How to Stop Having an Awkward Moment

As soon as you’re about to fall asleep and fall into blissful unconsciousness, you are amazed at the moment when you said or did something completely wrong in high school (or during a job interview or in any other social setting). For some reason, the memories haunt you, not wanting to sink into the depths of your memory.

On a Reddit thread, users shared awkward moments that often prevented them from falling asleep at night, playing over and over in their heads as if they were constantly jumbled.

“Back in high school, I was preparing for a big discussion,” writes u / theenkrypt of her semi- traumatic experience. “… I was nervous, but from practice I knew that as soon as I go on stage and start talking, everything will become easier and everything will go smoothly. So I go to the microphone, clear my throat and say, “Welcome, dalies and mentlegen.”

Here’s a moment from u / mr_basketcase from a similar Reddit thread : “When I first installed [] the Facebook app on my phone, I was looking for my classmate. Instead of typing it into the search bar, I posted her name as a public status on my wall. I figured it out after about five minutes when I was about to log out. My chest still hurts at the thought of it. “

Why do we tend to have our worst moments when our chest hurts? Well, maybe this awkward moment wasn’t as bad as you thought, and being able to ponder it again will put it into perspective. Or, as Cut writes, it is triggered by something in your environment that reminds you of this exact moment, and not because of some deeper need to revise it. However, it can be very distracting when you least need it.

My obsessive awkward moment happened during my college internship interview. Since I came in early for the interview, the hiring manager very politely asked me to sit outside the room while they finish the staff meeting. As I rummaged through my backpack looking for a copy of my resume, it, along with my cover letter and a lot of homework, fell and somehow slipped perfectly under the door in front of me – as if to tell the entire staff of this company that I was tired of waiting, and I a sign of protest stuffed everything I had under the door. As you can imagine, from what I heard, the meeting was very quiet and I was thinking about leaving the interview altogether. (I didn’t take it, but I didn’t take the internship either.)

If you don’t want to relive those moments of, well, dali and mentlegen, this is probably easier said than done, but below are a few tricks you can use to possibly stop them.

Think about it for a while or about boring details.

First, as Leah Beckmann wrote for Jezebel , there is a seven-second approach; it takes exactly seven seconds to cringe and then release. In any case, it’s likely that the other parties involved have probably thought about it for less than seven seconds. This is a good way not to overwhelm what is bothering you, and also not to dwell on it unnecessarily. Take a few minutes to get rid of the discomfort and move on as much as possible.

Then there is the exact opposite approach. Think of the useless details surrounding the event, as Cut writes. For example, if the moment that makes you cringe has to do with some mistake in your happy hour conversation at the office, think about your drinking or conversations that night that weren’t awkward. This will help reduce the negative emotions that may be associated with the experience, and you can be distracted long enough to forget about it. And the next time you think about it, it might be a little less.

If that fails, here’s a strategy that can help you contextualize your mistakes. On Reddit, u / allenthalbenn suggests thinking about the last big mistake you saw someone else . “It’s actually quite difficult to answer,” they write. “People don’t tend to remember / worry about what other unpleasant or embarrassing things are doing because they are so preoccupied with their own lives.”

And if something does come to mind, chances are the error isn’t that big of a problem in your eyes (barring some extreme errors of judgment). However, it should help you become less critical of yourself in situations like this. And if you need it, here’s how to deal with the occasional mistake, embarrassing or not, and the importance of practicing self-compassion.


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