“It’s Only Awkward if You Make” it is a mantra that my friends and I have used since college. I believe it grew from something I used to tell myself, “it all depends on how you carry yourself,” when I needed to feel confident in a situation I did not. We used “It’s Only Awkward if you Make it” to combat the awkwardness we should have felt after getting drunk and making out with our male friends and parties (because we were super classy). However, we still repeat this to ourselves, and each other, pretty constantly.
I tell myself this every time I think I say something stupid to a new friend. I told you about sticking my foot in my mouth a couple of weeks ago. I bet many of you thought to yourself, I’m not sure why Lara is so stressed about this, it doesn’t really seem like a big deal. I have a tendency to fixate and worry about having said the wrong things in certain situations. I worry about unintentionally insulting people by being careless with my words.
What I’ve realized though, is that, unless I point out these “awkward” things to people, usually they don’t notice. I actually hate it when people draw attention to their own awkwardness by saying things like, “I can’t believe I just said that, I’m so sorry!” or “That was so weird, I can’t believe I said that.” Usually I had not noticed the slight and, by the other person pointing it out, I drown in their awkwardness while trying to keep my head above my own.
And then there’s my friend, who is testing the theory by getting drunk and having inappropriate conversations with coworkers and then pretending they never happened. She seems to be getting away with a lot of stuff (some of which she barely remembers herself the next day, so…). Either way, she sets the tone for the conversation. Even if her coworker does want to discuss “what happened,” she can find away to make it an easier conversation that it would be if she was willing to give into the awkward.
I do think that “It’s Only Awkward if You Make it” is overall a good way to exist in the world. It helps you set the tone for the conversations and doesn’t force the person you’re talking to analyze things that don’t need to be analyzed. Sure, sometimes its hard to ignore all those feelings of “what have I done?” but remembering that you have just as much control over the meaning of a conversation as the person you’re talking to.