I have heard my youngsters, particularly my thirteen-yr-antique daughter, rent the phrase “awkward” regularly. For probably the most phase, she — at the side of her friends and her brothers — has used some of the 3 appropriate usages of “awkward” as it should be, albeit in extra for the ultimate couple of years.

Just lately, I stated the phrase. It got here proper out of my mouth with out idea or mirrored image, and “awkward” completely encapsulated the instant. However relating to my employment of phrase, I hit on all 3 sun shades of the adjective:

  1. Now not clean or sleek, ungainly
  2. Inflicting (or feeling) embarrassment
  3. Inflicting problem, exhausting to care for

Allow me set the scene: The site used to be an indoor sports activities complicated in WASPy suburbia; the time used to be past due afternoon.

The historical past characters have been more than a few nameless oldsters observing (or ready to observe) their kid play 6 v 6 football in an enclosed enjoying space.

The primary characters have been Myself, my partner Rob, a peer couple who are living within the the city east of the place the sports activities complicated is situated. They have been there ready to observe their son play; we have been leaving having noticed ours play.

Rob and I’ve recognized this couple because 1996. We have been at their wedding ceremony; they have been at ours. Within the pictures from our wedding ceremony reception, she used to be seated to my proper for dinner. Whilst our collective six youngsters have not spent all that so much time in combination, they have got all the time loved their corporate and reminisce fondly concerning the occasions our households have spent in combination.

So after a yr and a part of now not having noticed them, in spite of a few invites from us to them (extra correctly, me to her) suggesting that our households get in combination — we are best cities away in any case — her response used to be lovely “awkward,” i.e., now not clean or sleek, ungainly, once we ran into each and every different.

She noticed us first and stated “hi.” I were given the fast feel, through the stiffness in her frame and the stilted tone of her voice that she wanted she’d merely stored her mouth close and allow us to move. We would possibly now not have even spotted they have been there. She will have waited and allow us to move via, or allow us to say “hi” first. I feel her “hi” used to be a knee-jerk response. As soon as it came about, we have been pressured into an interplay.

This interplay used to be “awkward,” i.e., inflicting embarrassment, to either one of us. I feel for her/them for having discovered rationalization after excuse for why they could not carve out a day for his or her “pals” of just about 20 years; I feel for us for now not having gotten the trace after the primary few declined invites and proceeding to invite, in such a lot of phrases, “Do not you wish to have to be pals with us?”

The risk assembly used to be “awkward,” i.e., inflicting problem, exhausting to maintain, as a result of afterwards Rob and I pored over what we would possibly have performed to offend them — or what the youngsters would possibly have performed to disappointed theirs. Rob and I could not get a hold of anything else definitive from our ultimate get-in combination; our youngsters did not have a transparent reminiscence of the afternoon/night.

In the end, for me, the exhausting to maintain phase isn’t figuring out why there is a gulf among us and now not understanding tips on how to ask. Will have to I take their “no thank you, we are busy” answer on its face? Or will have to I take a touch and transfer on?

Strolling clear of the come upon, I stated quietly over my shoulder “awkward,” considering Rob used to be proper at the back of me. He wasn’t. Once I seemed again for him, I noticed he used to be simply breaking from the hug he’d presented to the person/his “family member”/her husband.

Once we have been out of listening to vary, I requested what ended in the hug.

Rob stated he boldly interrupted the dialog his “family member” used to be having and stepped up for the hug, which used to be reciprocated.

I requested why.

Rob stated, “As a result of I would love to assume he is this sort of one that’d love to have a friendship with me.”

“Although he is not?”

“Yeah, despite the fact that he is not.”

On a regular basis, I am the optimist. Lately, I used to be now not; Rob used to be.

Or even these days a part of me hopes I’m going to listen from her both with a call for participation or a pronouncement in their disinterest in having to any extent further invites prolonged to them.

As a result of having to mention “we are busy,” while they may want to mention “depart us on my own” can handiest result in feeling “awkward.”

And that is the reason no approach to really feel. Believe me. I do know.

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