Embarrassed Girl

Awkwardness Defined

Awkwardness is tougher to define today than it was 10-20 years ago. Morals and ways of conduct have evolved. But enough play still exists to discuss the issue.

The accepted explanation of awkward is defined as “lacking skill, or dexterity.” Added to these “lacking” lists are “social graces”, “manners” and the all-encompassing phrase, “not well planned.”

Here’s a short but perfect example: An adolescent boy is sitting in a public place, drinking a Coke through a straw. He looks up to see the girl of his dreams walking his way. Their eyes lock. The girl smiles slightly, while the boy tries to act nonchalant. As their mutual gaze continues, the boy lowers his head toward his drink.

The straw goes up his nose.

Life episodes such as this one usually cause a temporary panic, and most always seem to involve the opposite sex. Other instances might include saying the wrong word, or being unaware of lettuce caught between your teeth. We get over it, but our memory keeps it out there, making it easy to recall even decades later.

As a group, females are more apt to confide in their peers over embarrassments. Males on the other hand, remain mum longer than is necessary. But in time, the majority of us master the art of “being cool.” It comes with age, when re-telling “awkward moment” stories can be fun. Back in our teenage years, many of us were too shy to discuss episodes that left us mortified. But as we grew into adulthood, sharing became easier.

Age makes you more aware, opening the door to becoming more confident. This transition isn’t assured, but most of us make the switch fairly easily.

Now you know. And as an adult going forward, you can now supply your own anecdotal list of embarrassing moments—and smile while doing it.

You’ll be in good company.