How To Minimize Being Awkward (With 10 Helpful Tips!)

Here’s some not-so-awkward advice to being not so awkward.

In the fall of 2011, I began hearing, “Do you know who you remind me of?” much more frequently than my usual once or twice per every few months. Each time, I’d feign cluelessness. I’d just bat my stubby eyelashes and prepare to give an Oscar-worthy performance, despite almost being able to see my supposed doppelgänger beaming back at me in their eyes.

“There’s this show called New Girl, and oh my goodness, you ARE the main girl!”

Now, let me just say, I am beyond flattered to ever be compared physically to Zooey Deschanel. She is effortlessly beautiful, and to even be told, “Hey, you have a nose/chin/ear lobe like Zooey Deschanel,” would be an undeserved compliment. However, when I kept hearing those same words over and over, and over again, I had to tune in to see what we had in common besides bangs, porcelain complexions, and a propensity for sundresses.

And quickly, I found my answer. She’s awkward. Adorable, sure, but the mayor of awkward city. And considering I just used the phrase awkward city, yes, it is a fair comparison. In the pilot episode of New Girl, Deschanel’s character, Jess, confesses, “Also, I like to sing to myself a lot…” And then proceeds to sing the words, “a lot.” In that moment, my mom turned to me, eyes wide, jaw dropped, and shouted, “Dear God, she’s you.”

I’m not THAT bad, right? (*sings* riiiiight?!?) But seeing as being adorkable is spreading faster than hash tags on Facebook (seriously, can we not? #stop), I thought I’d share my top tips to stay in an acceptably awkward range and not venture into weird, talks-to-his-hand-during-Anatomy-class kid.

1. When screenshotting one of your crushes profile pictures to text your friend, (and then two more, a third, oh, and don’t forget that one photo he was tagged in at the beach where you can see that he obviously works out, but doesn’t overdo it because everyone knows you hate those beefy, meathead types) GO BACK AND DELETE THE EVIDENCE. Because when you’ve finally mustered the courage to invite him to a party with you and after downing a few shots of Captain, insist on Instagrammin’ the night, scroll too far back and he will see you have saved a photo of him and his mother on Christmas. It’s hard to come back from that one.

2. While I fully support the liberal use of emojis that are completely random and make no sense within the current conversation, do not get flustered after sending the eggplant one to your strictly platonic male friend, assuming he will think that is your way of asking to see his eggplant. Simply let the emoji be and do not follow it up with a text that says, “Sometimes, an eggplant is just an eggplant. No, really. I’m not referencing your penis or anything.”

3. When the bartender jokingly says your ID must be fake (because let’s be honest, you are newly legal and still look like you’re in middle school), don’t respond with, “My secret anti-aging serum just works so well. Baby foreskin, that’s the trick.” Because although it was obscenely bizarre and funny in your head, this man is a complete stranger and now thinks you circumcise babies for skincare.

4. When you’re getting intimate with someone for the first time and he says, “tell me what you want,” don’t respond with, “a 401k plan.” He is hard, has been waiting to fuck you for 2 months, and doesn’t need to know just yet that you don’t have an off switch for your quirk-o-meter. Just tell him you like it doggy-style or something. Wait until you’ve slept together a few times before making jokes during foreplay.

5. Stop making jokes during foreplay.

6. When the handy man walks in on you practicing some Coyote Ugly-esque dance moves, nervously laugh, maybe mumble an apology, and shrug it off. Do not begin explaining to him that you are only doing that because your boyfriend is in the Army, he’ll be coming home soon for a few weeks, and you wanted to surprise him with something both sensual and indicative of how much you love him. You do not need to make up an excuse or justify your behavior to this man you’ve met once. You can grind on your chair to The Pussycat Dolls all you want in the privacy of your own house. You also don’t have a boyfriend.

7. When you’ve been holding hands with someone for a significant period of time and your palms start getting sweaty and clammy, just go ahead and let go for a bit, allowing them to air off. Don’t toss around words like apocrine and eccrine. You sound pretentious and neurotic at the same time. Plus, if he’s going to stick around, he’ll soon discover you have WebMD bookmarked anyways.

8. For the love of all that is good and holy, stop saying, “Ruh-Ro.” You are not a cartoon Great Dane.

9. You ramble when you get nervous. That’s okay. What is not okay is to ramble for 15 minutes about how much you ramble. Don’t worry, it’s pretty clear already.

10. Accept that while you aren’t a vixen, temptress, or about to land a spot on any list put out by Maxim anytime soon, if Zooey Deschanel can make a career out of being awkward, damn it, you can embrace it too.

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

Keep up with Ari on Instagram and Amazon