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Home » Effective Communication Skills, Good Social Skills, Most Recent Articles, Today's Feature Article

That’s Awkward

by Mark K Johnson

A friend of mine shared a conflict she was having with a co-worker recently and she asked for my advice. It was a pretty cut and dry situation, it appeared that the co-worker used the word “babe” a lot when referencing my client. I am sure that the co-worker, was not intentionally trying to belittle her, however, to my client it came off as condescending.

The rub was that she really liked this person, but this particular quirk really bugged her.

So, I suggested she invite her out for coffee, start with the good news, “I really like you and think you are super fun to work with!” Then tell her that you might be over-reacting or even reading into things (let her know that you don’t assume you are all right, and she is all wrong), but I have noticed that you like to call me “babe” a lot. I know it is probably not a big deal to many, but to me, and because of the way I grew up, it comes off as condescending. Could we come up with a different term of endearment for me? ”

When I said this, I got a raised eyebrow and a bit of an Elvis lip curl, and then she said, “That’s awkward!”

The client in question is 27 years old, has a good career, seems to generally work well with others, but this is not the first time I have heard her use the term, “That’s awkward!”

So, I said, “You know you say that quite a bit.”

She said, “I say what quite a bit?”

“That’s awkward,” I answered, smiling.

She replied with a half laugh, “Well, that’s because a lot of stuff is awkward!”

The Oxford Dictionary defines awkward as “causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience.” I realized that day what my friend, and a number of individuals in her generation, mean when they say, “That’s awkward.” It means that the situation warranting the moniker has the potential of being embarrassing or possibly inconvenient. Given that description much of life these days is, indeed, awkward.

However, the problem, it seems, is “that’s awkward” has become the excuse to avoid any sort of confrontation.

Perhaps all of that confrontational energy is relegated to Facebook posts or online fervor. Have we lost the art of sitting down with the people in our lives and lovingly telling them the truth? It could even be sitting across from someone to tell them how wonderful they are, for too many people in the millennial generation, that is also an awkward conversation.

Our present day anxiety about hard conversations is a commentary on our society as a whole. I know I sound like the old guy, but we have lost the art of constructive, face-to-face conversation, let alone criticism. The result is a very thin-skinned generation, who has little regard for feeling the sting of the hard truth. I remember one of the hard and wonderful truths that I learned when I was in a treatment facility in Anaheim, California, for addiction in 1990. I realized that every-time I learned something about myself that was difficult to deal with (for example, my propensity for narcissism, co-dependence, or any other significant flaw in my character), if I had the temerity to acknowledge it and realize that no one was to blame for it but me, I grew as a person. It gave me a greater sense of compassion for others and myself.

For those 30 days that I was in attendance, it got to the place where I sought out the pain of this kind of realization, because of the profound effect it had on me. This was a wonderful gift for me, who had previously always been a guy who avoided conflict at all costs. I have a personal understanding of the why behind the statement, “That’s awkward.” However, that hardly excuses its overuse.

This generation has attempted to make fear of confrontation somehow acceptable with one Elvis lip and a “That’s awkward.” I have contended many times in previous writings that to truly experience God we must experience one another. I believe that statement to be quite orthodox. So, if everything is “awkward,” then we miss out on not only the wonderful stuff that happens when we connect with another person, we also miss an opportunity to experience God!

No matter your age or generational attachment, I invite you to buck the hipster attitude and have the awkward conversations, they often tend to lead to the best stuff life can hand you!

Continue the conversation! Email me at reimagineyourfaith@gmail.com.
Mark K. Johnson EzineArticles.com: That’s Awkward


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