Do you know what's even more awkward than confessing your sins to a priest? I'll tell you: having your assigned confessor tilt his head and say, "Speak into my ear—I've got hearing loss."
"Bless me, Father, for I have SINNED ..."
That's how it began, and it just sort of went from there. So after this week's penance service, is it any wonder I took myself to Chick-fil-A? Not that I have any regrets. And not that I'm making light of a sacrament, especially one so vastly underrated.
But the whole semi-humorous incident served as a reminder for how to deal with unexpected awkward moments. Here are four tips:
- Run with it. What makes an awkward moment worse is when we give it undue attention. (I also learned this recently on live TV, when my earpiece fell out and stayed out. Fortunately, my trusty interviewer literally talked me through it. And I now have my own semi-custom earpiece.)
- Show some empathy. I'm guessing that priest I mentioned would rather utter his own transgressions into someone's ear and walk away not only with absolution but with his hearing intact. He did not have that luxury. I did. How could I not run with it?
- Don't apologize for things outside your control. Remember the sailboat scene in Tommy Boy where Chris Farley apologizes for the lack of wind? It's funny precisely because it's so ridiculous. And of course because it's Chris Farley.
- "If you can't fix it, feature it." I learned this from a professional speaking coach named Victoria LaBalme, and have been using it ever since. In fact, I used it just now to bring you this post.