February 14, 2014

You’re at school, and you’ve just bought the coolest new shoes. You’re walking down the stairs, basking in the glory of those stares, when the unthinkable happens: you trip. That’s right, you forgot to tie that shoelace, fasten that strap, or do that buckle, and now you’re sprawled across the dirty floor amid gasps of horror. Let’s take a pause for a moment, while I help you walk away from this situation with a shred of dignity.

We’ve all been in this sticky situation, but the embarrassment is the easy part. Recovering with poise is the true hurdle. The first option is laughing at ourselves—we’ve all done it, and in my opinion, it is the easiest way to go.

Back to our situation where you’re lying face down on the floor, and people are stopping to see if you’re okay. Get up with your head held high and laugh it off! Maybe even throw in a cheesy joke – “Walk much?” – to mask the inner turmoil in your head. The laugh not only helps you get up with ease, but it lightens the mood around you and the people that were just thinking, “Wow what a loser!” are now thinking, “Hey! That kid is really cool.” For those who find it difficult to laugh, a smile would suffice.

Your next option is the “blame game,” which I would only recommend to the good actors in this situation. This can only work if you play it right, so listen carefully, and take notes if you need to. You’ve just gotten back up from the floor, but you don’t want everyone to know you’re a klutz! The solution is to find something else to take the fall, pardon the pun, for you.

You look over your shoulder at the stairs with a carefully constructed expression of confusion, and then you say loudly, “Oh! Those stairs! Covered in snow!” and walk away with a knowing smile. The people around you that were just thinking “Well you’re a klutz,” are now thinking, “Oh! What an understandable situation!”

There you have it, an embarrassing moment handled with the utmost ease. This option is a bit of a wild card though, because some people can get a little too dramatic, start blaming the people around them, or turn the smile into a grimace. But if you get it right, it’s a perfectly believable option.

As a person who has found herself in hundreds of embarrassing situations that are too terrible to put in writing, I understand how horrible moments like this can be. But, whether you choose the laugh or the blame game, you can lose face, and recover with grace!