you try to go the other way but the other person decides to do the same. So now, you both are in an awkward dance situation where you’re both changing to the exact direction. Though it seems impossible, I absolutely do have a solution for this one:
Push them off the sidewalk.
Just kidding, but you could:
- Walk on one side of a walkway to avoid bumping into anyone.
- If you can sense that you’ll be in an awkward dance cycle when you spot someone ahead, turn and walk to the other side of the street to avoid them.
5. Your stomach growling in class
Picture this: it’s early in the morning and you’re late for class. You dash out of your dorm room, not even thinking to eat anything because you don’t want to be marked absent. When you get there, you realize today your professor is lecturing. You sit down, already late and take out your binder to take notes. Halfway through, in the middle of the silence, your stomach starts talking to you.
Actually, more like shouting at you.
Could you imagine anything more awkward than that, honestly? But don’t worry, I too have a solution for that. You could:
- Excuse yourself and go to the bathroom and get a sip of water to calm your stomach down.
- Move your seat to a less populated part of the classroom.
- Try to cover the noise of your stomach growling by tapping your pen or your foot.
- Leave class and hope you can afford an absence (totally kidding…maybe).
But all jokes aside, being in awkward situations can take a toll on your social anxiety. Though it can be pretty funny and relatable to talk about, sometimes, it can get a bit frustrating. Being quirky or different means that oftentimes, you find yourself in situations that other people don’t find themselves in. Just remember that your uniqueness is a part of who you are and as much as you hate what that entails, it can actually help you find people who are just as awkward, if not more, as you. Awkward situations suck, but having tips to endure them can make them a bit less awkward.