All Articles Tagged "personal space"
In the first episode of the web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” creator Issa Rae’s character claims that the worse thing anyone can be is black and awkward, simultaneously. Whether that’s true or not is up for debate. But, if Rae’s YouTube views are any indication, awkward Blackness is a more common condition than once thought.
Any awkward girl can tell you, the workplace is ripe with opportunity for the condition to make itself known. Cringe-worthy moments are waiting around every cubicle corner. Fear not. Just because you’re awkward, doesn’t mean your coworkers have to know. Master the scenarios below and you’ll maneuver through the office like a social butterfly.
Scenario #1 – Unexpected Alone Time
You call yourself being a good employee and busting down hundreds of years of stereotypes when you stroll into the conference room on time for your meeting. You find only one other strange soul shares your punctuality. Your thirstiness has been rewarded with being forced to fill silence with a person you never intended to say more than hello to.
Luckily, being a good conversationalist requires good listening skills more than anything. “Most socially confident people deliberately learn specific skills, like understanding the predictable format of a conversation with new people, and focusing on the topic rather than on how one is being perceived,” according to Erika Casriel, writing in Psychology Today. Put the pressure of being entertaining on the other person. Focus on being interested (or feigning interest) in what the other person is saying.
Scenario #2 – Attack of the Personal Space Invaders
You feel like your coworker is getting a little too close for comfort. Or maybe, your boss routinely mistakes your hair for a Shih Tzu that welcomes petting from strangers. We all want to be friendly, but we also all have boundaries that we prefer not be crossed. For your own peace of mind, learn how to put people in their place, nicely.
The key to maintaining personal space is making sure everyone knows where boundaries begin and end. None of your coworkers are mind readers, so bring unacceptable behavior to their attention and let them know why you are asking them to adjust. The trick is to pull off your truth telling pleasantly and firmly. It’s a balance that may take some practice, but a smile goes a long way.
Scenario #3 – Odd Girl Out
You thought you left cliques behind in high school, but your office culture has an established hierarchy, and you are peasant status. Cliques form for a variety of reasons and most of the time they are not malicious. People with similar interests and personalities and those that work in close proximity gravitate toward each other. Don’t take it personally.
One way to penetrate a clique is to take up an interest common to the group. If company kickball isn’t your style, try a one-on-one approach. “If a group of people [isn't] including you, try to develop a relationship with each person individually,” said Julie Jansen, author of You Want Me To Work With Who?. Jansen says people are more open to new friendships when you approach them individually. Instead of tagging along with the group, ask one person to grab coffee with you.
Scenario #4 – F.M.L.
You managed to make it from home to the office without noticing the toilet paper stuck on the back of your pants. Or your boss randomly chooses you as the object of his displaced divorce rage. A truly awkward individual knows that social situations are not always to blame for life’s cringe-worthy moments. Sometimes life conspires against you. When life hands you lemons, make f*** it lemonade.
Humans have a knack for making situations worse by forcing themselves to relive an embarrassing moment over and over. The sooner you let it go and laugh about it, the sooner everyone will move on. Even better, being embarrassed can make people like you more. Researchers at UC Berkeley have discovered that being embarrassed—or even just acting embarrassed—convinces others that you’re more trustworthy.
In Pretty Woman, Richard Gere tried to school Julia Roberts on social graces and proper etiquette. Now, everyone isn’t going to be sent to charm school on the dime of a wealthy businessman, but there are basic manners that some people like to act like they don’t have. Here are seven of those bad habits that need to be stopped.
Touching A Woman’s Hair
Women are one of the most versatile creatures on earth and hair is often an expression of that. However, many take that admiration a little too far when they reach out to touch that hair without a heads up or expressed permission. People’s hands roam in so many different places during the course of the day; a woman’s hair doesn’t need to carry those germs. The unsolicited reach and touch is also crossing the boundaries of personal space.