How to stop being awkward

Ellie Tanko, Opnion Editor

As he rereads over the menu for the fourth time, practicing his order, he chokes on his water. As I attempt to contain my laughter, his eyes rapidly divert towards the bronze name tag upon my chest. After a valiant effort of trying to order, he tries to casually use my name, but ends up calling me Eli. While walking back to the kitchen to place his order, I couldn’t help but giggle at the endearing, SNL-worthy interaction I just encountered. Suddenly, I’m ambushed from behind. With overbounding excitement, two of my coworkers barely get out the words, “BEN. HIGGINS. THE BACHELOR.” 

Let me spell this out for you: we are all awkward people. From your siblings to your teachers to maybe even the BACHELOR, everyone can get a little bit weird when it comes to conversing. 

As one brilliant man once said, “Well, my stomach aches and my palms just got sweaty. Must be a high school.” With that brilliant man being the infamous Shrek, you can see even your idols have had severely uncomfortable moments in their lives. 

And I know it sucks. That feeling. The feeling like you’re inside of your own head screaming at yourself for saying a dumb thing. Nagging thoughts used to spiral through my mind telling me just about everything I said was cringy. And for a long time, I believed them. But then one day, I got out of it. Sometimes it seems like there’s no way out and you’ll never escape your middle school self. 

There are a few ways out, however. It seems a little cliché, but smile. When something awkward happens, laugh. Instead of writhing within a puddle of insecurity or jumping into the pool of gossip, make your life an adventure and start conversing like there’s no tomorrow. Skip the small talk. Dive into random or maybe even deep questions. Meet someone new every single day, or if you’re too shy for that, try learning one new thing every day about someone you thought you already knew.

Most importantly, don’t you dare turn mean. Unfortunately, it is quite common for some of the most awkward, anxious people to become some of the most obnoxious, rude, self-centered individuals. In my world, there is no one more pathetic. While picking yourself up, don’t push other people down to get to a supposedly higher elevation. 

Although it seems like everyone else has it all together, it wouldn’t take running into a shy Bachelor contestant to tell you that’s far from the truth. Hold your head high and speak with confidence. Instead of looking around, look up. Trust the Big Man upstairs and understand it’s okay to feel lost, uncomfortable, queasy, insecure, scared or just plain awkward. In all honesty, we’re all a little awkward. 

Ellie Tanko 

Opinion Editor