Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness

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Penguin, Feb 13, 2018 - Psychology - 304 pages
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New York magazine's "Science of Us" editor explains the compelling psychology of awkwardness, and asks: what if the moments that make us feel most awkward are actually valuable?

Have you ever said goodbye to someone, only to discover that you're both walking in the same direction? Or had your next thought fly out of your brain in the middle of a presentation? Or accidentally liked an old photo on someone's Instagram or Facebook, thus revealing yourself to be a creepy social media stalker?

Melissa Dahl, editor of New York magazine's "Science of Us" website, has. After a lifetime of cringing, she became intrigued by awkwardness: a universal but underappreciated emotion. In this witty and compassionate book, Dahl explores the oddest, cringiest corners of our world. She chats with strangers on the busy New York City subway, goes on awkward friend dates using a "Tinder-for-friendship" app, takes improv comedy lessons, and even reads aloud from her (highly embarrassing!) middle school diary to a crowd of strangers.

After all of that, she realizes: Awkward moments are opportunities to test yourself. When everyone else is pretending to have it under control, you can be a little braver and grow a little bigger--while remaining true to your awkward self. And along the way, you might find that awkward moments unite us in our mutual human ridiculousness.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bell7 - LibraryThing

Melissa Dahl is admittedly no stranger to awkwardness, which probably drives her fascination with it. Starting with a working definition of awkwardness as "self-consciousness tinged with uncertainty ... Read full review

Contents

chapTER
1
SECTION
2
cHAPTER 2
21
cHAPTER 3
48
Your Growing Edge
69
chapTER 5
97
chapTER 6
114
chapter 7
129
chapter 8
151
cHAPTER 9
177
chapter 10
199
chapTER 11
228
AcknowledgMENTS
255
index
277
Copyright

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About the author (2018)

Melissa Dahl is a senior editor for New York's The Cut, where she covers health and psychology. In 2014, she co-founded NYMag.com's popular social science site Science of Us. Her work has appeared in Elle, Parents and TODAY.com. Cringeworthy is her first book.

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