Have you ever said goodbye to someone, only to discover that you’re both walking in the same direction? Or had your next thought fly out of your brain in the middle of a presentation? Or accidentally liked an old photo on someone’s Instagram or Facebook, thus revealing yourself to be a creepy social media stalker?
Melissa Dahl, New York magazine’s “Science of Us” editor, has experienced all of those awkward situations, and many more. Now she offers a thoughtful, original take on what it really means to feel awkward. She invites you to follow her into all sorts of mortifying moments, drawing on personal experience and in-depth psychological research to answer questions you’ve probably pondered at some point, such as:
* Why are situations without clear rules most likely to turn awkward?
* Are people really judging us as harshly as we think they are?
* Does anyone ever truly outgrow their awkward teenage self?
If you can learn to tolerate life’s most awkward situations — networking, difficult conversations, hearing the sound of your own terrible voice — your awkwardness can be a secret weapon to making better, more memorable impressions. When everyone else is pretending to have it under control, you can be a little braver and grow a little bigger.