Feeling awkward is part of life. It’s not a part of life we all necessarily enjoy but it’s always there, waiting for us. Feeling a sense of awkwardness is often something that isn’t welcomed or pursued and there are more ways than ever to avoid it. We don’t like it when we get caught off guard by something that we don’t expect an we want to control our lives as much as possible.
Technology has played a bit part is helping us stay away from awkwardness. If you don’t want a stranger talking to you just throw in your headphones. If you don’t know the number that’s coming up on your caller ID then don’t answer it. If you’re going to flake out and not doing something you said you were going to then simply send a text message so you don’t have to call. If you don’t have certain beliefs then don’t ever go to a website or watch a TV station that thinks something different. There are plenty of ways to avoid the awkwardness in life but I’m not sure that’s the best thing for us.
I’ve come to realize that sometimes the awkwardness is necessary and that we shouldn’t always try to avoid it. The older I get the more structured my life becomes and the less awkward I tend to feel day-to-day. I get in the groove of my job and the people I see and the things that I do. I tend to move towards optimizing my life in a way that keeps the awkward away as much as possible. This isn’t how I want to live and I’m starting to understand the positive role of awkwardness in my life.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot and have come to realize just how valuable it is to make my way through the awkward to find the good stuff on the other side. There’s this incredible amount of value in sticking through something even though initially it feels a little uncomfortable. This is usually the feeling when trying out new things like my Muay Thai class that I felt really awkward at. It’s a feeling you get when you first start working out and getting in shape. It’s also a feeling you get when talking to random people for the first time. But after you see them again and again consistently pretty soon that awkwardness goes away and before you know it you have yourself a new friend.
I guess all I’m saying is that I feel like we should all understand (and even embrace) awkward just a little bit better than we do now. Who knows what great things might happen if you can make your way through it.