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Tidbit of the Day
I listened to another episode of The Art of Likeability, Episode 174: Start Any Conversation with this Effectively Awkward Technique. I love the practical tips you get from this podcast and will be deep diving for more. Who doesn't want to be liked?! In this episode, he suggests that you break up an awkward social situation by meeting the awkwardness head-on and making it the start of your conversation.
Sitting in the middle of an awkward party, tell the attendees how awkward you are in these situations and whether they have any good conversation starters to break the ice or do they feel awkward like you. Addressing the elephant in room shrinks the elephant and makes it a stuffie. =) I love this idea! Throwing yourself towards awkwardness rather than away from it makes good sense as often others are feeling the same way.
I tried it out tonight on our dinner conversation as one of my children is tired of our theme of conversation being the shelter we all volunteer at all the time. As a way of listening to their needs, I have been attempting to introduce completely random facts at the table, and tonight, I dived in by asking them how they would handle an awkward social situation and then went into detail about the podcast episode. It was met with crickets, and then some interrogator-type questioning about what awkward situation I would be putting them in. They suspected I was setting them up for some event. This technique is not worth trying with your family. It only makes a comfortable situation awkward.
My son and I took a magical walk yesterday with the dogs. Lizzie, our white beagle/jack Russell cross was certainly enthusiastic, and my son was lamenting choosing a collar over a harness. This was her second walk of the day so we figured she'd be tired. She was not. Minnie who had been quiet and lethargic was my reason for getting them outside. I wanted to observe a little life in her. She too became more enthusiastic as our walk progressed. We did eventually realize the reason for the glee. They sensed salmon spawning season sooner than we did.
The walk opened onto a viewing platform where you could see eagles and salmon in their last days in the shallows. The weather was crisp and cold, but seeing my son come alive and show curiosity with some suggestions for more walks made my day. There has always been magic in my world when I can see the world through my children’s eyes. As they get older, it just gets better. They have criticisms, outrage, and opinions. They feel strongly about how the world should be and isn’t. It gives me hope when I see them so thoughtfully engaged. When they were young, it was all about delight and questions. Nowadays, it’s me with the questions and delight with a dash of more wisdom…I’m sure my children would have an opinion on that.
Today, I had an unexpected experience regarding one of my children. One of the core reasons I undertook this challenge is because I firmly believe that gossip, oversharing, and negativity come from a place of being unsettled within myself. I’ve been reading the book Silence – The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise by Thicht Nhat Hah, a Buddhist monk. Much of the book has highlighted how what I am putting into this world is a direct correlation to my inner health. If I was really honest even doing this challenge means that my inner health is not in a good way…too many inhalations of chocolate and not enough green smoothies. I can make any analogy relate back to food.
Anyway back to my son, I came to the table today and happened upon a gift…two Mr. Big chocolate bars. This gift touched me because not only do I love chocolate in the form of Mr. Big, I also had exclaimed my disappointment on Halloween night that my favorite Halloween bar had already been taken by our mass of trick or treaters. The gift on the table just symbolized to me how good it felt to be listened to in those little nothings, and not only listened to but heard.
This moment just highlights for me the importance of listening and that good listening is as or more important than positive conversation skills. This topic just takes me deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole, and it’s so much fun!
What is an awkward situation for you? One big one for me is parties. When I turned 41, I let myself off the hook and now refuse to go to these gatherings where the only person who knows everyone is the host. Do you think facing an awkward situation makes you grow or makes you anxious and is not worth the days in recovery time?
Resources for Further Digging
Quote I Am Loving
We spend a lot of time looking for happiness when the world right around us is full of wonder. To be alive and walk on the Earth is a miracle, and yet most of us are running as if there were some better place to get to.
– Thich Nhat Hanh