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5 Common Responses to Awkwardness (That Make Things Worse)

Apologizing For Something Your Victim Didn't Know About

I blame Hollywood for this picture many of us have of cathartic confessions leading to deeper relationships and all that. Telling someone you thought they were stuck up at first leads to you confessing your love for each other and getting married, and telling someone you never learned to read leads to the breakthrough that makes you renounce your gangster ways and become a Harvard professor or something.


Like in that iconic scene from, um ... Empire Strikes Back? Was it? You know what, I'm not good with movies.

In Hollywood confessions, the listener always gets the right message, which is something along the lines of, "I've changed now!" or, "I'm vulnerable beneath my tough exterior!" In real life, if this is the first time the person hears about the thing you did wrong in the first place, they might be a bit fixated on that before they can listen to your beautiful message of redemption.

It doesn't have to be something as extreme as, "Last year I aborted your baby and never told you, but I've changed my mind, I see how much I've wronged you, and I've made up my mind to be honest with you about everything from now on! Isn't it wonderful?" It might be as simple as, "I'm sorry I was mad at you all afternoon." If the person noticed you were mad, this might be a nice closure that puts an end to the tension, but if they never noticed it's another story.

Getty
"Oh, you didn't notice anything? Then these flowers are for ... uh ... because I love you so much!"

"You were mad?" will be their first thought, and then, "What were you mad at me about?" It's possible you will actually end up having the argument you thought you were having earlier, since apparently they are just catching up to when you first started getting mad. They'll go "You were mad about me playing video games? I thought we agreed I would play two hours a day." And you don't want to bring it up again but you feel like you should explain, so you go, "I know, but we hadn't seen each other all week so I thought you could maybe not play today, but I'm not mad about that anymore ..." but they want to know why you even thought that, so they go, "But it's my two hours, we agreed on it, I don't even know why you would be mad in the first place," and so on.

Superblog 5000 And 1
Relationship obligations aside, I don't even see what the big deal about the new Fallout games is now that you can't aim for people's crotches anymore.

Another common confession is telling someone we didn't like them when we first met, which we think of as a great prelude to talking about how much we value their friendship now. Sometimes it has that effect, but just as often, the reaction is, "Wait, you didn't like me when we met?" This could be a bit of a shock if they thought you really hit it off to begin with.

A lot of friends have told me that I was very cold when I first met them and they thought I hated them. (Quiet people get this a lot.) They told me this to tell me how glad they are that we are friends now, which is sweet and appreciated, but I'm also left with this weight hanging over me because over a period of some months, some friend of mine was hurt and felt bad because of me, and I was blissfully unaware of it. So even though I've discovered my friend really likes me now, I've also discovered that apparently I am a huge jerk.


Another big bombshell might be revealing you're really someone's father like in that movie... I can't put my finger on it. Really big one. Titanic?

I mean, it's a situation-by-situation call, and there's some cases where it might be right to let your loved ones in on something awful you've been doing so they can help you change and all that. Some people love the idea of people butting heads and then falling in love and would be flattered to hear they're in such a story. But this whole knee-jerk reaction to confess anything you feel bad about without thinking about how it affects other people, that's bad news.

Trying to Not Let People Know You Are Pooping

Girls (in general) do not like anyone to be paying attention when they are pooping. There must be some modest guys out there as well, but I do read a lot of proud wacky stories about guys' poop experiences in public restrooms so maybe guys don't care as much. I can tell you that a lot of girls will go to great lengths when they poop in a public restroom to make sure nobody else is in the restroom when they poop, because it is incredibly awkward to be in a silent restroom that is acoustically perfect for broadcasting poop audio in every detail, and know that some lady is quickly packing up in the next stall trying to pretend she doesn't notice.

Getty
This is the last age most girls will feel comfortable pooping in someone else's presence.

In order to poop solo, girls will often check the stalls when they go in, and leave if any are occupied, which creates some minor awkwardness for the people already in the bathroom. They might also just go into a stall, get ready, and wait for the other occupants to finish peeing and leave. This creates some more awkwardness when the other occupants take too long, or dawdle doing their makeup, and new people come in, making the wait even longer.


DAMN YOU ALL!

But probably the most awkward situation is a poo standoff. This occurs when two people have the same idea - to wait out everyone else and then poop. Since each person is waiting for the other person to finish up and leave, after a few minutes it's pretty clear to both people what is going on. Trying to work it out with a conversation - "Okay, so did you want to poop first?" - is probably the most awkward of possible solutions since it involves directly admitting poop is going on, so either one person just goes, "Fuck it," and poops, while rolling the toilet paper loudly to make some cover-up noise, or one person packs it up (flushing in order to pretend they did something) and decides to come back later.

The Japanese (who else) have come up with a technological solution to the problem. The Sound Princess is a gadget that plays a running water sound to drown out your poo (and pee) noises.

Tokyo360.net
The Sound Princess, a very real thing.

Before its invention, Japanese women were just flushing constantly to make that cover-up noise, which wasted a lot of water.

And even the Sound Princess causes its own share of awkwardness as people try to figure out how many button pushes they need to finish the job, and imagine themselves being judged by other people when they get out based on how many times they pushed the button.

Clearly, the only solution to this problem is to outfit all women with one of those suits from Dune.


An end to all awkwardness!

Be sure to check out more from Christina with The 6 (Wrong) Questions Men Love to Ask About Women and 7 Ad Campaigns That Prove Microsoft Was Never Good at This.

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Christina H

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