The Importance of Being Awkward (How to be Awkward)

Hey guys! This week I’ve been pretty busy, which is quite unfortunate because I have a lot of things to write about. However, I don’t want to leave you guys hanging, so I’ve decided to share a piece of my writing that I originally wrote for my Advanced Composition class. Your feedback would be appreciated tremendously, as always.

My assignment was to write a process essay – basically, a how to-do type of essay that incorporates chronological steps, logical transitions, etc. Being the awkward turtle that I am, I chose to create a piece on how to be awkward. The following is the result (if you recognize the literary allusion of the title, respect points!):

The Importance of Being Awkward

Many people underestimate the power of awkwardness. Sure, it can cause discomfort and create embarrassing situations, but it also supplies people with plenty of opportunities. If you ever feel that people are ignoring you or that your parents are not giving you enough attention, simply scream like a banshee in the middle of silent reading time during English class. If you ever feel that there is someone sitting inside of your soul yearning to escape, express yourself by saying strange, incomprehensible sentences while assuming an air of dignified importance. Finally, if you really don’t like the guy or girl that keeps hitting on you in fifth period, pretend that you’re a klutz and continuously trip on things that don’t actually exist. The possibility of standing out, the ability to express yourself, and the skill to scare away unattractive suitors all will come in handy one day – however, to wield the weapon of awkwardness at its full potential, one must be aware of all the steps to attaining it.

Before you begin the hunt, you must target your prey – and by target your prey, I mean locate the individuals that you will soon submerge in social distress. There are two types of people who you can be awkward around: weird people and normal people. Weird people tend to show signs of outward awkwardness, as well as other traits that reveal an inner imbalance of regularity (basically, they’re not quite right.) You can choose to work your awkward magic on these individuals, as weirdness and weirdness often produce wonderfulness, but remember that they may have already experienced your special brand of awkward before. That’s why it’s better to target normal people. This species of human does not come equipped with anti-awkwardness armor, as they do not commonly associate with awkward people or act awkward themselves – they will feel the force of your strangeness like a bullet to the brain. The only caveat to this choice is that you have to be careful not to actually upset someone. Certain people are sensitive and will undergo panic attacks when awkwardness occurs, and others, like your teacher or boss, will remove you from the face of the earth, or at least from the front of their own faces. In the end, remember that awkwardness cannot be achieved alone.

Now that you have selected your prey, you must prepare for the hunt – and by prepare for the hunt, I mean prepare yourself to be as awkward as possible. Awkwardness is not only a physical embodiment of social ineptitude, but a mental one as well. You should stop paying attention to what is happening in real life, and consequently distance yourself from the world around you. That way, you will be unprepared when things happen to you, so your response may result in awkwardness. Indeed, it is a paradox: to be prepared, you need to be unprepared. Force yourself into crazy, delusional fantasies. Don’t think about your clothing or yourself, only think about things that will distance you from reality so that you will be sufficiently somewhat prepared to act on awkward autopilot.

After obtaining the mindset of a hallucinating wombat, you are now ready to go in for the kill – and by go in for the kill, I mean unleash your awkwardness at its maximum momentum. To be awkward in itself is simply to break established social norms – there are so many ways to do this that the possibilities probably outnumber the amount of apples in the universe. Laugh at things that aren’t funny, speak different languages around people who can’t comprehend them, pretend to know the stranger sitting next to you, or pretend to not know your best friend (even when they start to cry and offer money in return for your memory of them.) Mutter like a homicidal maniac, have your voice break every other syllable, or fall over your friend’s backpack into the middle of the classroom while everyone is working. As long as you are dismantling the oppressive pretenses of politeness that society values so highly, you are doing your job. One of my personal favorites is taking something someone says and putting unnecessary emphasis on a certain word or syllable – “Thomas, your epidermis is showing,” – “No, your epidermis is showing.” This creates an unsettling effect that leaves people unsure of their next step, which is exactly what awkwardness is supposed to do. As long as you do not push it by being purposely offensive to the point of sexism, racism, or bigotry, then everything is fair play. Like they say, all is fair in love and war, especially creating uncomfortable eye contact when staring at people you find attractive.

When all the awkwardness has been said and done, it is time to relish in your rewards – and by relish in your rewards, I mean allow the awkwardness to sink in. After awkward moments occur, a period of silence usually follows – this is called the “awkward silence”, and its presence indicates that you have succeeded in being awkward. While you may feel the temptation to acknowledge the awkward silence by saying something like “that was awkward”, resist. Allow the awkwardness to spread through the air, suffocating those who are too weak to bask in the glory of your strangeness. Once this time frame is over and people resume doing what they were doing prior to your act of awkwardness, you can either follow it up with another act or wait until sufficient time has passed to strike again. It depends on your stamina as well as how much you value your reputation – if you don’t want people to think that you should be sent to an insane asylum like that creepy lady in The Yellow Wallpaper, you should most likely wait for another day.

Awkwardness is your friend. Never forget that. No matter how uncomfortable people may appear or how damaging to your sanity it may seem, awkwardness gives you the chance to accomplish things most people wouldn’t even dream of. By not adhering to social standards, you can stand out from the monotonous mass of people that are often criticized for being boring and dull. By removing your internal mind-to-mouth filter installed by your parents and teachers, you can be yourself without fear of consequences. And by acting as awkward and as natural as you possibly can, you are able not only to scare away filthy plebeians that are pursuing your friendship, but you are able to make new friends who are just as strange as you are.

Thoughts? Does anyone have any awkward experiences they would like to share or tips on how to be awkward? For some reason WordPress refuses to let me indent my paragraphs, so I apologize for that… see you guys next time!



Filed under Personal, Society

19 responses to “The Importance of Being Awkward (How to be Awkward)

  1. This is basically my life summed up in an essay. I congratulate you. And also, I love your writing style a lot. So witty and clever and all that stuff. This was really an entertaining read. :3 I wish I could write essays but alas, they bore me too much, sigh.

  2. I think I’m getting a streak of fortune lately, stumbling upon things that help ease the tortuously confused state, and this is one of those. My heart was especially moved by the things you said in the last paragraph. I suppose I could relate so much from what you wrote. Thank you for posting your work Thomas. It’s a very comforting read.

  3. Cara

    Excellent paper Thomas. If I were your teacher you’d get the highest marks:D I feel now I can at least feel like my awkardness can be useful for something!

  4. I have two words for your piece: flawless and brilliant! 🙂

  5. Maggie

    Your essay is really brilliant. 🙂 I was laughing (in a good way) and smiling the whole time I read through it. Hm, now I know that my awkwardness can be a good thing, haha.

    • Thanks Maggie! Your awkwardness is not just a good thing, it is a great thing, especially now that you know how to use it to its full potential. (;

  6. JenJen

    I LOVED IT! Amazing, i dont think an essay has ever made me lol as much as that one. I love your use of the language too! Once again, amazing!

    • I’m so glad you loved it! I’m thankful that my teacher allowed us to choose our own topics for this process essay assignment. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  7. Liz Dallton

    hey. i love this essay. seriously. i will try this. it has inspires me. i sound retarded but thats awkward right? so bye now!

    • Thank you! And I don’t think “retarded” is the appropriate word, more like grammatically incorrect. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  8. LOVE!!! ❤
    I heart this essay. I'm in love with the essay.
    I love the paradox "In order to be prepared, you need to be unprepared.” Such a clever way with words you have, Thomas! 😉
    I’m kinda too self-conscious to be awkward often but a close friend of mine is Mr. Awkward – seriously, he does what you describe all the time: falling down without reason, laughing in the middle of an exam, shouting out in the middle of a class…
    Are you an awkward genius, Thomas?

    • I would love to meet your friend, Eugine! Embracing awkwardness is a great way to let your insecurities and worries fly away, Eugine, so never hesitate to try it. (: And I do think I can be terribly awkward at times (and by “terribly awkward:, I mean wonderfully awkward) but “genius” may be pushing it…

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