Everybody hates awkward situations. They’re embarrassing at best, and outright traumatizing at worst. Not a lot of people know how to deal with awkward situations properly, but socially adept individuals do. If you want to be better at socializing, you will also need to know how to deal with awkward situations.
You will be doing this not only to be better at socializing but to know how to properly react and adapt when it comes to awkward situations. If you’ve ever been in one, then you know how terrible these situations can be. You’ll be doing yourself a big favor in two folds by learning this social skill.
What Causes Awkward Situations?
Awkward situations tend to arise when one or more individuals in a circle aren’t the most socially adept people. The failure to react appropriately in a social situation, more often than not, leads to highly awkward situations. Something as simple as a wrong verbal response can cause an awkward situation. Something like reacting defensively can cause an awkward situation. Saying the wrong thing can cause an awkward situation.
How “awkward” a situation can get is highly dependent on how it is reacted to. Some awkward situations are nothing more than slight hijinks and are best laughed at, while others are just completely uncomfortable, enough to make an entire room fall silent.
In some instances, a situation becomes awkward when it never had to be simply because of how it is reacted to. This can often be attributed to overthinking. The one who caused the awkwardness may react the way they do due to overthinking, which then causes them to react inappropriately and improperly.
At the base of it all, an awkward situation can arise when something inappropriate, improper, or out of place is said or done at any given moment.
Whether you’re the one who caused the situation to be awkward or not, the important thing here now is that you’ll know how to deal with them moving forward. Take note of these 20 ways how to deal with awkward situations. Not only will this allow you to cut awkward situations short but it will also give you an idea of how to avoid them altogether.
How to Deal with Awkward Situations
It will help you, the people around you, and the situation you are in if you’re capable of dealing with awkward situations. It is a staple social skill every socially adept person should have. That said, here are 15 ways to deal with awkward situations.
First of all, it is important to remember that mistakes can and will happen. It can be very inevitable at times. That said, welcome them. Don’t force yourself into avoiding mistakes as this will often only lead to you making mistakes instead.
Forcing yourself to stop making mistakes will cause you to overthink and react to things incorrectly. Your movements and reactions will seem very unnatural and forced. Other people, especially those who are particularly socially adept, will be able to see right through this.
Of course, this isn’t to say you should just allow yourself to make mistakes all the time. What this means is that you should start acknowledging that mistakes can happen. What you should think about is how to rise above them, not avoid them.
Find humor in bleak situations
One of the best ways to deal with awkward situations is to create something funny out of them. For example, if someone fumbles in one way or another, most especially if that someone is you, turn it into a hilarious memory. Make a joke out of it. Laugh out of it. Make the situation and the mood lighter by finding humor in it.
If the one who fumbled and caused the awkward situation is someone else, it is integral to make the situation itself funny while also not making fun of the other person. This can be tricky, but turning the situation on yourself can help with this. You can either shift the subject into something related, but one that diverts the attention to you.
Allow the person who caused the awkward situation to work things out
If an awkward situation that you had no hand in and are not responsible for, it can be best to leave it be and not do anything yet. The other person who caused the awkward situation might be perfectly capable of handling it all by themselves. Allow them to work things out.
What you can do is to provide support instead. Let them lead and be a supporter. If they make a joke, assist in making the situation more humorous. If they apologize, reassure them that it’s okay. Let them know it’s not that big of a deal.
This is what you should do if you start noticing the other person is working on it. Be prepared to provide support then. Don’t jump in from the get-go. Only start making things better if no one else does.
Don’t linger on it
If an awkward situation happens, never linger on it. Acknowledge it, help however you can in alleviating it, then move on. Don’t keep talking about the moment longer than you should. This might just prolong the awkward moment or make it more awkward than it is.
There’s a perfect time for you to do this. You shouldn’t shrug it off that quickly but you also shouldn’t let it go on for too long. After acknowledging it, everyone around you will too. The moment will become lighter and the awkwardness will begin to fade away. Once it does, that’s the perfect time to move on to a different discussion.
The easiest way to help yourself and others around you to deal with awkward moments is to be more empathetic. Empathy allows you to put yourself in the situation of others. Once you’re able to do this, you’ll be able to help others deal with awkward situations much more naturally.
If you yourself caused the awkward situation, being empathetic will also help you see things outwardly. You’ll understand how your actions are making others feel. This will motivate you to make the situation lighter and better.
Being empathetic is easier said than done if this is something that doesn’t come naturally to you. The more you do it, though, the easier it will become. Repetition and consistency are key here. Place yourself in the situation of others every moment you can when listening to their stories, problems, and successes, and you’ll be an empathetic person in no time. Not only will this help you deal with awkward situations better, but it will also make you more socially adept.
Keep the conversation going
One way to avoid awkward situations is to never let the silence simmer. Do your best to keep the conversation going. Apply everything you’ve read thus far. Make the situation lighter, or try to move on to a different subject. The key here is to make sure you’re not drowned in silence long enough that the awkwardness heightens.
While you should heed this advice, you should also keep in mind that you shouldn’t simply fill in the silence with senseless chatter. You might just end up fumbling your words that you make the situation even more awkward. When you do keep the conversation going, make sure that it’s related to the conversation you were already having or related to the current situation.
Don’t be defensive
It’s also vital that you avoid being defensive while faced with an awkward situation. Other people will see this as a mechanism and it will paint you in a bad light. It will make the situation worse instead of better for yourself.
There are a lot of things you can do to make awkward situations better and being defensive isn’t one of them. Just be sure to keep this tip in mind the next time you’re placed in this scenario. As mentioned earlier, just try to make the situation lighthearted. Try to keep the conversation moving. Do whatever you can to make the situation better while completely avoiding being defensive.
Be more positive
It will help you immensely to make awkward situations lighter if you try to become a more positive person. Employ a more positive outlook from here on out and, in time, awkward situations will just become funny to you instead of painful.
Becoming a more positive person will also greatly help you react to awkward moments much more appropriately. You’ll be able to see the funnier and brighter side of every moment, thus not allowing awkward moments to really take over the room.
That said, have a more positive approach towards everything. Whenever you’re faced with an awful situation, try to look for the silver linings. Whenever you’re faced with great situations, be sure to find time to celebrate them. Be more positive and you’ll be happier, and awkward situations will never dull your social moments.
Be mindful of your body language
Your body language can speak so much about what you’re thinking and feeling. If you project weak and vulnerable body language during an awkward situation, people will see through it. They’ll know that the awkward moment has taken over your confidence and, if they’re decent people, they’ll walk on eggshells around you. If they’re terrible people, they’ll use that to make fun of you and make you feel even worse.
Make sure you’re mindful of your body language when an awkward situation arises. Better yet, make sure you’re mindful of your body language no matter what the situation is. This is a skill you’ll need to learn and master. Have control over your body language. Make sure you’re always projecting the body language of someone who’s positive, unaffected, and confident. And speaking of confidence…
Never lose your confidence
You should also never lose your confidence no matter how awkward a situation can get. Awkward moments are terrible confidence breakers and it’s completely understandable if your confidence gets affected by them from time to time. However, if you really want to learn how to deal with awkward situations, your confidence is a great key in doing this.
It can be tough to will yourself into maintaining your sense of confidence, but the more you believe in yourself, the easier it gets. That’s all you need to do. You will need to keep in your mind that your confidence should never be shattered. You will need to believe in yourself enough.
Being positive and accepting the fact that mistakes can happen will help you with this aspect. Try to employ everything you’ll read here and your confidence will rise on its own. You just have to help it out by keeping this aspect in mind all the time.
Learn to laugh at yourself
Aside from being able to find humor in bleak situations, you should also direct this inwardly and learn to laugh at yourself. As already mentioned constantly in this article, you should be able to accept the fact that mistakes can happen. If you somehow make a mistake and you can laugh at yourself because of it, do so. This will make any awkward situation lighter.
It will also make the people around you appreciate you. They’ll see you as someone who’s casual enough to laugh at yourself. They’ll know you’re someone who doesn’t take himself way too seriously, and that’s a great thing. This is the kind of reputation you’re going to want to have if you want to be able to deal with awkward situations properly.
Of course, this isn’t to say you should make a fool of yourself. You should simply learn to laugh at your own mistakes, especially if those mistakes are harmless. Even more especially if that mistake is in the face of an awkward situation.
Surround yourself with understanding people
It’s very hard to be in an awkward situation around understanding people because they will always look at every situation empathically. If someone around them makes a mistake, they’ll immediately understand it because they know mistakes can happen, sometimes inevitably. These are the kinds of individuals you need to surround yourself with.
This is just one way you can make things easier for yourself. You won’t always be surrounded by understanding people, which is why you will still need to learn how to deal with awkward situations on your own. However, you could also always seek them out or you could create a level of understanding within the group you’re in. Be understanding and you’ll attract the same crowd. If not, be understanding and you’ll influence the crowd you’re in.
Never overthink things
Overthinking is a very dangerous habit. Not only should you avoid this to deal with awkward situations, but you should avoid it because it’s very unhealthy for your mental health. Overthinking will cause you to jump to unwarranted conclusions. It will cause you to make ill-advised decisions. It will ruin your social life. Worst of all, it will ruin your happiness.
That said, do your best to avoid overthinking things. During awkward situations, overthinking will cause you to do something that will just make the situation more terrible than it should be. Take it easy. Remember everything you’ve read here thus far.
Keep in mind, this tip isn’t only to deal with awkward moments, it’s also very healthy for your mental health as a whole. Never compromise your mental health by overthinking. Things happen but life goes on. Sometimes, approaches can be as simple as that.
Aside from overthinking, overreacting is another thing you should never do in the face of an awkward situation. Sometimes overreacting is caused by overthinking, which would make this in line with the previous advice. For as long as you avoid doing these two things, moving forward from an awkward situation can be far simpler and more natural.
Show up again
One of the worst things you can do when dealt with an awkward situation is to disappear and never show yourself in front of that group again. Not only will this dampen your social life, but it will ruin your reputation socially speaking. People will believe that you’re the type of person who will simply hide and disappear when faced with a tough situation.
If an awkward situation happens, deal with it by using everything you’ve learned here. If the awkwardness persists, that’s okay. Show up again next time. Don’t let the awkward situation defeat you. A lot of people will decide to never show their face again to a certain group after an awkward situation because it’s too embarrassing. Never let this happen to you.
No matter what happens, make sure you have enough confidence left to show up again. Mistakes can happen. It’s how you rise above them that matters.
Key Social Skills To Have To Deal With Awkward Situations
I’ve already mentioned certain social skills in the list above, but I will reiterate five key social skills you will need to really master if you want to deal with any awkward situations, whether you’re the one who caused them or not.
Being extremely adept at conversations will make any awkward moment futile. Because you’re good at making conversations, carrying them, and driving them forward, you’ll be able to make awkward situations lighter by simply talking about the correct things afterward.
Rational thinking is another social skill that can greatly help when it comes to awkward moments. Being rational will avoid any overthinking, overreacting, and falsely speaking when faced with awkward situations. If you’re someone who can see things rationally, then you’ll understand it can sometimes be difficult to avoid awkward situations and the best thing to do is to move on from them.
Humor is great in almost every social situation, including awkward ones. If you’re able to make any terrible situation flip on its head by being funny, you and everyone around you will feel all the better for it.
Of course, some people are naturally funny while some need to actually learn this trait. Whichever is the case for you, be sure to keep this in mind. Everybody loves a person who can make them laugh. Be that person.
Empathy is one of the most powerful tools you can have if you want to deal with awkward situations properly and if you want to be socially adept. Empathetic people can put themselves in the situation of others, thus they can relate to them better. They can provide more helpful advice. They can react in a way the other person needs to be reacted to. You need to be this kind of person. Awkward situations will never get ahold of you, or any situation you’re in if you’re someone who’s highly empathetic.
Finally, confidence is key when it comes to awkward situations. As long as you’re confident enough, no awkward moment in any way, shape, or form, will ever deter you. With your confidence, you’ll know you’ll be able to bounce back from it. You can remain positive because of it. Your emotions and your actions will never change just because of awkward situations, which means you’ll be able to approach them properly and rationally.
Learn how to be confident and you’ll be able to deal with awkward situations, whether you or someone else caused, no matter where you are, no matter who you’re with.
Improve Your Social Skills to Deal With Awkward Situations
Your social skills have a major effect when it comes to you dealing with awkward situations. That said, aside from using everything you’ve learned here so far, you should also make an effort into improving your overall social skills.
Be a more socially adept person and you’ll be able to deal with any social situation properly, awkward or otherwise. You’ll be able to make friends more easily and you’ll be happier for it.
Now that you’re on this site, be sure to take the time to explore our other articles. Find a social area you’re not very skilled at and learn everything you can about it. Soon, not only will you be able to deal with any awkward situations properly, but you’ll also be able to handle yourself in any social interactions.