In every situation in life, there's always a way to make a tit of yourself
According to Wikipedia, and also Will Smith in ‘Hitch’, about 90% of everything we’re saying to people isn’t being said with words but with our bodies. For an awkward person this is very worrying.
Under strict direction my hands are sometimes capable of writing coherent essays, but left to their own devices they are not nearly so articulate. I’m sure, if you’re reading this, then you will be no stranger to that odd phenomenon where you’re standing talking to someone you don’t know very well, conversation isn’t flowing, it isn’t even trickling, things are getting awkward. And then suddenly you feel like you have far too many arms and you don’t know what to do with them all.
There are a number of options, but when you start worrying about what you might accidentally be saying to people they all seem fraught with danger.
1) Folding your arms – you might be thinking ‘this is comfortable, I know where my arms are at all times, and at least they’re not swinging moronically by my side’. But what if you’re actually saying ‘Please keep away from me. I object to you as a person, and I don’t believe in fun.’
2) Putting your hands in your pockets – you might be thinking ‘this is comfortable, my hands are nicely confined to the pocket area so they can’t do anything stupid like accidentally touch someone or gesticulate wildly’. But what if you’re actually saying ‘I am far too cool for this conversation. You bore me. Do not look at my hands.’
3) Placing both hands on your hips – you might be thinking ‘this was a mistake, only Superman and irate 19th century housekeepers can get away with this one’. You’d probably be right, and you might accidentally be saying ‘I’m harbouring a secret desire to wear my underpants on top of my trousers whilst cooking a brace of partridge for the master of the house.’
4) Clasp your hands together in front of you – you might be thinking ‘this feels very awkward but I panicked and now I’m stuck with this.’ But what if you’re actually saying ‘This feels very awkward but I panicked and now I’m stuck with this.’ Ok, so that might be true, but we don’t want everyone to know that do we?
5) Let them hang – you might be thinking ‘this isn’t particularly comfortable but it’s a last resort. Surely this one can’t backfire.’ But what if you’re actually saying ‘Hello. I have the charismatic charm of a half-eaten cheese sandwich.’
Shakira once told us, quite enthusiastically, that our hips don’t lie. Well, our hips may be honest but clearly our arms can be deceptive little scallywags if we’re not careful.
The Awkward Guide accepts no responsibility for adverse reactions to the implementation of advice supplied herein. Side-effects can include: smug laughter, mild disdain, and temporary irritation.