How Can You Help Me Become Beautifully Awkward?

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc
photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

I need you to help me get outside of my comfort zone.

Like many of us, I gravitate toward the easy. I’ll talk with people like me. If there aren’t any around, I’ll keep to myself. With my laptop. Or a cookie. Often, both. It’s easy to strike up conversations with parents or someone in a Charlotte 49ers jersey.

Blogger Melissa Bond and I will embark on a three-week journey called Beautifully Awkward Project.

As Melissa put it, “It would change everything. I don’t know how, but I’d stop focusing on myself so much and just be interested in what I could genuinely offer. A hand. An honest reflection. A call on some bullshit. Who knows?

Here’s where you come in.

Where should I go? What should I do? Any situation that I could go into where I would have to not say “what can I get out of this,” but, “what can I offer?” It could be a meeting, a group, an activity, a church … be creative. You know my comfort zones.

How can I push them?

Leave suggestionsย in the comments. The sky’s the limit. I will pick one for next Monday. Please help me be awkward!

Never thought I’d need the help.

awkward quote


  1. 1jaded1 says:

    Just step into me and live a second or two. Awkward always.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Haha … i know the feeling. I am awkward even in my element.

      1. 1jaded1 says: I said that I would take all of the garlic and some veggies. I meant to say the opposite. My office mates would not have shared the love. It did make two ladies laugh.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I think the lady in front of me in line at the fair might have taken all of the garlic.

  2. 1jaded1 says:

    Oops the beautifully…doesn’t apply. Go to places where you don’t feel comfortable? Donate your time? No, I don’t know your comfort zones…homeless shelters, animal shelters, or wherever you heart leaves you.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Duly noted. I’m making a list. I consider myself a compassionate guy who tries to help. I don’t, always, for my fellow man or my fellow beast. These are good ideas.

      1. 1jaded1 says:

        You are compassionate, from what I’ve seen. I’m sure whatever you decide will be aces.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Thanks. Ballroom dancing, though?

      3. 1jaded1 says:

        Think of it as practice for your father/daughter dance at their weddings, or a surprise for your SO.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        And I could entertain in the Walmart line when things go slow.

  3. ksbeth says:

    best of luck on your adventure, eli. i’d have you stop into a ballroom dance class and give it a whirl.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      thanks beth, and i’ll add your idea to the list. i wonder if they offer insurance for physical mishaps.

  4. I would say with an obnoxious parent on the soccer field, because I know you (and now myself) and have totally encountered this type of person more then a few times!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      This would be interesting, and I feel like I’d be about as welcome as a Mormon knocking at the door during dinner. But I’m game. I’d have to crash a soccer match for a team I have nothing to do with …

  5. NotAPunkRocker says:

    You are one step ahead of me. I won’t initiate conversation, I wait to be talked to…if I can be found, that is.

    I’ll be interested to see how this works out for y’all. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We’ll see. I’ve found the idea … uncomfortable.

  6. AWESOME project! Courageous, too. Trying to come up with a couple of assignments for you isn’t easy though.

    A regular guy would feel pretty awkward if I sent him to the feminine products aisle, however you are man enough to throw in a bag of M&Ms for good measure.

    Maybe going to a vegan restaurant? Because: no cheese, no meat.
    Wear a Red Wings cap for a day? C would let you borrow it.

    Wait, I’ve got something: I want you to do something to actively “market” yourself at work. Put yourself in the middle of it all, point out your great work. I bet you’d hate that.

    Good luck – if you get promoted, you know where to send the flowers ๐Ÿ˜‰

    PS: the link that is supposed to take us to Melissa’s blog isn’t working.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Vegan fare – I can dig it. I wonder if the wings cap would sear my scalp. I got a little vomity feeling in my throat just imagining it.

      The work thing could work, too. I tend to fade into the background and do my work. These ideas are going on the list!

      But not before I fix that link. Thanks!

    2. 1jaded1 says:

      I wish I would have though of that Red Wings hat….Haha. That would be awesome. :0)

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I said Beautifully Awkward – not Cruel and Unusual.

  7. chasingchels says:

    Very interesting idea Eli! I say check out somewhere you don’t spend much time but have thought about….like a place you drive past and think, “I should check that out” or “that’s unique” or even “no way would I be caught dead there” and go from there ๐Ÿ˜›

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I like that idea. I’m going to look for somewhere on the way tomorrow I’ve never been. Thanks for the suggestion, Caitlin!

  8. Cassandra says:

    The mere idea of this project gives me a panic attack. Good for you!

    How about finding a pub trivia or pub poker game to try out (I know pub poker is big in NC)? You can meet some very interesting characters at those events.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I like this idea! Especially the pub trivia. I’ve played before, but not in a while. This is going on the list too. Thanks Cassandra!

      1. Cassandra says:

        Glad to be of service! I’m looking forward to the follow up.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I knew I’d get great suggestions here.

  9. The students I work with here have a similar assignment every semester. They have to do an activity that puts them outside of their comfort zone and then write a report about it. They have gone to worship services for faiths they are not familiar with, eaten lunch at soup kitchens, and volunteered at food banks. I think it’s a great project!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I wish we had something like this in school. Wonder what grade I’d get. I wonder where I’ll end up. You just gave me three ideas to add to the list. Thanks Rabia!

  10. normaleverydaylifeblog says:

    I think volunteering is a natural way to offer yourself without expecting anything in return. There are probably some places you’ve thought about or passed by that you’ve considered getting involved in before. Maybe watch for what you come across this week and go for it! Maybe there’s something or someone in your neighborhood, too. New neighbors?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Agreed on volunteerism. I’m going to add this to the list. Maybe I’ll see a sign, get an invite, or hear about something on the radio.

      We do have new neighbors … what should I do?

  11. ieatyoumama says:

    I absolutely love all the conversation that’s going on!! So cool.

    And yes, Eli and I are going to stumble and fall and likely end up giggling hysterically. You know, the kind of giggling where you can’t stop and other people start smiling and everyone ends up feeling off center and giddy. I’m personally interested in the poker game idea. Because I suck at poker. I also suck at any game that requires me to throw anything. True. Maybe I’ll crash and ultimate frisbee game, though I fear getting run out of town!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      If someone crashes my disc golf … well, that’ll be a post in itself.

  12. ProteanMom says:

    Do some service for your neighbors. Hopefully yours won’t yell at you for mowing their lawn… ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I like this one! Plus, it’s good for us, too, right?

  13. Kim says:

    I know – you can join me on my daily moves!!! (I feel awkward doing lots of them!)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I can do a Go Ask Daddy about my injuries and the ambulance ride! It’s on the list though, Kim – thanks!

  14. laurie27wsmith says:

    I think everything’s been covered here Mate. I came in late, we have the g/kids. perhaps you could strike up conversations with people you wouldn’t normally talk to. Or sit in the opposing teams end of the sports field, wearing your teams cap. Just a thought, I hope you can fight or run quickly.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      There’s a set of rules in Chicano fighting, mate: Hit hard, hit fast, run fast. Now that would be a post. Thanks for the additions to the list!

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        No worries about the additions. Sounds like a good credo there, the ability to run is paramount, a fight is usually a last resort. We were eating out with the g’kids tonight at a buffet. I was going to get dessert and a huge Samoan approached me carrying a babies high chair. I stopped him and said, ‘Mate, no way are you ever going to fit into that chair.’ He was gobsmacked for a moment and broke out laughing. his brother was behind him and gave me the thumbs up. Funny.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Love the story, mate. when I was a restaurant server, a buff guy in a tiny tanktop nearly walked into the kitchen rather than the men’s room. I directed him by saying, “you don’t want to go in there, peewee – they’ll put you to work.” He scowled for 17 seconds (probably shorter), then busted out with a laugh and an arm around my shoulders. He could easily have snapped my sternum with his index finger, and I’m glad he didn’t.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        It could have gone bad. I can see you on the floor like a pretzel Mate. One has to judge the humour content of some people.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        Or weigh one’s humor with your own ability to run fast and scared.

      5. laurie27wsmith says:

        Well considering the size of him mate I wouldn’t have had
        to run too fast.

  15. Kerri says:

    Host a block party. Invite all the neighbors but make it BYOB so you don’t go broke. Then go up to the one neighbor you don’t know other than to wave to and say Hey I’m Eli and am secretly a Bruins fan.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I love this idea. Maybe I could ask them to bring whatever meat they want grilled? We could share side items. They’ll never believe me about the Bruins madness, though.

  16. jennifermccullough says:

    I think you should host a writing workshop at a blog conference. You’d be great! All of us novinces could take a note or two from our favorite CD blogger!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That’s a brilliant idea, Jennifer. If only there was a way …

  17. Jennwith2ns says:

    Do what everybody before me has said.

    OR look up #AwkwardIsMySuperpower on Twitter. Read. Learn. Be amazed. ๐Ÿ˜€

    (Sorry, I know that’s not helpful at all, but . . . #AwkwardIsMySuperpower.)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      One at a time, or all at once?

      I did look up #AwkwardIsMySuperpower on Twitter. I am following three new people now. I had no idea. This is perhaps why I feel super while I bungle life.

      It was helpful, Jenn … in a typically awkward way.

      1. Jennwith2ns says:

        Excellent news!

        All at once would certainly make everything more awkward.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Just what I need – ways to make things *more* awkward.

      3. Eli Pacheco says:

        I did. I did! How awkward.

      4. Jennwith2ns says:

        Nah. It was pretty normal actually. Everybody secretly wants to be this awkward.

      5. Eli Pacheco says:

        Keep preaching the hashtag, sister.

      6. Jennwith2ns says:

        I’m trying to outdo that girl on Twitter that evidently thought of it first. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      7. Eli Pacheco says:

        Just steal it and run with it. This is America.

      8. Jennwith2ns says:

        Obviously I did. Because #AwkwardIsMYSuperpower.

  18. Lisa @ The Golden Spoons says:

    Hmmm. . .I am much like you say you are. More the wallflower type and rarely the initiator. Out of your comfort zone? I like some of these suggestions – yoga class, different worship service, etc. Grab a bag of lollipops and go visit children in the hospital or go sit with some elderly residents at a nursing home.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      When my dad was at Duke Hospital, I used to bring a box of Krispy Kremes at his request. He’d ask me to get him a box, and give a box to the nurses. There was not a KK in Durham at the time, and those things were like gold.

      It’s tough to find something that is both beautiful and awkward, for sure. I love the nursing home idea, and it’s going on the list. Thanks Lisa!

  19. Dana says:

    I have absolutely no ideas to share with you, but I think this is such a cool thing to do! Can’t wait to hear about your beautiful awkwardness next week…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Dana! I will choose something tonight (maybe at random?) and get on it.

  20. TammieB says:

    This is such an interesting idea! Much braver than I. I’m awkward all by myself, I don’t need a situation to prove that. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Hey, you can always head over here and try to talk to my neighbors. See what they are up to in their garden at 2am. Remember the neighbors from The Burbs with Tom Hanks?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s Melissa’s idea. We’ll see how brave I get when I embark on the first challenge. I’ve got the awkward down – let’s see if I can add in a little bit of beautiful.

      I’d definitely be up for a chat with the neighbors. I’ll be stern, even, unless they offer food. At which point I’ll invite you to the garden for a little, too.

      I never saw The Burbs … better check Netflix for it!

  21. Sandy Ramsey says:

    As usual, I’m late. I don’t even know if you’re still talking to me after my whole Star Wars confession. There are a lot of good suggestions here so I really don’t have a lot to add. It’s a terrific idea and I’ll be interested to see how it goes.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      There is no late, Sandy. And by now you know we’re cool over Star Wars. I need to pick a beautifully awkward challenge and go and do!

  22. Kathy@kissingthefrog says:

    I think a yoga class is a the perfect situation to be “beautifully awkward.” Can’t wait for this. You always have such great ideas!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You might be right, Kathy – especially the class at work, wall to mirror with lynx-like nubile millennials. If I survive, it’ll make a decent post.

      This idea was all Melissa’s!

  23. One of my favorite beautifully awkward moments lately was doing zumba with my boys…. Connor was so embarrassed he hid!!! But I couldn’t stop laughing and even though I looked SOOOO ridiculous and awkward, it was kind of a beautiful moment. So…. zumba!? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I could have included Zumba in my “what we’re chicken of” post. Thanks to you, it’s officially on my list! If I survive it, I’ll be sure to thank you.

      1. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the results โ˜บ

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I wonder if any of these will involve a hospital visit.

      3. Haha, I think it’s quite possible….but I hope not!

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        Even so .. blog fodder.

  24. Rorybore says:

    Choose a specific intent each day. It can be simple: like watch the sunset. or more complex: like talk to a stranger – but, just be Intentional
    I saw this idea on another blog and I thought it a great idea towards becoming more purposeful in life.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Nice idea. I love the notion of just being intentional in many more things, even the seemingly menial. The less we use cruise control, the more we get out of the moment.

      We also give more to the moment, too.

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