Here’s Why You’re So Awkward Sometimes

Photographed by Tom Corbett.
Whether we called someone the wrong name or forgot their name entirely, we all know instinctively when something feels awkward. But why is it awkward? And, why is that awkwardness so unbearable? The latest video from Vsauce is here to explain. There are many factors that affect our behaviors in general: the law, the laws of science, basic etiquette, and our own self-consciousness. As the video explains, we can think of awkwardness as a very fine tool for a sort of precision etiquette. "Awkwardness nudges us to avoid certain actions in the future and smooth things out when they happen," Vsauce explains. As such, research has shown that being a little awkward here and there can be a good thing; it's a signal that we know the social norms at play and recognize when we've kind of messed them up. When we act appropriately embarrassed, other people view us as more trustworthy and are more likely to forgive our weirdness. But, if someone else is being awkward (or if we're just watching The Office), we may feel "empathetically embarrassed," the video adds. Embarrassment on behalf of others is a side effect of being especially empathetic — it's not because we're embarrassing ourselves. To learn more about being awkward and how it affects your body (and relationships) check out the full video below.

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