Stupid comments. We have no clue where they come from.
It’s like there’s a dark little closet filled with weird, random facts and stories that your brain holds onto, and at just the wrong moment, out of your mouth they fly.
It’s not like you don’t try. You’re smart and funny, but for some reason that’s not what comes out. You’re scared to open your mouth because you might say something stupid or be misunderstood, and then you’ll just spend the entire conversation wondering what people are thinking of you.
So much for that first impression, right?
As entrepreneurs, we meet new people all the time. Connecting with others is crucial to the success of our brand, and chatting it up is the first step in that process. But when you’re terrified of saying (or doing) something stupid, growing your tribe feels more like grueling work instead of energizing you and propelling you towards success.
If you’re human, chances are you totally know what it feels like to say something stupidly embarrassing. (If you’re reading this and you’re not human, please shoot me a message because I’d love to know more about that whole situation.)
One of the reasons we say stupid stuff is because we’re in our heads too much. Overanalyzing usually leaves us feeling like an idiot. I don’t know about you, but that’s not really the vibe I’m aiming for. I’m not going to dive into that here, but if overanalyzing in conversation is sucking your brain cells dry, I wrote a whole guide just for you. Don’t overthink it, just go read it. (See what I did there?)
But for most of you, the biggest reason crazy things fly out of your mouth is simply because you never seem to know what to say. You’re not sure what to talk about, and because you’re so afraid no one will relate to anything you say, you put tremendous pressure on your brain to come up with the perfect line.
This is too much for your noggin to handle, so it sputters and spits out the first thing it can come up with, and it’s usually not very good. Embarrassment and stress rain down, you forget what you’re saying, and it all just goes up in smoke.
But that doesn’t have to be your story.
What if, instead of being a bomb sesh, messing up actually made you cooler?
Saying stupid stuff may seem like a nightmare, but in reality it’s a cleverly disguised gold mine for genuine connection. Knowing how to harness awkward moments and make them work for you is the difference between “what the heck did she just say” and “OMG YAASS GIRL!!”
Interested? Ah, good. You’re one of the smart ones. 😉
Anyone can have socially awkward moments, but it takes finesse to wield them as assets. Want to wield some finesse of your own? Let’s dive in, sista.
Why Saying Stupid Stuff Will Build Your Network
We spend time with other people because we need human interaction as part of a healthy life. Computers are great (cheers, Siri), but nothing in this crazy world will ever replace face to face connection between two people.
“We’re only human.” You’ve heard it before, but have you ever thought about what it means? Usually this phrase pops up when someone’s made a mistake or shown some level of weakness. This is very telling! To be human is to be imperfect, and while in the moment it can be frustrating, imperfections are one of the most powerful tools we have in our arsenal.
We’re attracted to genuineness, and nothing is more genuine than imperfection, so it only makes sense that we’d harness its power to more deeply connect with those around us.
Perfection is intimidating. Think about it. When you’re around someone who (you think) has it all together, you put an enormous amount of pressure on yourself to play on their level. Maybe your mother-in-law is an amazing cook, so when she comes over for dinner, you spend 5 hours chopping, marinating, and trying to fancy-cut veggies until your hands cramp up.
Why do we do that?
Are we crazy? No. When faced with perfection, we’re forced to remember that we’re far from perfect. Our shortcoming scream in our face, and that’s scary!
That’s why embracing your faux pas is so important to connecting with others. In a sea of intimidating facades, owning your wackiness makes you real and approachable. You proudly declare to those around you, “I’m not gonna pretend to be perfect, and you don’t have to either!” People instantly see that it’s ok to be real around you, and that’s mind blowingly inviting and refreshing.
Incorporating “oops” moments into your game plan is a crucial strategic move. Your realness will attract others who are tired of faking it too. People will see that hanging out with you is stress-free and actually fun, and your network of genuine connections will practically grow itself!
So how do you embrace awkward moments and turn them into gold? I’m so glad you asked.
Harnessing The Secret Power of Stupidity
#1. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Adults totally suck at this, but there’s hope. Rocking your inner toddler is one of the best things you can do for your relationships and your career. You’re smart, funny, and totally awesome, but life happens and we all end up making fools of ourselves at some point. Who cares?
Stop trying to turn everything you do into a life or death, make-or-break performance. Have fun instead! Life is too short to live terrified of being human (you can’t help that anyway). Don’t die with a stick up your butt. That would just be all kindza awkward.
#2. Own your “oops.”
It happened. You did something stupid. Now it’s time to roll with it!
It might be a misplaced comment, a spilled drink, or a stray fart (#reallife), but there’s no going back now. Don’t pretend it never happened, we all know it’s you. Instead embrace it! Make “No shame in my game” your new life motto and stick to it. It’s time to flip that “oops” into something you can use to build genuine connection.
#3. Flip it.
Instead of wallowing in shame or shriveling in embarrassment, grab onto this moment of gold. There are countless ways to make an “oops” work for you, but here are a few of my top favs.
Beat ‘Em To The Punch (Line)
If you’re gonna do something silly, why not use it to entertain people?
Take comedians. They use real life (or real life inspired) moments to weave hilarious stories that make us pant with laughter. Do you know why they do that? Because real life is relatable and there is humor in normal, everyday moments. You can wield that same power too.
Turn your mishap into a joke! You don’t even have to be the next Amy Schumer to do it.
Let’s say you’re hanging out at a coffee shop with some new friends. Trying to be suave and witty, you try out a coffee-related joke. It totally bombs. Like, crickets-screaming-in-the-silence bad.
Instead of turning a lovely shade of red and retreating into your phone to die, face it head on. Don’t wait – the longer you do, the more awkward it gets, and we’re shooting for the opposite of that!
*make a grossed out face* “I’ll be here with terrible jokes all night folks!”
“Yeeeaah, comedy’s not my calling. Don’t quit my dayjob, right guys?”
“Awkward moment for the win, amirite? Hive five!”
Making fun of yourself disarms the situation. By jumping in first, you take all the power away from anyone thinking of using that moment to make fun of you – because you already did it! Turn your “oops” into a joke so everyone can have a laugh, then move on.
Create A Point of Connection
Sitting in your stupid moment all by yourself is a surefire way to not only feel like crap, but make everyone around you super uncomfortable. Let’s not do that, shall we?
Instead, invite them into your awkward moment with you. Sounds crazy, but here’s why it works.
By inviting them to participate in what just happened, you create a point of connection. People bond when they go through something together. It doesn’t have to be a traumatic life experience or an emotional movie, it can be as simple as laughing at something together.
Picture this. You’re at a friend’s party and you’re meeting all sorts of new people. As you hold your little paper plate filled with appetizers, you try to stab an olive with a toothpick. Instead of success, the olive goes flying off your plate, smacking you in the face. The person you’re chatting with (and hoping to impress) sees the whole thing.
Now what? Psh, you got this. Your next move might be something like this.
*laugh* OMG don’t you hate that? Why are all party foods small, slippery and round? Meatballs, olives, grapes – why are foods out to get me? *laugh again*
When you give them permission to laugh with you at something you did, you can bond over it. Suddenly you share a common experience that leaves you both feeling happy and relaxed. This type of experience is incredibly valuable when building a strong, genuine connection, and when you pop into their mind in the future, you can bet it will bring a smile to their face.
Turn It Into A Story
This isn’t the first time you’ve done something stupid. We do awkward things all the time, so why not embrace it and use it as a chance to tell a funny story?
Let’s say I’m standing around at a BBQ and eating a plate of food while talking with friends. (Side note: Why are all my examples food-related?) As I turn to ask someone a question, my plate slips out of my hands and ends up in a messy pile at my feet. Guess what? It’s storytime, kids!
“Gaaah! You guys, I swear food runs away from me. Once, when I was a server in college, I was bringing a full salmon dinner to one of my tables, and as I got close, I tripped and the plate flew out of my hands, hit the floor, and the entire meal shattered into a million pieces and shot across the floor. I thought I was gonna die. At least this time it was my own food!” *laugh*
Use your goof up as a springboard into an entertaining story! It helps everyone (including you) feel less awkward about what just happened, and it gives you great material to contribute to the entertainment of the group. Don’t be afraid to provide the comedic material – everybody likes the funny gal!
Stupid Is The New Suave
Using your stupidity as a tool for genuine connection with others takes practice like any other skill. The good news is, we’re all human so there’s plenty of material to practice with!
Don’t be intimidated by those around you who seem to have everything together (they don’t). Perfection is scary and people crave real humans who remind them that it’s ok to just be themselves, oops moments and all. By embracing those moments yourself, you create an inviting space for others to do the same, and people will gravitate towards you like you wouldn’t believe!
Own your stupidity girl, and rock it like it ain’t no thang.
Want to master the art of building genuine connection in conversation? Download my free, exclusive 36-page guide, “The Female Entrepreneur’s Ultimate Guide to Small Talk” and start building genuine relationships, killer connections and a thriving career!