We all (or most of us) have been there. Those hesitant short questions and curt short replies. Like fencing, swift jabs and parries. We wish we could say more, but a thick invisible wall seems to be stuck in between. Or rather: a deep, uncrossable ravine.
Welcome to the Pit of Awkwardness.
We all know that prevention is better than cure. Staying out of the pit is definitely better than figuring out how to escape. But unfortunately, a lot of us just stumble and fall inside the pit without warning. Those who are frequent visitors of this unlikely spot share different stories on how they got stuck in the hole.
There are those who spoke too soon or too late.
There are those who acted too rashly or too lazily.
There are those who did not say or do anything at all.
And then there are those who are simply clueless how they got in there at all.
The point? Prevention is ideal, but not simple.
But what is ‘awkwardness’?
In the dictionary, awkward is defined as “not graceful, lacking skill, difficult to use or handle”. In most conversations and contexts, it can be used to describe a situation of confusion between embarrassment/hesitation and perceived offense/fault. The state of awkwardness seems to occur whenever there is a conflict of indecision and a desire to act, without knowing clearly how to handle or deal with a certain person or circumstance.
The irony is that awkwardness can happen to close relationships as much as among mere acquaintances. To digress, awkwardness is not the same as intentionally ignoring someone (though that may lead to awkwardness in the long run). Whether it is unmet expectations, or lack of appreciation, or something else — things have a way of getting tangled like wires and strings inside a pocket, even when we take precautions. And like most tangled stuff, it takes patience and a lot of oops and sorry’s to successfully unravel it. Forcibly pulling the tangles may result to tightened knots which make it almost impossible to fix, or fray and break threads. The same can happen with our relationships.
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So what makes it hard to deal with the awkward pit, and why do some people allow it to stay? Let’s try to find out on the next blog.