How to Properly Handle Awkward Situations

Learn the best 3 ways to handle an awkward situation that is heading south fast!

Richie Frieman
3-minute read
Episode #152

Call me crazy but I love awkward situations. You know, when you get caught in the slow elevator with your boss and you stand next to each other in awkward silence the whole ride, or that moment when your coworker realizes she wasn’t invited to last night’s happy hour. 

How to Properly Handle Awkward Situations

I’ve touched on office life in a bunch of articles, including “How to Deal with Annoying Coworkers,” and this article will help you navigate awkward situations at work, but also in the outside world as well. So with that, here are my top three tips for properly handling an awkward situation.

Tip #1:  Distract Yourself

Okay, so avoidance may not be the most mature answer but when it comes to dealing with being a part of an awkward situation, it’s every man and woman for themselves.

A friend of mine was recently out to lunch with coworkers when one of his fellow employees started in on a story about a recent trip to his in-law’s house. What was a casual lunch soon turned into an “in-law bashing brouhaha” filled with more rants and raves than a Charlie Sheen podcast.  My friend said that he was surprised when not only did no one react negatively to the coworker’s rant, but others joined in. So, what did my friend do? He did the grown-up thing and acted as if he was distracted.

Lucky for my friend they were at a bar with a giant big screen TV showing a soccer game. As soon as he heard the comment, he quickly looked around, hoping others would share his shock, but when no one reacted, he just turned his head to towards the TV and didn’t take his eyes off of it. He looked so focused on the game that no one tried to get him to join the conversation.

That, as I said before, may not be the most mature thing, but then again, neither is talking rudely about your family members in front of others. So, when in doubt, find the nearest form of distraction and focus in like you were just being told the secret to life.