How to Get Out of Awkward Situations
Awkward situations can be uncomfortable and stressful when you don’t know how to handle them. Everyone deals with this at some point in their life, and knowing ways to get out of an awkward situation is a good skill to have in life. Whether you’re dealing with an awkward conversation, a bad date, or you’ve accidentally insulted someone, you can work your way out of it by staying calm, having an exit plan, or using humor.
Leaving an Awkward Conversation
Wait for a lull in the conversation.Conversations naturally have times where they drop off or have a lull in them. Typically this is when a new topic starts if you want to keep the conversation going, but it’s also the perfect time to take the steps to end the conversation. Use transition words like so, anyway, or well to begin to say goodbye.
Summarize key points of the conversation.Before leaving the conversation, it’s nice to restate some key points of the conversation to let the other person know you were listening. By doing this you also signal to the other person that you are ready for the conversation to end. Try saying something like, “It was really nice talking to you. I didn’t know you were interested in sci fi too! It’s awesome that we have the same favorite movie!”
Give a reason you have to leave.Make one final comment about the topic you’re talking about, and then follow it up with your reason for having to leave. The reason doesn’t have to necessarily be true, but it needs to be believable and urgent enough for you to have to leave.
- For example, if you’re talking about a book, you can say, “Wow, I don’t remember that in the book. I’ll have to read it again. Well, it was great running into you, but I have to go. I’m late to pick up my friend from work. Have a great afternoon!”
Introduce the person to someone else if you can’t leave.If you are at a party and you don’t want to or can’t leave, you can get out of the conversation by introducing the person to someone else. Find someone you know, and call them over to meet the person you’re talking to. After the introduction, kindly excuse yourself to go to the restroom or get more refreshments.
- Think of a common interest the two people have to start the introduction. For example, you can introduce someone by saying, “Here’s my friend Matt. You two have so much in common! He was also the quarterback of his high school’s football team.”
Dealing with Accidentally Insulting Someone
Make a joke out of the situation.Turn the unintentional slight into something you can laugh about by following the comment with a joke.
- Saying “Just kidding! Can you imagine if that were true? Wow!” can help you to play it off and brush aside the comment
- Add some levity by saying something like "one of my many talents is knowing the perfect thing to say to anyone in any situation" and laughing.
Turn the insult on yourself.Tell the person you accidentally insulted that you were just kidding and the comment was more of a personal statement about yourself. Someone is more likely to let it go if you say that you were actually being honest about yourself and didn’t mean the comment about the other person.
- If you insult someone's looks, make up a story that turns your comment into a personal narrative. "I have always been self conscious about my looks, so I sometimes project onto others.
Confront the situation honestly.Let the person know that you didn't mean to insult them and apologize honestly for the slight. Admit your mistake in insulting the person and try to wrap the comment with a compliment.
- If you insulted the person by pointing out something that you don’t like about the person, be honest about it. Say something like, “I’m sorry that I hurt you. I just think sometimes you wear too much perfume to work. Maybe I just have a really sensitive sense of smell. I really like your outfit though! You have the best wardrobe, where do you shop?”
- If you sent an email to the wrong person, apologize and say that the message was meant for someone else, but that you really shouldn’t have said the comment at all.
Recovering From AutoCorrect Mistakes
Respond to the situation quickly.If your phone autocorrects your text message into something embarrassing or insulting, you need to send a new message as soon as possible to inform the recipient of the mistake. If you wait too long, the recipient might think you meant to type the text as it is. Send a new message apologizing for the mistake.
Laugh it off.People today know that most phones use autocorrect software, so when you accidentally send a message that doesn’t say what you meant to say, most people will understand the mistake. Make a joke of the faux pas by texting something about the mistake right after.
- Text “LOL. My phone apparently thinks differently than I do.”
Consider turning off autocorrect.Most phones will give you the option to turn off the autocorrect software. If you turn off autocorrect, it might take you longer to type out a text message, and you still might misspell words, but you will know you’re sending a message you meant to type. Some phones will underline misspelled words for you so you can fix them on your own.
- Check your phone’s user’s manual to find out how you can turn off your autocorrect software.
Dealing with a Bad Date
Change the subject.If your date is continuously talking about topics you aren’t interested in or that bore you, try changing the subject. Make a general comment about the topic your date is talking about or making a joke, and then introduce a new topic.
- Say something like, “Wow, that’s neat that you’re so passionate about cats! One of my big passions is soccer. I play every weekend, and I always have a huge party to watch the World Cup. Have you ever played soccer?”
- Make a joke like, “Oh Mr. Accountant, don’t bore me with financials! I want to hear about what you do for fun!”
Claim a curfew.Curfews don’t have to be just for high school. Even as an adult, you can claim you have to be home by a certain time because you have a busy day the next day or you need to get home to your pet. Claiming a curfew will relieve you from the possibility of the date lasting too long.
- You can tell your date about your curfew early in the night and then if it starts going bad, remind your date you have to get home. However, if the date is going really well, you can also say you’re willing to stay out late tonight because you’re having such a great time.
Fake an important phone call.It’s a good idea to have a friend call you during a date so you can use it as an excuse to leave. Make plans to have a friend call you 30 or 40 minutes after the date begins and make sure your phone’s ringer is turned on so you hear the call. If the date’s going bad, answer the call and say something like,“Oh no! I’ll be right there!” and then hang up. Be prepared to tell your date why you have to leave, and politely excuse yourself from the date.
- Tell you date that you forgot to pick up your friend’s child from school.
- Let your date know that your dog got out and you have to go pick him up from a neighbor.
Pretend to be sick.A fake sickness is a good reason to have to leave a date. Excuse yourself to the bathroom and spend about 10 minutes in there. Wipe your face and hairline with a wet paper towel and come out holding your stomach. Inform your date that you aren’t feeling well and that you’re going to go home.
- You can leave some cash to help pay for the date if you want to be nice.
- Leave quickly so your date doesn’t offer to help you home.
Forgetting Someone’s Name
Claim a brain fog.If you forget someone’s name but you need to introduce the person to your friend, you can be completely honest and claim you have a brain fog. Apologize for forgetting the person’s name and then say your brain is so foggy from dealing with all the appointments you have that day.
- Most people understand that a busy schedule and stress can make your brain foggy, so using this as the reason you’ve forgotten someone’s name is a legitimate reason.
Introduce a friend to the person.If you’ve forgotten someone’s name, a good way to get the person to say it is to introduce a friend of yours. Find a friend nearby and say, “Hey, I’d like to introduce you to my friend.” Say your friend’s name first and then wait to have the other person finish the introduction.
- For example say, “I’d like to introduce you to my friend Katie Gellar”, and the person should respond by saying something like, “Hi Katie, My name is Melanie Smith”.
Ask them for their contact information.You can find out the name of a person by getting the person’s contact information. You can ask the person to put the information in your cell phone, and then glance at the new contact listing before putting your phone away. Another way to find out the person’s name is to ask for the person’s business card. Many people carry business cards with them which include their name and contact information. Tell the person you want to keep in touch and ask for a business card.
- Ask the person to spell their name to make sure you get it right.
QuestionWhat do I do when I'm put in a place or left alone with someone I'm not that close too and it's just silent?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerUse it as an opportunity to practice your conversation skills. Ask open-ended, general questions, such as, "So, have you seen any good movies lately?" or, "Anything exciting going on this weekend?" Chances are, the other person will take the conversational bait, as he or she is feeling just as awkward and uncomfortable as you are.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I turn someone down without hurting their feelings?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSay something along the lines of "I really like you, just not in that way.". Remember, you can't control what they feel towards your rejection, you can only lessen the blow.Thanks!
QuestionWhat happens when I see someone I haven't talked to in a while?Top AnswererSay hello, ask them how their life has been since you last talked. Ask questions. The best thing you need to know about how to talk to someone is: people love to talk about themselves. Get them talking.Thanks!
- Be honest as much as possible. It’s always better to be honest in all situations, but if you have to tell a little white lie to get out of an awkward situation, just make sure it is with good reason.
- Don’t let an awkward situation get you down. Know that everyone ends up in an awkward situation at some point in their life, so it’s not the end of the world when it happens. Let the moment happen and then let it go. You will look back someday and laugh at the situation.
- Set up a game plan for an exit strategy before going on a date or to a party. If you need to get out of an awkward situation, you’ll already know what to do.
- There are some apps you can put on your phone that will call your phone for you when you open the app. You could download one of these apps and have it ready for whatever awkward situation comes up.
- Awkward situations can cause you to feel very anxious. If you start feeling anxious, the situation will feel more awkward. Try taking a few deep breaths to give yourself a moment to think about how to get out of the situation.
- Lies can get you into trouble. If you chose to use a lie to get out of an awkward situation, know that the person you lie to might find out. If the person finds out you’ve lied, you might lose that person as a friend.
- If you truly feel trapped in an uncomfortable situation, you can always just get up and leave with no explanation. You should immediately leave any situation where you feel you’re going to be harmed.
Video: HOW TO GET OUT OF AWKWARD SITUATIONS!!
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