SOCIAL INTERACTIONS ARE not always easy.
In fact, sometimes they’re downright tricky.
At their worst, they are deeply uncomfortable, and it’s those scenarios we’re examining this evening.
Here are eleven of the world’s most awkward social situations.
Meeting someone you kind of know on the bus
If you’re lucky you can avoid this one by spotting the person first and studiously ‘missing them’ before sitting down away from them with your headphones in. That way you can do a quick ‘hi’ as you pass each other getting off the bus and everyone can get on with their lives.
If you’re not lucky, you’re forced to make small talk for the duration of the journey. Sometimes you can see the pain in their eyes, and know that neither of you wants to be in the situation.
Other times, they are loving it and fire question after question at you.
Both scenarios are deeply unpleasant.
The friend of a friend date
Occasionally a friend of a friend will take a shine to you and suggest you meet up on your own.
Sometimes, this is wonderful and signals the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Other times, it means you have to either avoid their invitations until they become offended and stop or else bite the bullet and go for coffee/a drink/lunch.
If it’s the latter, you are potentially setting yourself up for a series of awkward meet-ups during which you both act out the roles of friendship but feel nothing but awkwardness.
Seeing someone you know from Twitter but not real life
Banter is easy on Twitter. You’ve got loads of time to come up with exactly the right witty response, and you get to choose to interact with people only when they’re talking about something you’re interested in.
When you bump into people you’ve had sterling banter with on Twitter in real life, however, it’s trickier.
First of all, you have to decide whether to even acknowledge them (you should). Then you have to remember what you have in common. Alas, sometimes the Twitter banter (or Twanter) does not translate to real life.
Meeting someone you know you know but you have no idea where from
Externally: ‘Oh heeeeeeeeeeeey! How are you? God, it’s been ages!’
Internally: ‘Crap, crap, crap, I have no idea how I know you…’
Arriving at an event on your own and realising none of your friends are there yet
Your eyes scan the room hopefully. Once. Twice. The third time is slightly panicked. Then you realise, you’re on your own.
What will you do? Who will you talk to?
To the toilet!
Going over to talk to someone only to find they’re in the middle of an in depth conversation
In the worst cases, the person you want to talk to is someone you admire. You hope they’ll wrap it up and include you, but sometimes they don’t.
Sometimes you have to hover. And sometimes you hover for ages and are then forced to walk away.
That’s the real walk of shame.
Passing someone you kind of know on the street
You’ve got two options. You can stop for a chat or say a quick ‘Hi’ and keep walking.
If you both go the quick ‘Hi’ route, you’re in luck.
If one of you goes for the ‘Hi’ and one stops, you’re in trouble.
If you both stop for the chat, you’re risking…
You’ve stopped for a chat. It’s fine. You catch up, exchange pleasantries, and the conversation should be coming to its natural end, but no one knows how to end it.
That moment of hesitation when there’s nothing left to say, but you’re still standing there is deeply awkward. Bite the bullet and say goodbye.
Waving at someone only to find they weren’t waving at you
Often exacerbated by the waver mouthing words in your direction. It’s usually when you’re halfway through your response that you realise they were talking to the person behind you.
A sex scene in the film you’re watching with your parents
It is during these moments that you realise that you will never truly be an adult in the company of your creators.
The kiss/hug/handshake mix-up
You go for a kiss, they go for a handshake, the whole thing is a mess.
This is only beaten by the cheek kiss mix-up which occurs when you move in the wrong direction and wind up kissing on or near the lips.