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How To Stop Feeling Awkward Around Your Friends

So you've managed to make a few new friends... 

But every time you go out with them or get online with them, you get overloaded with this insane awkward feeling inside. 

Your conversations fizzle out into drawn-out moments of silence...

You can't stop making random weird noises with your mouth as you talk...

And you fear they all notice your weirdness and are now judging you as socially inept and boring.

How can you stop feeling so weird around people and instead become that funny, charismatic person everyone loves being around?

My personal experience with awkwardness

I used to struggle badly with social anxiety, so I am intimately familiar with that awkward feeling.

But then I began to use awkwardness as a tool... Like a litmus test to pinpoint opportunities for improving my social skills. 

My internal feeling of awkwardness became a cue to be more curious about life. Allowing me to inspect my ongoing experience for lessons I could learn to help make myself socially better.

And as I grew more curious about my social experiences, I began to feel less anxious about them. I became more excited about pushing myself outside my comfort zone. And this meant I could take more social risks and prevent my social life from stagnating.

What does this have to do with you?

The truth is that building rapport with people is a big part of success in many aspects of life. And the more you can use your internal feeling of awkwardness as a tool as I have done, the more effective you would become at building rapport.

Finding the GOLD in awkwardness

As it turns out, the answer to breaking free from the feeling of awkwardness lies in awkwardness itself.

With the right know-how, you can use that vulnerable feeling as a tool to boost your self-confidence.

And all you have to do to achieve this is...

1. Know how to remain confident after saying or doing something stupid.

2. Know how to handle awkward silent moments without looking desperate.

3. Know how to make your friends value you without looking big-headed.

How can you do this practically?

Let me show you how...

How to remain confident after saying or doing something stupid

You know that feeling when you're about to make a mistake? 

Like there's a big, fat, stupid piece of tape over your mouth to keep you quiet because you are about to say something that sounds so silly that you can almost feel everyone in the room glaring at you funny.... 

Well, this was how I often felt until I did something totally bizarre...

At the time, my norm was to get bombarded with thoughts like...

What if I mess up, and make a fool of myself? What if they ask a question and I panic? What if... What if...

Then, one day, during my mental health nurse training, I realized that my worst fear was that I did not want people to perceive me as weird. 

So, I decided…

“You know what, I’ll actually go out and be weird.” 

“Yeah! let the worst happen.” I thought.

So, I slowly pushed myself out there purposefully allowing myself to make mistakes till my fears started to subside. 

Then I stepped it up a notch and did the unbelievable in front of this beautiful girl.

She was a stranger I had just met.

I looked straight into her eyes... opened my mouth to speak to her... and spoke rubbish, jumbled up words.

She looked at me slightly queerly, smiled with a nod, then walked away.

And as soon as that happened, I felt a rush of joy...

VICTORY! I shouted silently.

Because no one came rushing at me to cart me off to the psych ward. 

I can honestly say that my feelings of awkwardness have turned into a place of safe, calm, wonder and growth since doing this one thing.

Back to you...

How can you use this fear of making mistakes to win in your social experience practically?

  1. Remember that a world without mistakes is a world without progress. Yes, we live in a world that celebrates perfection.  We celebrate the perfect dress, the perfect speech, and the perfect accomplishment. But we forget that our lives are all made up of imperfections. And the faster you can get comfortable with your imperfections, the quicker you'll get adept at socializing. So...
  2. Test your fears out. Expose yourself to see if saying the wrong things will indeed produce the catastrophes you imagine.
  3. Start off doing this in baby steps and then as your confidence grows, gradually take on the more formidable social challenges. 

Let's go on to the next problem...

How to handle awkward silent moments without looking desperate

If you're like me, the chances are that you want to be the type of person others can trust and feel comfortable around. But between meeting someone new, or just speaking to someone you've met a few times before, there are those awkward silent moments when both you and the other person won't know what to say next. 

And you don't want to look silly or offend the other person by saying the wrong thing.

Ironically...

Awkward silent moments used to be my worst nightmares when I first started running live webinars. 

I would get thirsty; my throat would dry up, but I would keep talking really, really fast, non-stop without even taking a breath.  I mean, where was I rushing to?

But you see, I believed in my mind, that going silent, even for a few seconds, would make people think...

“He's not confident in himself…  He doesn't even know what to say… So, he is not really worth listening to...” And because of this, I felt like going silent was too big a risk to take.

Then I started watching videos of people who have presented webinars for years and noticed something extraordinary.

They all regularly had very long silences in their speech.

I started to copy this, and to my surprise, the silences helped me think more clearly about what to say next, and I began to appear more confident and professional in my video playbacks.

Now over to you...

What to do when your conversation fizzles out, and you can't find anything to say


  1. Remember that a brief moment of silence (anything from 3 to 6 seconds) is totally normal.  And the truth is that you look more anxious when you don't allow these silent moments.
  2. Acknowledge your discomfort and embrace the thinking space by using the silence to look around for something you are experiencing together with the person.  This discussion topic could be anything, like the type of shoe they are wearing, to the sound of the bird that just flew by.
  3. Then try saying one thing at a time, adding on as the conversation progresses.
  4. Finally, practice small talk and improv skills to magnify your confidence in handling those silent moments. 

Moving on...

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How to make your friends value you without looking big-headed

Do you often feel awkward because you believe people won't like what you like... 

They won't like your opinions, your choices, your stories, your jokes. They won't like anything you tell them about yourself.

And even if they act like they love what you bring to the conversation, You think they are just pretending.

This was precisely how Magenta (not real name), a former client of mine felt.

She would go out of her way to sacrifice her opinions, desires and wishes for her friends. She didn't want them to think of her as a selfish person. So she would let her friends choose, the films to watch, the parties to attend, the types of clothes to wear.  She did this even if she didn't want those choices.

But what was the outcome of always sacrificing her wishes and opinions like this?

We discovered that although It was nice to be thoughtful of other people, Sacrificing her opinions and desires undermined her value to those same friends.

And the result...

Magenta could never tell if her friends liked her for being herself. She always felt indebted to her friends for keeping her around them.  This outcome left Magenta with no sense of value and purpose for herself.

And as a result, she was stuck with a constant low-level background feeling of depression.

But worse...

Magenta's unbalanced self-sacrificing tendency created a giant trap. She attracted loads of users and abuser into her life.  People who beat down her self-worth surrounded her. And this caused her to feel even more awkward in her skin. 

Now, back to you.

If you can relate, It is time to change this self-destructive way of living. 

How can you do this?

How to increase your self-worth whilst boosting your value to your friends

  1.  Remember that you end up with a much more empty life when you always sacrifice your desires for others. Because the truth is that more sincere people on earth are not looking for someone who is continually trying to impress them. Instead, they want someone genuine and authentic.
  2. Target 50/50. If you have spent most of your life being overly self-sacrificial. The prospects of changing this will be daunting for you because there are way too many unknowns. Like, will you lose all your friends if you started demanding that they do things your way?
  3. If you usually give in to people 10 out of ten times, first practice asking them to do things your way 1 out of 10 times. Then over a few months gradually increase this till you hit 5 out of ten times.

The slow increase gives you time to build your confidence as you gradually see that people love you for being you. 

Interestingly, this process will also weed out all the selfish people from your life. This weeding out happens because the only reason users and abusers stayed around was that you were easy to boss around. And now that this is no longer possible, they tend to sizzle away like the snakes they are.

Finally, remember that...

Your awkwardness is a gift.

Here's the bottom line...

Your awkwardness is telling you something important about yourself. It is showing you how to improve your life. So please don't ignore the message.

Yeah, it doesn't feel great to focus on it but becoming fully mindful of your awkward feelings like this is a necessary mindset shift... 

Because usually when you're feeling awkward, you're so focused on thinking thoughts like...

 "Can everyone see my awkwardness? Do they think I am weird? Will they reject me?" 

But the more you think like this,  the more you create a feedback loop that makes you act more awkward for the world to see.

Instead of doing this, Change that thinking to... 

"Okay, I'm feeling awkward. But that's because I'm pushing my boundary.  I am in an uncomfortable scenario that's out of my comfort zone."

"So this awkward feeling is the right feeling for me to experience at this very moment. Instead of fretting, let me use this opportunity to learn from awkwardness and grab this golden moment to become a better version of me."

Written by Adewale Ademuyiwa
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