Avoiding Awkward Situations

The Other Walk of Shame

I’ve discussed how hard it can be to end a conversation, but I didn’t take into account the inevitable and painful accidental walk in same direction goodbye. I’m sure this has happened to everyone – you finish an awkward conversation, you say goodbye, then heave a sigh of relief and walk away, but you walk in the same direction as the person you’ve just bid that awkward goodbye, horribly prolonging the discomfort and awkwardness. Here are some ways to deal with the other walk of shame.

Prevent It:

If you possess patience and slyness, then preventing the other walk of shame should be easy. After you say your goodbyes, linger for a minute in order to see the direction in which the other person is going. Once this is determined, you can quickly and smoothly move in the opposite direction. There are a couple of things you must beware of, however, before you truly master this preventative method.

First, the lingering can’t look like lingering, as this may cause the person to ask where you’re going, which is a question you are not yet prepared to answer. Instead, you need to look like you could be moving at any moment in all directions without actually going anywhere. How can this be done, you ask? Easy! It’s all in the face and feet. Your face should look thrilled, like you are not only fully prepared but also amazed by the idea of traveling anywhere. Your feet should be moving in place, but they shouldn’t just be moving forward, but backwards and sideways as well. This way the person, just like you yourself, has absolutely no idea the direction you will go.

Your feet movement should also match the excited expression on your face, so make sure to put a little pep in your step, because if your feet seem confused, the expression will be dismissed and you’ll just look crazy and disoriented. Also note that your hands should remain still because you want to appear grounded and capable of making a sound decision with your choice of direction. Your non-moving hands, along with your look of thrill and wonderment, along with your dancing feet, will help you achieve a focused and dignified yet energetic appearance.

Stop It:

If you were not cunning and sneaky enough, or if your feet couldn’t handle the challenging dance of excitement and diversion in order to prevent the other walk of shame, then you will need to resort to cleverness to stop it in its tracks. As you find yourself taking part in the other walk of shame, don’t panic; just think of an excuse to either turn around and go in the opposite direction or stop somewhere. Your excuses should be complex and elaborate; that way they are believable. Some examples of believable excuses are, “I’m going to stop at a bathroom. My favorite public restroom is back there. It’s so spotless you could eat off the floor. I love it. I need to stop back there right now. I haven’t gone to the bathroom in hours, in fact this is the longest I’ve ever held my bladder in my life. I’m proud of myself. Bye,” and that’s it, you’re done, you’re abandoning the other walk of shame for a bright future and in the short term, a relaxing walk alone.

If you feel too awkward bringing up the bathroom excuse, feel free to swap out using the bathroom for another activity like eating, showering, shopping or studying. Another option to consider is to look as if you have suddenly been overcome by fatigue. Preferably, you should be sweaty, panting and keeping your eyes partially glazed over. Then tell the person you need to stop for a break and to go on without you.

Go with It (and Hide):

Sometimes you find that you were semi-successful in preventative measures of the other walk of shame in that you are not walking with the other person, but you are walking slightly behind them, in the same direction. That’s when you need to hide while still maintaining your movement. If the area you are in is crowded, there are numerous ways to go about concealing yourself while still progressing on your route. One easy way is to shield your face with a book or magazine as you walk. You could also crouch behind a rolling garbage can, then crawl/walk with it in front of your face.

However, these methods of concealment can be time-consuming, so if you are in a rush, I suggest hitching a ride with a stranger via piggy-back or climbing into or atop a stranger’s rolling backpack, briefcase, or suitcase. Be careful, however, as both of these maneuvers are tricky in their own right and become even trickier since you should be concealing your face while undertaking them. If you are more of a risk-taker and find yourself aching for some excitement and happen to be near a busy street, I suggest latching onto a truck or bus, like sanitation workers do. Not only will you have rid yourself from the other walk of shame, but you will also give yourself the ride of your life and possibly a new vocation. This trick is even better if the truck or bus is going to your final destination.

Go with it (Don’t Hide):

Another option in this Go With It scenario, is of course, to just walk with the other person. Once you resign yourself to the fact that there’s no graceful way out of it, this alternative is definitely simpler. You can even joke and make light of the fact that you said bye already and turn that other walk of shame into a walk of acclaim.

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