I'm a pretty awkward person. This is a fact generally acknowledged among the people in my life, and it's something that I've accepted at this point. It's been 21 years, and I don't imagine it's going to change anytime soon. But surely I'm not that awkward, right? People always feel like they're twelve times more awkward than they really are. And that might be a little true in my case, but the awkward is still strong in me.
For example, last week I was at work; I'm a server in a restaurant. A woman at one of my tables commented that she liked my engagement ring. Naturally, I replied "thank you" and answered her next question about the material by saying that it was made of titanium.
You're thinking that's not that bad. What's awkward about that? I'll tell you.
I am not engaged. And the ring isn't even titanium. It's stainless steel. I just panicked and words started coming out of my mouth before I could do anything about it. I walked away from the table, back into the kitchen, and just prayed she wouldn't ask how me and my supposed fiancee met.
Things like this happen to me all the time. Why? I don't know. I am a frequent victim of the "how do I greet this person?" paradox, where I sort of know them, but not really, so do I wave awkwardly? Do I go in for a hug like my other friend did? I'll never know the proper way to react in that scenario.
I do the thing where I say, "How are you?" And they respond and ask how I am. I say, "I'm good, how bout you?" Even though they just told me that two seconds ago.
When I feel like I should be talking but I have nothing to say, I just spout random facts. And let me tell you, using, "Did you know that Richard Nixon put ketchup on cottage cheese?" as an icebreaker is an interesting exercise.
I say, "the struggle is real" all the time. That's fairly normal. What's awkward is when you mutter "unless you're finding the square root of negative one, and then it's imaginary," to yourself afterward. That's a genuinely funny joke by the way.
Anyway, the point of all of this is that I'm a pretty awkward person. I just asked my roommate to name something awkward I do and she said, "Everything," immediately followed by eight specific examples. So I'm awkward. Yay. But actually I think it's sort of a good thing.
Because I've been so awkward my whole life that my awkwardness doesn't phase me that much anymore. Other people might be embarrassed by some of these encounters. I just use them as interesting anecdotes to tell people instead of talking about how mantis shrimp are the coolest ever. (That's another less than stellar icebreaker by the way.) It makes me seem like I'm hilarious and have lots of entertaining experiences when actually my life is just really awkward. People think I'm too cool to care, when in reality everything is just so awkward that I'm now immune.
So, pro life hack. Be awkward, and then spin your awkwardness into awesome.