Note: If you happen to be a socially awkward person by nature, read on friend.
Let’s face it. You’ve all experienced an awkward encounter on or around campus at some point in your post-secondary life. Whether it be passing by that prof who failed you last semester in the halls, spotting that TA who you happen to have the hots for on your bus, bumping into that vaguely familiar person whom you may or may not have graduated with in high school, or getting sucked in by those invasive on-campus sales reps who get all up in your grill in hopes of trying to persuade you to buy or sign up for something from their kiosk. I know I’ve had my fair share of these inevitably awkward moments. So, being an expert in this department, I felt obliged to share some tips for all you awkward people out there.
Earphones on, World off.
Nothing says “leave me alone” like plugging in your earphones and blocking out anyone and everyone around you. If people see that you’re too busy grooving to your jam or bobbing your head to your favourite tune, chances are, they will not bother you. Whipping out the nearest book or your laptop and proceeding to engross yourself in either activity works pretty well too.
Avoid Eye Contact
My rule of thumb is the following: If you and the other person do not make eye contact, it is okay to ignore them. However, the second you two share a stare, you *must* acknowledge that person’s existence in some way (albeit through a head nod, smirk, abrupt wave, or by simply mouthing the word “Hey”) or else you will be considered a snob to that person from that point on. And you wouldn’t want that to happen, now would you.
Sleep (or at least pretend to)
This is especially helpful if you are on the bus (unless you couldn’t score a seat and are standing up, then this might just make you look like a mummy). If the person who you are trying to avoid is within close proximity to you, close your eyes and sleep away the awkwardness. Think of it as killing two birds with one stone; not only are you evading an awkward moment — you get to gain some valuable beauty sleep too! If you plan on executing this strategy, just make sure you don’t end up on this site. (Be careful where you snooze!)
Fake-A-Call (there’s an app for that)
Do you foresee a potentially uncomfortable and unnecessary catch-up sesh underway? Take out your phone immediately and turn on your personal schizophrenic button, pronto. Be sure that your phone is on silent, though. You wouldn’t want your ringtone to sound at the worst possible time. That could make things uber awkward.
BRB (I’m not really going anywhere, but neither is this conversation)
Alas, if you find yourself failing miserably at the suggested tactics to avoid awkward moments as mentioned above and come face to face with the person whom you were trying so hard to elude, the best thing you can do at this point is to be as friendly and as pleasant as possible. But please try not to resort to the topic of weather unless you really have nothing better to talk about.
Once you feel like you two have interacted for a long enough time, make some lame excuse (ie: “I’ve gotta get to class”) and slowly walk away.
Well, my fellow awkward turtles, these are the best I’ve got. I can’t say they’ve all worked flawlessly but, for the most part, they’ve helped me stay away from awkward situations. Results may vary, of course, depending on how awkward you and the other person are.
Do you have any ‘emergency tactics’ which have helped you dodge an awkward moment that you would like to share?