Melissa Dahl: Many of the time it resembles we sort of have social scripts to follow; you are available in here, you state hello, and after that if something heads out of the regular it shakes us up and makes us feel unpredictable. And there is a long stretch of clinical literature on this going back to the 1960s.
There’s this traditional study where they shocked people with these little electrical shocks and they asked individuals if they preferred shocks when they knew they were coming or if they chose shocks that just came out of nowhere, and individuals would rather understand when the little unpleasant shock was coming.Which appeared interesting to me due to the fact that you would think that the expectation may make it worse, however we like predictability, I think. I believe that is among the factors why it’s interesting that sometimes we call awkwardness uncomfortable or excruciating– it includes an interesting layer to that.So a big part of my”cringe theory”– that’s kind of exactly what I’m calling it– is that there is a distinction– we don’t like to focus on it really much, or I don’t– however there is a distinction often between the way that you see yourself and the way that you think you are providing yourself to the world, and the method that the rest of the world is perceiving you.And something that truly assisted unlock this for me was the idea– it’s practically like a clichéd thing– that individuals dislike the noise of their own voices or people don’t like taking a look at recordings of themselves. In particular, the important things about people hating the noise of their own voices is an excellent example of this because your voice really does sound various to you than the way everyone else is hearing you.So when we hear somebody talk you’re kind of hearing someone
else through the air, however when I’m hearing myself talk I’m hearing myself through the air and through the bones of my own skull, which in fact transmit the noises differently and makes my voice sound lower than it in fact is.So it’s an actually typical complaint, people resemble– they pay attention to their own voices and they’re like, “Oh my gosh it’s a lot higher than I thought it was!”That’s always exactly what I think of when I hear my own voice played back.And I think that this is a main part of my theory about exactly what makes us wince is when the’you ‘you think you exist to the world clashes with the ‘you’ the world is in fact seeing, which makes us uneasy since we prefer to believe that we’re coming off in a certain method and it’s similar to,”Oh no, that’s exactly what you consider me? That’s how you see me? “And I think that’s never ever going to go away. There’s always going to be– there’s this psychologist Philippe Rochat at Emory University who has a name for this, he calls this the”irreconcilable space”. Therefore he actually thinks this, it’s even in the name– it’s never going to disappear, there’s constantly going to be this gap between the method you view yourself and the method others perceive you. And I believe that’s at the heart of what we call awkward moments or awkwardness– sort of that uneasy feeling that you’re flinching at yourself or at someone else.It takes a while but you can begin to train yourself to think about that as a helpful piece of info.
If you aim to negotiate a raise or work out a promo at work or something, it makes us unpleasant when your employer is like,”Oh really I see you in this light. “It’s not something we want to hear.Or if you say something and somebody takes it as an insult, and you didn’t mean it that method however the other individual took
it that way which makes you feel awkward or makes you feel self-conscious or cringe at yourself, you could just inform yourself that the other person’s perception of you doesn’t matter, it’s not real, you understand you, which’s it. But I have actually started to think that it works sometimes to take the other person’s viewpoint into mind.They’re not always right; it would be ridiculous to recommend that other people know you better than you know yourself, however one way I have actually figured out of ways to handle this feeling a little better is to start believing of it as useful info like,”possibly this is a way to start tiptoeing towards becoming this individual that I see myself as, this individual that I want I was.”The unpopular definition of humor is an upended expectation, and that’s exactly what a lot of these awkward humiliating moments are– you
thought something was going to go this method, you believed you were stumbling upon by doing this, and oops no, this other thing occurred, this other individual sees you in a totally various light.And I think if you could begin to think of these moments as a little bit funny it helps, too, and possibly to ultimately turn it into a story you can tell someone
else.I have two ideas about awkward-embracers. I mean I stumbled upon a lot of them and type of made myself do some awkwardness-embracing for the book too. The one that comes to mind is there
‘s this person, Stefan Hofmann, he’s a therapist in Boston and he runs the social stress and anxiety clinic and individuals who have social anxiety feel awkwardness to the extreme, they’re extremely uncomfortable and it really prevents them from living and from a lot of opportunities and a lot of happiness. Therefore his whole therapy is developed around making individuals experience awkwardness, like having individuals think up:’What would be the most humiliating thing I can believe of to do?’and then he resembles,”Great, okay– now go do that.”Therefore he’s had people do things like go into a book shop and ask a clerk,”Excuse me, I’m looking for books about farting.”Or he’s had individuals increase to tables at a restaurant– like at a nice restaurant– and say
,”Excuse me, I am working on my house maid of honor speech. May I practice it for you? “Simply these awful, awful things.And the point is to type of put them through their worst social headaches then have them come out the opposite and resemble”Oh, I made it through. Individuals looked at me unusual however I survived.” And a lot of times it wasn’t as bad as they thought it was. I believe since his whole thing is framing this with humor too– he really desires people to take themselves less seriously, which is, again, simply a lesson I’m constantly having to learn, not to take myself so seriously.And then the other regular monthly routine in putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation is this thing I came throughout called Mortified, which is this performance. It’s all across the nation, all across the world, where individuals get up onstage and check out from their teenage journals. When I initially discovered this, I resembled,”Why ?! Why would anybody do that?!”Then I did it. A great deal of things in the book I practically did just as a stunt like, oh I’ll do this now and it will be amusing. And almost every time I was surprised by how much I got out of it.Like getting up onstage and reading from my middle school journal, it’s– in a weird method you would think that getting up there and checking out a few of the most awkward things you have actually ever believed would end up making you feel truly alone and actually separated and actually foolish, however it wound up making me feel truly weirdly connected to everybody else who has actually been in the show and everybody in the audience. It’s a comedy show, and so it’s done out of compassion, however it’s also actually amusing. And when you get to a line where you read something that you composed as a really angsty 12 years of age and it makes everyone laugh it feels great, since a great deal of times individuals laugh since they recognize themselves in you. And so if they’re recognizing themselves in you then you’re not alone– your humiliating things, they do not need to separate you. I wound up getting, from this entire awkwardness deep study, this common mankind ambiance I was not anticipating.