Have you ever thought someone was waving at you when he or she actually wasn’t? Have you face-planted in public? So have we. When these sort of awkward situations arise, you can always pretend they didn’t happened and move on with your life. Or, you can test out our advice on how to deal with the many awkward (and inevitable) encounters you surely have as a student at UC Berkeley.
Waving at someone you think is looking at you but isn’t. We’ve all done it. You see someone you know looking right at you from across Sproul. “Oh hey!” You wave and smile, thinking, “I’m so popular.” Then you look closer and realize that the person you waved at is now smiling at you uncomfortably. You turn around and see someone else — someone much cooler than you — whom the first person was actually waving at. When caught in this situation, try dancing away uncomfortably. This will distract both people involved in the situation, confusing them to the point that they forget the initial awkward situation, as you’ve replaced it with a brand-new one.
Tripping over Berkeley’s uneven sidewalks. The average Cal student trips at least four times a day. And although that is a fake statistic, we’re almost 100 percent sure it’s true (also a made-up statistic). When you casually trip over something invisible and people around you see, do not ignore the trip. Instead, recognize that you tripped, laugh at your trip and invite others to join in on your laughter.
Having mental breakdowns in public. Being a UC Berkeley student comes with some inevitable stress. And eventually, that stress may boil over into a full-on breakdown that involves crying and complaining (and, later, ice cream). If you’re really lucky, this breakdown will happen to you in public! If you have a stress breakdown at the library in the midst of a hellish week of midterms, just sit down, let yourself cry, complain, yell … and then just breathe. Sometimes you just have to let yourself have the breakdown to move on with your life and continue studying. If you see anyone else having a stress breakdown, try asking if he or she needs anything, or just offer a hug! It may seem socially unacceptable to ask a random person to hug you, but the worst that can happen is the person rejects your hug. And usually, if that person is extremely stressed, a hug is the best possible solution.
Running into someone you definitely know and completely forgetting his or her name. It happens. In this situation, you can always ask the person for his or her name, but if you want to be more strategic, you can try to not use his or her name at all. Try using the word “you” or substituting in terms of endearment for the person’s name. Try calling that person “boo.” For example, “Hey, boo!” or “What’s up, boo?” Said person will think that you really like them or he or she might just be confused enough to let it slide.
Walking next to someone who is singing or dancing solo in public. We have a very artistic and free-spirited student body, so you are bound to run into some people who will be busting out cool dance moves or channeling their inner Celine Dions. These situations are pretty difficult to assess in terms of figuring out how to react. Instead of standing there awkwardly and pretending to ignore the obvious dancing or singing, try joining in! Bust out your own dance moves and show the person what you’ve got — maybe even have a dance-off! And if you know the lyrics to the song he or she is singing, turn that solo into a duet.
Contact Gabrielle Nguyen at [email protected]