In life, we often think before we act, but this can lead to damaged social relationships. Etiquette expert Anna Musson (goodmanners.com.au) says a good rule of thumb is to quickly ask yourself, “How will this affect others?”, before you speak. But since that doesn’t always happen, she’s given us heaps more advice on how to handle awkward moments.
I called my new BF my ex’s name!
The best-case scenario is that they were too busy thinking about sport to even hear what you said, but he’s probably so in lurve with you that he’s hanging on your every word.
Anna says: Look horrified and apologise immediately. For example, say, “I’m so sorry – I don’t know why I said that, John”. Remember, they often have other things on their mind (ahem, sport), so they might have missed it completely.
I fell down the stairs right outside my English class!
The best thing to do when you find yourself in this situation is to get back up, laugh it off and forget about it.
Anna says: Nobody likes someone who dwells on something that happened half an hour ago, so if you’re not hurt, make a light-hearted remark like, “That’s how I like to make an entrance”, and forget about it. However, if you’re injured and have lost a shoe, move yourself away from the situation, fix yourself up and get back out there.
I forgot someone’s name!
It’s so much easier to remember a face than a name. Just remember you’re not alone – we’ve all been there.
Anna says: If you were just introduced and they pick you up on it, apologise quickly with, “Of course it is – sorry, Jane”. If you met them a while ago, avoid negative words like “forgot” and “can’t remember”; instead, try, “Great to see you again! I know we met at the Usher concert, but my mind is completely empty of important info right now”. That way, it takes the blame off yourself and prevents the person from feeling unimportant.
Oops, I missed my bestie’s birthday.
Even though it’s all well and good to think your best friend should love you despite all your shortcomings, remember that everybody wants to feel adored – especially on their birthday!
Anna says: As soon as you realise it was her birthday, call her or send a text saying, “I have the best idea of how you can forgive me for missing your birthday!”. Then, plan a really fun day out to make it up to her. Be prepared for her to be a bit mad for a while, and just take it on the chin.
I sent a text to the wrong person!
You usually check who you’re sending a message to 50 times – especially when it’ a b*tchy one. But this one time, something distracted you and you ended up typing Dani’s name in the “To” field – and the message was All. About. Dani.
Anna says: The important thing is to apologise quickly. Send a text to the person saying, “Sorry – that wasn’t meant for you”, and just accept that there will be fallout. Then, when you see them next, go and apologise again. You can’t control how they respond to you, but you can control how you act.