When my parents came to visit my Mom wanted to sing karaoke in a private room at a Japanese restaurant in San Francisco. She made my Dad sing, and then she tried to make my partner and me sing. My Dad indicated that Mom wouldn't let us out of the room if we didn't sing, so we choked through one song, and will never listen to Little Lion Man again. Honestly though, what was so hard about that? I should have just belted it out.
Often awkwardness is caused by the threat of total ego melt-down and a frantic attempt to prevent it (aka an inner block). The thing that might happen if awkwardness doesn't scramble it is usually something we want and fear, or something that will shamefully expose. Looping inner dialogue, stiffness, constricted breath, reduced accuracy and lack of charm are the regrettable ways we try to hold things together. If that social survival system worked, it wouldn't be called awkward.
What can be done to stop this uncool nightmare?
1. Slow down your breath, especially the exhale. Slow down in general.
2. Ask yourself, what is literally true and compare that to what your mind and emotions are telling you. Act accordingly.
3. Do not try to be cool. Try to be grounded instead.
4. Do not push or force. Back off and lighten up (especially mentally).
5. Develop your ability to be in flow - find a fun activity that requires your full engagement and remember how it feels - replicate that feeling next time you are tempted to be awkward.
6. Find humor. If you can laugh about awkwardness, you are less likely to be awkward.
7. Find out what you really want, why you fear it or why you are ashamed (or whatever the underlying survival issue is).
8. Shake it out - inhale and squeeze all your muscles, then exhale and shake out the tension.
9. Make a plan - what system can you put in place for yourself to be more comfortable when you are awkward? Is there a personal mantra you can use to shift your perspective?
10. Let it go. You are only as awkward as what you hold onto. Practice letting it go, put it down, have some fun.
Good luck out there.