Avoiding Awkward Situations


I don’t know if it’s because I have genetically weak ankles or the ground I’m walking on has it in for me, but I’m constantly rolling my ankles or tripping. Not a big trip where I fall flat on my face, just a small stumble that makes me feel clumsy and foolish. These trips, which I call baby trips, can be awkward if they aren’t handled gracefully, so I’d like to share some tips so you can be what you’ve always wanted to be: the smoothest walker on the street!


If you are with friends, this is easy. Just turn to them and laugh, as if you were stumbling for their amusement. Even if you are in pain, keep laughing. You can even laugh until you cry, then pretend you’re fake crying and it’s part of the joke. Slapstick humor never gets old.

If you are alone, pulling this off may be harder. Laughing and smiling to yourself makes you look like a crazy person and since you’ve already proven that you’re clumsy, you really don’t want to add mentally unstable to the list. I suggest making eye contact with the strangers around you in the hopes that they noticed your baby trip. Turn to them and smile. You could say something like, “Look at me.” Then laugh coyly, before turning super serious. “No, really, look at me; that was the first time I’ve ever tripped in my whole life.”

Maybe perfection isn’t your thing; you could always play up your adorable brand of no-fault clumsiness by laughing, then saying, “Psshh, stupid rocks.” Or “Psshh, stupid shoes.” Or “Psshh, stupid uneven surfaces.”  The use of the sound “psshh” adds a sense of playfulness and confidence. Yeah, you tripped, but does it really matter? You’re adorable!

Finally, if you want to seem tough and intimidating, laugh so bystanders will look at you, then snarl, “What are you looking at?!” Believe me, no one will mess with you when you say this after baby tripping. The combination of irrational anger and clumsiness is terrifying.


What I’ve started to do – and it’s been working for me – is trip and smile to myself, then get out my phone and pretend to text people. I’ve discovered that looking busy after tripping makes the tripping seem unimportant and possibly the result of external forces, like straightening the strings on your tennis racquet after messing up a point. Actually, it’s even better than that, because not only does it shift blame and minimize importance, it makes me look like I’m extremely popular.


This is a bold move, but why not go all out with that trip? Commit to really falling to the ground. Only do this when you’re really craving attention. You can even go to a different, albeit more painful and long-lasting route by pretending that’s how you walk. You might alternate ankle rolls with every step you take. People will pity you, but they won’t think you’re uncoordinated or ungraceful.


Now, most importantly, if you want to be the most elegant and smoothest walker, practice makes perfect! Walk as much as you can. Walk with your head held high. Walk like you’re on America’s Next Top Model and Tyra is cheering you on. Also seek out areas with flat walking surfaces and limited amounts of rocks. And, remember, no matter how many times you baby trip, stand tall and never give up.

Image via va-4-hire.com.

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