3 ways to get out of an awkward situation with dignity

Starting to hiccup on public transport, tearing up your pants in a busy place, opening the toilet door and finding that someone is already there, confusing a pregnant girl with just overweight – all this is terribly embarrassing. Now imagine how something from this list also happens in the circle of colleagues with whom you will then have to work. Any of these oversights can seriously damage the reputation.

An awkward situation makes us feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. But it is not all that bad. If you look at it from an unexpected angle, you can understand that it can bring a lot of benefits.

Susan David

Lecturer in Psychology at Harvard University.

Embarrassment and awkwardness are emotions that we experience in relation to other people when we make a mistake or behave inappropriately for social norms and standards accepted in society. Emotions that are associated with shame and guilt are often viewed as negative when in fact they are not.

The Positives of Awkward Situations

1. Increasing the level of trust

People who get into uncomfortable situations and feel embarrassed and embarrassed because of it will have a much greater credibility just because they care about the impression they make on others . There is also a high probability that their embarrassment will be forgiven and forgotten much faster than the embarrassment of a person who is indifferent to the opinions of others.

2. Preliminary preparation for difficult life situations

Imagine that you have to tell a future client about your product. To make a good impression, you will try to prepare as best as possible and think over the answers to all the tricky questions in advance.

Potentially possible pitfalls encourage us to try harder so as not to lose face at a crucial moment.

After you get into awkward situations and come out of them with dignity, you become more resilient and more prepared for the difficulties that may someday come in your life. Situations involving embarrassment and embarrassment can be considered excellent training, which builds character in many ways.

3. Broadcast core values

Awkward situations serve as a kind of social regulators. With their help, people understand what behavior is acceptable in a normal society, and what is not. Such situations are meant to maintain order and shed light on the things that really matter to us: caring for others, being attentive to loved ones, and being interested in making a good impression.

Three Ways to Help You Deal with Awkwardness

Most of us consciously try not to get into awkward situations, but no one is immune from them. Here are a few things you can do to ease the awkwardness.

1. Treat the situation with humor

The most common patterns of behavior of people in awkward situations are as follows:

  • to take a back seat and try to hush everything up imperceptibly;
  • courageously take the hit and try to work things out.

The advice is: don’t try to hide what’s already happened. Everyone already noticed that you screwed up anyway. What’s the point in denying everything? The best thing you can do in such a situation is to treat it with humor.

Show that you are not afraid to laugh at yourself . In this way, you will demonstrate to others your courage and self-confidence. You can even say something like, “Wow, how awkward I am!” To minimize the tension that has arisen.

2. Control your emotions

Tips like “don’t be nervous”, “cool down” and “relax” seem rather banal, but they are no less effective for that.

A curious and revealing experiment was being conducted at the University of Western Ontario. Participants were asked to recall situations they were ashamed of and situations that evoked pleasant emotions. After that, they were offered a choice of hot and cold drinks.

People who recalled embarrassing situations mostly chose cold drinks. This is due to the natural reaction of the body to situations that make us feel uncomfortable: we are thrown into a fever, our face is flushed, we want to somehow cool down.

Emotions and our body temperature are closely related. If you find yourself in a situation that is out of control, try to calm down and not make it worse.

3. Forgive yourself

It is necessary to learn to overcome difficulties . This is the price we pay for being imperfect but normal people.

Leslie Shore


If you are often embarrassed, then try at least once to overcome yourself and observe the reaction of others. Do they laugh amiably and look at you sympathetically? Instead of hiding your eyes, apologize and laugh at yourself with them.

Having made a mistake, you should not torture yourself endlessly. You need to practice self-compassion and self-forgiveness. When you acknowledge that you, like everyone else, are not perfect, it will help you let go of the situation and say goodbye to the past.

We hope these simple ways to overcome embarrassment will help you at least a little.

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