Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Surviving an Awkward Situation

Weddings always force me to re-evaluate my position and path in life. Often, if you know the bride and groom really well, you probably know the vast majority of the wedding guests pretty well too. And, if you are out of school, chances are you haven't seen these people in months or even years....so it's only natural to be concerned with how slick you look in a tuxedo.

I'm the idiot on the left, thinking that big cameras were cool at a wedding...

Now, I know you're stunned by the awesome I'm sporting right now, but if you look deep into my thoughtful gaze, you'll see a mind that's going a mile a minute. These are people I haven't seen in months, and they weren't there for the crazy and turbulent times that I've had since graduation. Most didn't know that I almost died in a car accident, or that I was actually doing something in my field of work (for some reason, that's unheard of for a film person).

It's not that they don't care as much as they just weren't there. They all had lives to live, and the college lifestyle often doesn't change from year to year. You could pluck the kids out of the bunch who were in school versus the ones who weren't...the difference is astounding. I didn't feel like I belonged anymore, that I was with a group of strangers. Thank God I'm a world traveler, right?

If traveling has taught me anything, it's how to be comfortable in a group of strangers. Not just the I'm just here to get through the day comfortable, but legitimately breaking the ice and feeling as if I belonged there all along.

You have to, because 99% of the time abroad you will be out of your comfort zone. You'll know maybe 1 or 2 souls, and if you're going to enjoy yourself at all you better start making friends. Best part is....after being out of your comfort zone for so long, you'll naturally start doing this. It's sink or swim, and nothing is worse than being 6,000 miles away and feeling all alone.

At this wedding, I had never felt so uncomfortable in a group of friends before. I recognized these people, but I didn't know them like I use to. I felt lonely, and it only took me a moment of distress to kick my personality into travel mode. Needless to say, I was able to turn an awkward weekend into a great memory to enjoy for years to come (cue Eve 6 music).

Now if you're as lazy as I am, you kinda want a list of advice for turning any awkward situation around. I know what you want, and lucky for you I spent the weekend creating a list on how to survive your next awkward situation. Next time you're traveling to far away places, or you're at a new job in an office full of strangers, or at a wedding feeling all weird and out of place, remember this blog. Print this out, pull it out of your pocket, read it, and man up. Oh, and tell your friends how blogging's making a comeback and refer them this way :)

And now.....

How to Survive an Awkward Situation
  • Looks are everything when it comes to first impressions, so dress to kill
  • Pack light. You don't need that stuff...it's your security blanket.
  • Call mom, but only once. Her voice will remind you that home's not as far away as it seems.
  • Money isn't that important, so stop stressing over how much your spending. The memories are always worth it.
  • Dance often and dance hard. People will be jealous of your skills and courage.
  • Be unique. They won't remember the polite, reserved one. They'll remember the kid dancing with the vuvuzela.
  • Say what you need to say, and say it often. Chances are you won't see most of these people again, so let that girl know how much you like her knee-high boots.
  • Laugh till it hurts. Laughing subliminally tells people that you're better than they are, and they'll talk to you to find out why.
  • Put the beer down. 'Liquid courage' is code for 'looking like a creep'
  • Be the last one to leave. You'll collect a scrapbook of last looks....just in case you really don't see these people again.
The biggest myth in the world is the idea that friendships are dependent on the time spent with each other. I don't clock-in when I go to the bars with my buddies and clock-out when I pass out on their couch. Friendships can be made in an hour at an airport bar and can last forever even if you never see them again. It's all about the impression you make while you're with them. That's what really counts. It's like a money-back guarantee: if I never see these people again, they are guaranteed to have the awesome memory of the last time they saw me.

My travels have blessed me with countless friends because I was able to break out of my shell, stop being proper and start being awesome. People are attracted to awesome...no matter where you go. So, what's your excuse for doing anything else?

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