The Four Stages of Awkward

This post is going to be…well… awkward.  Now this is really awkward.  If some of you are still hung over from International Question Day (what else would you be hung over from), questions may still be popping in to your head.  If one of your questions was “Why is it four stages of awkward,” I will actually answer your question now.  Ten cool points to you.  There are basically four different types of awkward.  But wait a second, the title for this post is clearly four stages and not types.  If there are four types, why did I not title my post this?  Well for that, please enjoy my introduction and proceeding lecture on… THE FOUR STAGES OF AWKWARD!!!!

Welcome.  Awkward is not just the act of doing something awkward known as the act but the overall moment it creates, permeating through those around you also known as the audience.  It is the full awkward moment.  My theory is that each of these awkward moments can contain just one type of awkward or it can flow through the other types as though through stages. There are four different types of awkward.  While some scientists include other types, the different types are accidental, friendly, creepy, and intentional.  Each awkward moment is not a cycle and does not have to include each of these types but can include any of them based upon the audience and the act.  Please use these following stages as only a rough guide of the awkward moments that occur in your life.

  • Accidental- This is the type of awkward that happens when you are not planning on doing something awkward.  Anyone who has graduated from high school and walked to accept their diploma is familiar with this type of awkward.  Remember when you were nervous about walking along that stage and suddenly tripping on the edges of your graduation gown.  This was you fearing an accidental awkward moment, a moment that happens organically that leaves people wondering whether they should laugh or cry for you.
  • Friendly- Sometimes awkward is endearing.  This type of awkward can also be known as funny or innocent.  This is the type of awkward that it is okay to laugh at.  This is like when your friend says something while in an elevator with a senior member at your office that causes the senior member to grimace.  While kind of tense in that initial instance, it leads to great laughter and reminiscing afterwards.  Many times moments that are not even awkward can be turned in to a funny or innocent awkward moment by someone simply saying the word awkward.  Please consider the following example:
      • Bobby:  Hi Jim,  how was your weekend?
      • Jim: It was a great weekend
      • Craig: …awkward…

This moment was not actually awkward but was turned in to a friendly awkward moment when Craig said, “Awkward.”

  • Creepy- This type of awkward is like the hungry eyes guy from the M and M commercial.  This is the type of awkward that runs a chill down your spine and just makes you want to leave the situation.  The best example I have of this is when you are riding on the metro to work and you realize that the homeless person on your train is just staring you down.  You try to ignore them but they just keep looking at you.  While this type of creepy is normally considered the most evil type of awkward, it can also be kind of endearing.  For instance, the kid in Hey, Arnold! that only breathed through his nose and always appeared directly behind Helga.  He was creepy, but in a cute, squeeze him and pinch his cheeks kind of way.  However if he was sitting on my bed when I came home from a movie, not that would be too creepy for even a cartoon to make adorable.
  • Intentional- Back home my friends used to play a game called Nervous.  The game was played by the guys in the group primarily.  It involved two friends placing their hands on each other’s knees and basically seeing how got nervous first.  This is a great example of an intentional awkward moment, specifically doing something that you know my make someone feel uncomfortable.

Any of these different types of awkward can be done together and a moment can start out as one type of awkward and quickly turn in to another.  A moment could start out as intentionally awkward between friends.  This moment is also probably a friendly moment.  But then it could turn creepy if one friend decides to push that awkward moment too far.  Sometimes when one person does something awkward intentionally another person does something accidentally.  If I rub a friend’s shoulder awkwardly but then they knock over an elderly man trying to cross the street, my intentional awkward moment led to an accidental awkward moment that probably caused some people to laugh and others to silently moan.

Now for homework:  Even though National Awkward Day is complete, take a look at some acts I have listed below.  Think about what types of awkward this would cause.  If you get stumped, try a couple of them out and gauge the reactions around you.  Enjoy!

  1. Go to a church with chairs and not pews although this could work with pews but would be much more uncomfortable. Sit on the chair backwards and just stare at the person behind you for the whole service. It’s a church. What can they do?
  2. Planking on a crowded metro train.
  3. When you have your hand on the railing on the train and then someone else places their hand on yours but refuses to move it.
  4. Someone stands creepily close to someone in line at a grocery store
  5. Go to the meat counter and ask for five pounds of vegetarian sausage
  6. Wearing your dress shirt inside out to work
  7. For a guy, wearing a “world’s greatest mom” tie and for a girl, just wearing a tie… just kidding… kind of…
  8. Allowing people with any points on their record apply to be bus drivers.  Looking at you DC metro.
  9. When in line at Target or Walmart, the person in front of you mumbles about your significant other being at work and it being so hard to find good baby sitters for when you need to do some shopping.  Then asks the cashier if they can hurry it up because they cannot remember if they left the car windows open a crack or not… awkward…  Public Service Announcement: While in this example no children were actually left in a car to achieve an awkward moment, parents please make sure you take your children with you.  The occasional cup of coffee on the roof of your car may be forgotten but I feel like a full person in your back seat should not be that hard to miss.
  10. Go to a restaurant with stools on the counter top.  When the person next to you orders, tell the waiter/waitress to bring two sets of silverware so that you can share.
  11. Telling someone while messaging that you will “BRB” and then disappearing for hours.
  12. Sending your ex significant other a message meant for your new significant other.
  13. Picking your friends up but when you turn on the cd player Like a Virgin blasts through your speakers
  14. Jump on your friend’s Facebook when they step away from their computer and send a relationship request to that girl on your softball team he has never even spoken with.  Watch him awkwardly try to weasel out of that scenario.
  15. In your best man’s speech at your friend’s wedding, accidentally mention that you bet the maid of honor 20 bucks that they wouldn’t stayed married for over a year and you could really use the money.
  16. Randomly raise both your hands while seated on a crowded bus and keep it raised for an uncomfortable amount of time.
  17. As suggested by D, not giving any signals that you need to get off the metro at your stop and then hurriedly try to jump over the person sitting next to you at the last minute.
  18. Go to an empty movie theater and sit right next to the only other person in the theater.  Extra points if that person you sit next to is on a first date.
  19. After visiting a friend’s bathroom, mention to them that you think their toothbrush bristles are a little too firm and they should consider getting a softer one.
  20. Just keep smiling all day long no matter what happens.
  21. Enjoying an American Pie movie marathon with your parents and grandma.
  22. Noticing a masterpiece of random people’s pictures connected by brightly colored string and random words pieces of paper with giant words like “COOKIE MONSTER” written on it that your friend forgot to pull the curtain over before you came over to visit.

For more awkward moments, visit this awkward site.  If you do nothing else from my blog, check this out as it is sure to kill at least an hour of your day.

As if that long post was not enough, I also whipped together a Pillsbury Doughboy inspired recipe.  Since this post is a bit long already, I will post the full recipe tomorrow in my post.  But please enjoy this picture of the finished product: Chocolate Fudge Brownies.  I will be bringing these in to work.  While supplies last and to make this more fun for me,  I will not be advertising that I have the brownies but anyone that mentions my blog will receive a piece of the final product.  Happy Birthday Pillsbury Doughboy!

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