More grows in the garden than the gardener sows. -Old Spanish proverb
Question #85363 posted on 02/05/2016 4:23 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Do any of you find temple recommend interviews to be a little awkward sometimes? I mean just a simple straightforward interview with no need for discussing issues. I had mine with my bishop, and he had all the questions memorized, so he just looked me in the eye steadily through every question & my responses. I have no problem answering honestly, but where am I supposed to look? Do I stare back into his eyes the whole time? That seems really weird. Do I look around the room? That seems weird too if he's not. Maybe just look down at my hands sometimes? And then I wonder, what do I do with my hands? Am I crazy to feel awkward in this situation? Some people have said they feel it's an uplifting experience, but I can't wait to be done every time. Any tips on this type of situation would be appreciated.

-Socially Awkward

A:

Dear Doctor,

This was how I felt on my blind date last Saturday.

I am a very awkward person.

I don't think I can help you.

-Tally M.

A:

Dear aren't we all?,

Yes, I agree that it's awkward. The lack of established how-to-behave-during-a-temple-recommend-interview rules makes it tough to know what the bishop expects you to do. I think it's important to learn to make eye contact when someone speaks to you, even when it's awkward—and the interview only lasts two minutes, so it shouldn't be that bad. Usually, I find that the most comfortable way of responding is to clasp my hands in my lap and meet the bishop's eyes most of the time, with an occasional glance at my hands or at the binder of blank recommends he's holding. Alternatively, you could do one of the following:

  1. Practice your staring-contest skills before the interview so that you can stare at him unblinkingly, thereby making him feel uncomfortable. 
  2. Explain that you'd like this to be more like a therapy session. Then lie down on the couch in his office and close your eyes.
  3. Look askance at the yummy dinner his wife has brought to him and occasionally smack your lips. Interrupt the law of chastity question by saying, "Can I have half of those potatoes?"
  4. Inexplicably turn your chair around and force him to ask the questions to your back.
  5. Fix your gaze on his left knee and assume a constipated expression.
  6. Stand on the chair and demonstrate various yoga poses in response to each question.
  7. Sit cross-legged on the chair with your wrists on your knees, your fingers curled into an O-shape, and your eyes closed. Hum on a single note for most of the interview.
  8. Wear sunglasses so that he can't tell where you're looking.
  9. Bring a picture of Jesus and ask him to hold it in front of his face.
  10. Bring a picture of David Bowie and ask him to hold it in front of his face.
  11. Knit a scarf during the interview, which makes it easy to know where to look and what to do with your hands.

If none of those suggestions works, I'm afraid you're on your own. They're the only ones I've tried.

Heidi Book