i tried to compliment an author i respect and his response was “what does that mean?” i could only respond with “i don’t even know. i’m better on paper.”
don’t ask me what i said, because i don’t remember. my brain had seized like a cheap lawn mower engine.
what i do know is that i tried to be too cool and too clever and i ended up stringing words together that made no sense even to an wordsmith.
he goes to my church, so i’m hoping to redeem myself someday. right now, i avoid looking directly at him.
i was trying too hard. i let my nerves get the best of me and made an ass of myself.
clearly no one else have ever done this, right? you’ve never said absolutely the wrong thing or were awkward enough to make other people feel awkward, too. right? riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
i can’t really tell you how to get rid of the body chemistry that short circuits your brain and makes you say dumb things when you’re nervous. but maybe i can help pinch off the hose.
apply these suggestions to dating, job interviews, while waiting in the Hanson fan club line…
1. calm down. breathe. deeply. go to your happy place. take a sec to do as the Brits say and compose yourself. refrickinglax.
2. don’t talk when you’re nervous. there’s a saying by someone really smart, maybe Jesus or Plato or Steven Colbert, and it says, “better to be silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” you hear that chatterbox? just shut up. in a social setting, if you’re feeling jumpy, relax your shoulders and plaster a look on your face that says, “i could say something right now, but i won’t.” throw in a slight shake of the head for good measure; like someone else just said something that made you think “bless his heart”. it’ll make people wonder. calm down. that’s a good thing.
3. fake it ’til you make it. you are going to win an Oscar for how well you pretend like all is well in your innards. consider this training on the farm league for when you get called up to the Show. act like you’ve got your crap together until you actually do. this is a classic confidence building technique that actually works, believe it or not. wait. screw the “or not”. just believe it.
4. don’t force it. you are not required to hit a home run for your first at-bat. go for a grounder to first. more baseball analogy, sharideth, really? yes. what? it works here. bite me. anyhoo, let yourself get comfortable with the situation. no need to do gainer off the high dive. diving analogies, now? yes! you are welcome!
5. listen. people like to talk. so let them. don’t know what to say, ask a question. it doesn’t even have to be a particularly clever question, it just has to show you are paying attention. hint: this is highly effective when interacting with the opposite sex. listening is becoming a lost art, but people appreciate it. like, a lot.
long blog short, stop stressing about being impressive and clever and focus on being someone others can be comfortable around. it’s a highly underrated quality. and besides, if you happen to run into someone else who’s nervous, you can end up making a connection by outing yourself. totally breaks the ice.
what are some other suggestions for cutting through the awkwards?
have you made an ass of yourself like i have?