Uncomfortable social situations are the worst-minor blunders can leave you embarrassed and feeling socially inadequate.
A few simple tricks can help you avoid the most common mistakes and boost your self-esteem and social prowess at the same time.
The Name Game
You walk into a meeting and say, “Hey, Larry, how are you?” to which he replies, “Okuhle, and actually, it’s Harry.”
We’ve all had moments where we’ve experienced this sort of interaction and it’s never pleasant.
To help prevent this, be sure to pay close attention when someone new is being introduced. If you happen to miss the name in the introduction, seize that moment to ask again.
Don’t guess; you may not get it right and this will just lead to confusion later on.
To help reinforce your memory, say the name in your head a few times. Ngaphezu kwalokho, make an association with the person’s name and a relevant connection-something they are wearing, their occupation or the surroundings you’re in.
If the person is wearing a purple dress and you’ve named them “Purple Patty,” don’t worry, you don’t need to share that with anyone else. If all else fails, admit your forgetfulness, blame it on a busy day and ask again. Just be sure and remember this time!
Body of Work
We are all human and sometimes cannot control the internal functions of our body.
Nokho, there are small things we can do to help us get through the day.
For unavoidable bodily functions like gas, a remedy that is discreet and easy, like refreshing peppermint or cinnamon-flavored Gas-XÆ Thin Strips™, can be kept in a bag, drawer or someplace close by and can offer you fast-acting relief from the embarrassment and physical discomfort of gas.
Futhi, fresh breath is key, so make sure to keep a supply of gum and mints in that same nearby location. This can be helpful after lunch or when a co-worker with unfresh breath stops by for the weekly meeting. Both you and your odorous guest will appreciate your supply.
Get Me Outta Here
Sonke ukukwenza. You’ve accepted an invitation, you show up and within the hour, you are certain you want to leave. How do you leave gracefully?
It’s important to say good-bye and thank you when the host isn’t surrounded by guests. Thank them again for the invitation and let them know you enjoyed your time, but must be going.
If you are off to another engagement or have early plans the next day, feel free to include that, but don’t give away too much information and dig yourself into an unnecessary hole.
You may also want to mention another time you two will get together, but if you are unsure, a brief and gracious good-bye is always welcome. Politely say good-bye to the other guests and leave quietly.
Awkward social situations are a part of life, but many can result in a funny story or even a new, unexpected friendship.
The most important thing to remember is to be yourself, roll with the punches and, if all else fails, just laugh at the situation. We’ve all been there and someone is sure to be sympathetic when you can laugh at your own mistakes.
A discreet supply of breath mints, gas remedies and other quick fixes can be a lifesaver in both social and work situations.