Dublin: 10 °C Friday 3 February, 2023
# Awkward
6 impossible dilemmas for the socially awkward Irish
These are the worst.

ALL YOU AWKWARD people out there dealing with these impossible situations every day – we get you.

Do other nations have better ways of doing this?

1. When someone holds the door when you’re slightly too far away

Abigael Abigael

A: Panic, run awkwardly towards them, and very possibly drop several items of whatever you’re carrying.

B: Panic and stroll towards them at an unchanged pace, worrying every second about how rude you’re being.

Either way, spend the next few minutes agonising about how you could have handled it better.

2. When somebody offers to pay for the tea (or whatever)

orsorama orsorama

Are they secretly hoping you’ll decline, and will be offended if you accept too quickly? Or are they genuinely offering, and will be offended if you decline? AAAAAAARGHHHH.

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3. When you are asked a question just after taking a big mouthful of dinner

KaiChanVong KaiChanVong

Do you chew at your normal pace, in the knowledge that everyone else at the table is staring at you while you move your jaws in an endless, cow-like mulching motion? Or do you desperately attempt to swallow the bolus of food before time, risking death by choking (not to mention more embarrassment).


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4. When someone you know a bit is walking just a short way ahead of you

Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

You face the impossible dilemma: whether to

A: accost them awkwardly from behind in the knowledge that they will initially assume you’re a mugger, or

B: continue walking behind them, with the risk that they turn around and see you following them like some kind of socially incapable stalker

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5. When the big goodbye goes horribly wrong

Shutterstock Shutterstock

And you discover you’re walking in the same direction after all. Do you:

A: Tough it out by laughing nervously and saying ‘Oh, we’re going the same way!’ in an unnaturally bright tone. Then face an unknown period making inane conversation to fill the silence until you can turn down a side street with your honour intact.

B: Attempt to speed up so much that you don’t end up walking beside them, as if you’re just in a massive hurry and haven’t seen them, even though you know they know you have.

C: Change direction at the last minute. (The nuclear option.)

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6. And worst of all, when you see someone you slightly know coming towards you on the street

Photocall Photocall

Nightmare. Do you:

A: Wave and say hi, but pass by

B: Stop and chat

C: Try and tough it out by pretending you haven’t seen them

D: A combination of A, B and C, re-evaluated moment by moment based on what you think they’re doing, that will probably end up in both of you smiling awkwardly, walking all the way past one another, turning round to see if the other one is turning round, then having a conversation that nobody wants and that ends in insincere pledge to ‘go for a pint sometime’.

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Feel free to add your own favourite impossible social dilemmas in the comments…

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