One of my favorite activities is breaking awkward silences. I’m always “that girl” in class that talks before the professor arrives. It’s usually a pointless topic, just talking to talk. Sometimes, I address the awkwardness, which is just more awkward. Why is it that addressing awkwardness is awkward? How many times will I use the word “awkward” in this post?
Merriam-Webster Online defines “awkward” as “obsolete,” “archaic,” a few others that all sound the same and “not easy to handle or deal with.” This last one, I think, is the best to describe awkward silences for me. I physically cannot handle awkward silences. I try to keep quiet, but words tumble out of my mouth anyway. Some may say that’s a medical problem, maybe a sort of social anxiety; I think I’m just a Chatty Cathy. Either way, I hate to see an awkward silence pass by without being acknowledged.
The only time I don’t break awkward silences is when it is expected. It’s the worst part of a college class, that awkward moment when the professor asks a question, and no one answers. We all sit there for a good twenty seconds, the TA craning her neck to look for a raised hand until we all realize she’s going to have to answer for us. Why can’t I, the girl who can talk to a tree, break the awkward silences in class? My best guess is stage fright.
Stage fright is a common occurrence in discussion classes, as people are terrified to be told that they’re wrong. I know this, because I am one of them. I hate being wrong, so I’m certainly not going to admit it if I am. This makes answering questions in class very awkward for me. Unless Yoda’s involved, then I’ll throw out a Yoda quote and explain why it’s awesome (and relevant). However, the Jedi Master is not often referenced in my courses, so I rarely speak. Instead, I listen to others break those awkward silences. I cheer for those brave enough to do what I find awkward!
P.S. The “awkward”/”awkwardness” count is at 18. Maybe? Awkward! (19?)