The year was 2010. It was a simpler time. A time of cruising around listening to Drake’s album “Thank Me Later” (those jams still take me back shout out to my boy Jake if you’re reading this), never having homework, going to youth group, and always goofing around with friends. Senior year of high school was a laid back year. Well, it was laid back, until I began a terrible relationship with a girl. To start things off, we decided to keep it a secret, since she dated one of my best friends (super classy move on my part, I know). Our relationship consisted of mostly making out and ignoring being friends (not a healthy way to have a relationship at all. If you’re in a relationship like this, you deserve better, so get out of it. Trust me. You’d both be better off, too). Because the relationship was doomed before it began, we inevitably broke up. Unfortunately, we had already bought prom tickets, she bought a dress, I had rented a tux, and we were set to go together. The reason for this? We had broken up two weeks before prom.

Since breaking up before prom is terrible, there are DEFINITELY going to be awkward moments to occur (if you’re in high school and this happens, find a new date. Trust me). As I recall, she started hating me for some reason, and I’ll be honest, it was probably my fault. (After all, I was a 17 and 18 year old boy at the time who probably didn’t treat break-ups in a healthy way, plus we had 3 classes together.) I remember the plans for the evening of prom. We would take pictures at my church with our friends (it was raining that day), then I would drive US in HER PARENTS mini-van to prom, we would hang out at the dance, then go to the after-prom event at the high school. It was INCREDIBLY awkward. We both couldn’t stand each other, and you can even tell from the pictures, like the one included in this post:

I blurred her face to respect her privacy, but look at my forced smile. I look like I'm watching someone kick a puppy while they took this.

She wasn’t talking to me, and I was trying really hard to not make the night weird. She just was not having it, though. I remember driving in her parent’s mini-van, and the tension was so thick you could cut it with a chain-saw. Her friends, her, and I were all silent, afraid to say anything and make a violent explosion of rage from her occur. So I had a choice to make:

  1. Let the night free-fall into a pit of awkward anger and silence
  2. Acknowledge the awkwardness, and try to make something fun happen

I chose the latter. I turned on the radio. Her friends looked at me, shocked, while she kept looking out the windshield angrily. I flipped it to top 40 radio. Her friends looked uneasy, she rolled her eyes. I turned up the radio…it was “I Gotta Feelin” by the Black Eyed Peas. I started yelling along and dancing. Her friends died laughing, and she tried not to smile.

Don’t get me wrong, that night was long and pretty awful at times. However, I did make jokes and enjoyed myself in spite of the hatred spewed from my prom date. Inevitably, however, life is bound to throw us painfully awkward moments. As for me, I like to overcome awkward moments. I do this by acknowledging it and making a joke. 90% of the time, this works out. People get weird, and try to suck the life out of situations. It’s unrealistic to think that everyone will like you, but when someone doesn’t, don’t let it ruin your evening, day, week, month, or year. Laughter heals wounds and lightens moods, (and if you haven’t figured out how to laugh you may need to work on that) and make tense situations less tense (only when appropriate. Serious talks about changes that need to happen are definitely not a time to make jokes). Don’t pay attention to the people sipping on the “haterade”. Life may throw awkward moments your way, but that doesn’t mean it should ruin the good in life. Start overcoming the awkward—you may be surprised just how good life can be.