“You can’t pretend yourself away”
Technically, there are no awkward situations, instead there are just situations. When people perceive a situation to be awkward, it is because they had a motive prior to the situation. Having a motive would typically entail engaging in a false persona to control the situation. An example would be a conversation with a group of people, whom you are trying to impress.
People who struggle with social anxiety, will often ask for advice on how to deal with stalled conversations, which they find awkward. The solution, I will often say, is to appreciate the stalled conversation and accept it for what it is.
Unconditional Acceptance of Self
The stalled conversation is merely a natural and logical outcome of a conversation between two of more people that has paused, or run its course. If you find yourself worrying about the flow of a conversation, you should ask yourself what your true intentions are.
What this means, is that you should always thrive to be genuine with yourself and others. This is because if you are intent of being genuine, you will be concerned with communicating as opposed to the flow of the conversation. With communicating, you are concerned with connecting to others whom are like minded, versus simply looking to impress others.
From a place of true acceptance, your initial communication with a person or group would be to vet for compatibility. Therefore, a prolonged stalled conversation would mean that your compatibility with the person or group is low. Which is not a bad thing.
Communicating Versus Conversation
To communicate, means sharing thoughts and ideas with others. To converse means to go through a social ritual for the purpose of maintain or increasing social status. Mind you, this is my definition of the two terms. When it comes to getting our needs of acceptance and recognition met, it is pretty much instinctual to get this need met through external validation from others. When people give into this instinct, they fall into the trap of monitoring how conversations are going between they and others.
The response to getting your needs of acceptance and recognition met is to practice self acceptance. This involves taking inventory of your strengths and weakness pertaining to your character and accepting them. This does not mean that by accepting your weaknesses that you don’t thrive to improve upon your weaknesses.
Another aspect towards practicing self acceptance is seeking to connect with others who are like minded. This means that your communication with others serves two purposes, first it serves to vet if you are talking to like minded people, secondly it serves to help improve your bonding with like minded others.
This does not mean, that you become mentally rigid or close minded about meeting new people. Instead, by practicing the courage to being a more genuine version of yourself, you increase the chances of meeting and connecting with more people.
Ugo Uche is a psychotherapist and expert in anxiety and related disorders. If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to call and book your first appointment or fill out my contact form and click Send.
Ugo also provides Online therapy for those who cannot travel to his office.