Everybody's been in some kind of situation where everything is just one big misunderstanding - the kind where someone walks in with no context and things get real awkward real quick. Sometimes these situations are so uncomfortable that everything just gets weirder the more you try to explain it. In that case, it might be best to let the innocent bystanders think what they want.
These Redditors tell the tales of the most awkward situations they had to explain to onlookers. Content has been edited for clarity.
"So it was a few months before my 18th birthday. My friends took to playing Magic The Gathering. I never had any cards, so I wanted to buy some for cheap online. I didn't have a credit card and I knew that asking my dad to use his would only lead to a super angry lecture about wasting my money. I decided to get a Visa gift card.
I buy it, bring it home, and begin registering it online. Just as I think I'm in the clear, a page pops up that says, 'Since you're not 18, a parent or guardian must call the following number to approve the card.'
I think, 'Crap! The money's spent - I have no option but to tell him!'
I begin panicking and write down the number. I walk up to my dad and say these exact, frantic, words, 'Since I'm not 18 and don't have a credit card, I need you to do something for me. I really want to spend my money on this and I know you will think it's a waste, but it's my money. So just call the number, say that you approve and then hand me back the phone.'
Shocked and speechless, he simply takes the phone, enters in the number, and puts it up to his ear. Here's the catch: in my panic, I accidentally wrote down '1-800' instead of '1-866' on the paper. When he put the phone up to his ear, the first thing he heard was a sultry voice saying, 'Wanna talk to hot, local single ladies? They're waiting...'
He slammed the phone closed and shouted, 'What the crap?!' It was an awkward time explaining that.
It took a solid ten minutes of awkward explaining, but he understood once I showed him the number on the website. Surprisingly, he didn't give me much grief about buying the cards. I guess he thought it was better than the alternative."
"I play Airsoft, so in my infant days playing the sport, none of my friends wanted to go to a field/didn't have the money, so we always used the woods behind another friend's house.
There's a tennis club right on the edge of our play area.
On more than one occasion, people have hit balls into the woods and walked into the middle of us playing. Towards the end of my time playing in those times, I had attached a metal flash hider to my weapon (removing the orange tip).
One game, I was trying to be stealthy, as we were playing a game with limited ammo, and I was trying to get my friends out whilst saving ammo. I'm moving through some trees and I hear rustling, I freeze and turn to see what I think is one of my friends moving about. I move up through some bushes and stand up behind my friend saying, 'Surrender!' when I realize my mistake.
I'm standing there, my face turning white watching this guy, who is the same dimensions as my friend and wearing similar clothes, almost pee himself as a real looking weapon is waved in his face. I quickly stammer out 'Friend... airsoft... not real!'
The guy eventually laughed it off after I calmed myself, explained, and dry fired my weapon.
I've also shot another man who I mistook for a friend in an earlier game.
YES, I know removing or painting the orange tip is against the law. I was twelve at the time this happened. At the time, I thought orange tips were only required for transportation."
"I was out drinking with a friend (let's say Joe) and his roommates. Around 2 am, we decide to get some food so we go to a late night joint to order some pizzas. As we're standing in line, Joe notices something on a shelf (I honestly don't even remember what) and shouts, 'It's a midget!' Simultaneously, the door opens and a group of people walk in. At the front of them is a female little person (dwarf). We just turn around back to the counter, red faced. Joe notices us go quiet, looks behind him, realizes his faux pas and halfheartedly tries to recover, not by apologizing but by pointing at the shelf and saying, 'No, really, look, see, it's smaller than most, that's what I meant...'
The group says nothing, but glares at him and we order a pizza and sit down. We chat while we wait and eventually Joe hears what he thinks is one of our orders called out (we were all talking and the place was noisy so nobody else paid attention and we assumed he must have heard something we didn't). He comes back with a pizza and we start eating, until a moment later a big guy that came in with the little woman, taps the back of my friend and says, 'Hey, what kind of person insults someone just for being different and then takes their pizza? You're a real piece of trash, buddy.'
Joe turns around, face full of greasy pizza, and basically said something like, 'What? I don't know what you're talking about, this is Will's pizza!' Will was one of the roommates, and he had in fact ordered a pepperoni pizza, but not under his name. Turns out, the girl's name was Lillian and went by Lil, which of course is the name that my friend had heard called out to pick up the pizza.
I sat there in tears from trying sooo hard not to laugh out loud as Joe (who, remember, is rather wasted) tried to explain through a mouth full of cheese and pizza crust how he heard 'Will' and had no idea her name was Lil, and that Lil seems like a mean thing to call a little person anyway.
Eventually the guy just got sick of listening to him babble and walked away shaking his head, clearly still thinking my friend was a complete jerk."
"So, there was a place I used to go watch local hardcore/punk shows play. The last day it was open (it got bought out by a Mexican restaurant to use as a store room) we walk outside, and two girls are fighting in the rain. It was wet t-shirts and claws everywhere. The respective groups of friends manage to drag them apart, and every thing calmed down for a second.
Then one broke free, clench handed the other in the teeth before her mates got control of her again, and harpy screamed, 'Go have an abortion, hag!'
Everyone was like, 'Ooooh, dang.'
Fast forward to me telling the story the next day after lunch in English to a friend who missed the whole thing. The bell rings just as I'm getting to the end of my entire story, and I'm ready to drop the bomb at the end. The teacher (who I had kind of not been paying attention to) had told everyone to sit down as the second bell was ringing. I then said loudly to my friend Aaron while looking at the teacher out of the corner on my eye (she subconsciously caught my attention): 'Go have an abortion, hag.'
She was 8 and a half months pregnant.
The class fell silent. The teacher was stunned. I was a total nerd kiss-up and here I was, telling her to have an abortion. The silence was broken by a guy in the back yelling, 'OH NO YOU DIDN'T, OH NO YOU DIDN'T, SHE GON GET YOU!'
The rest of the class laughed, I turned and garbled out 'I wasn't talking about... I mean you're pregnant but not...'
I then walked to my desk, and put my head down into my book so hard it made a thump. I was transferred into a different English class the following week."
"Waaaay back during Freshman year (1994?):
A buddy of mine gave me a note that he wanted me to see. It was a note he was going to give to his at-the-time girlfriend to break up with her. He allegedly stayed up all night writing this and was quite proud of the prose.
Now mind you, this was not a 'it's not you, it's me' type letter. It was a 'That's it, I'm done' type letter. And it was looong. Like, about 5 pages and harsh... like, 'Dude, that's some messed up crap to say about someone.'
Now, somehow, I ended up with this note in my pocket. This note, somehow, found its way under the bath mat in my apartment. Being that I lived with my mom, she eventually found this while cleaning later that week while I was at school.
Being that she's all sorts of loving and crap, she sat me down at the table in the dining room, produced the letter, and said (I can't make this crap up. Also, read this with a thick Slavic accent): 'I am sooo sorry that Dan for broke up with you. I did not know you were the gaaay! He broke up with you in such hurtful way. I'm calling his father. When did you decide you were gay? I will still love you, of course, but you don't have to hide it from me!'
I'm serious, it took both me and Dan to sit her down and tell her, 'Mom, we're not a gay couple. We're both very pretty boys, but we are not 'the gay...'"
"Well, I was in scouts on a regional activity, and there was this girl I met who I got a crush on. My closest friend there at the time also had a crush on a girl from the same scouts group, so we both decided to tell them our feelings. He did it in person, and me being too scared to do that, decided to write her a letter.
The girl my friend had a crush on saw the letter beforehand, but then I told her I wasn't going to deliver it. I barely knew her, barely had spent any time with her, and I enjoyed our time together, so I didn't want to ruin that, but she insisted, so she took the paper from my hand and ran off with it. I 'hid' myself inside my sleeping bag, and was hoping the situation would just brush off.
A few minutes later, my friend's crush pops her head in the tent and tells me that my crush read my letter and then started crying. Before I let her speak any further, I panicked, and jumped out of my bag and ran outside because I wanted to apologize.
So I walked up to her tent, which was closed, and on my way to it, my best friend spotted me and started calling me because we had to move to the beach to do an activity the chiefs had planned. I ignored him completely, opened her tent and stuck my body halfway in. When I looked inside she was sitting down, with her sleeping bag over her legs, and naked from the waist up.
I looked away immediately (after making a mental image) and apologized, but just as I was about to move out of the tent, she grabbed my hand, pulled me inside and covered both of us up with her sleeping bag just as my friend reached the tent.
When he got there he looked inside, saw us both under the sleeping bag, and did one of the nicest 'bro moves' anyone has ever done to me. He just looked at me with the 'I understand bro' expression, closed the tent. And shortly after when I heard the chiefs asking about my whereabouts, he made up some lie that I had gone to town to call my parents (at the time cellphones weren't commonplace).
So mine was a 'Oh God, let me explain' situation that actually turned into what it looked like."
"Okay, so I was about 12. My friend and I were sittin' in my backyard. We made a bonfire with the intent of roasting marshmallows. Everything was cool, we made like at least 4 s'mores a piece, and were sitting there making fart jokes when I noticed a LOT of smoke
I said to my friend, Josh, 'Dude...where is all that smoke coming from?' Of course, he was like the fire dur dur hur. Then I was like 'No dude...that's like a LOT of smoke, and it's leading all the way back to the street about 500 feet from my house (we lived in a semi packed suburban neighborhood).'
We both just sat there, looked at each other like 'HOLY CRAP, SOMEONE'S HOUSE IS ON FIRE! LETS RESCUE THEM.' With our marshmallow roasting sticks in hand, we ran as fast as we possibly could to the scene of the fire.
Sure enough, the house was on fire. Fire trucks were there, paramedics, the whole nine yards. The entire family was outside on the street, looking all disheveled. We approached the house, and almost as if they'd practiced it, just about everyone at the scene said something along the lines of 'Oh my God, you jerks. Very funny.'
We looked at each other, saw that we were still holding our marshmallow sticks with a fresh marshmallow skewered, and frantically tried to explain that we didn't do it intentionally."
"One year, I walked the AIDS walk and it starts pouring down rain. We were almost to the finish so a close guy friend of mine and I kept walking and got soaking wet. We planned on getting pizza and watching movies at his place after so we hopped in the car and went back to his place. He gave me a big shirt and some shorts to wear while he stuck my clothes in the dryer and we started the movies.
About a quarter of the way though our Matrix marathon, we started playfully arguing which led to me exploiting his weakness: he's extremely ticklish. Now, he's a bigger guy...he's tall AND muscular. So of course his masculinity was offended when me (a petite chick) tickles him. He did what is only natural for people who cuff people for a living...he handcuffed me to the bed. It was only temporary, but he left me there while he went to check the laundry.
While he runs to the laundry center, his mom (who is incredibly sweet and used to love me) drops by to leave him some veggies she'd harvested from her garden. When nobody answered her knock she let herself in and walked to the room presumably to turn off his tv and there I was, handcuffed to his bed, wearing HIS clothes and hair still damp from the rain. Also, NOT his girlfriend, whom she also knows.
She turned and silently walked out of the room muttering, 'I don't want to know' over and over while I laid there absolutely mortified. He, of course, thought this was the height of hilarity, but I still haven't been able to look his mom in the eye since."
"My brother and sister used to like to play this prank on people where they'd set someone's homepage to an explicit gay men's website. That way, when somebody went to open their internet browser, this is what they were greeted with.
My freshmen year in college, I was attending a night class in which, during the lecture, the professor would post the class notes (that were made before class) to the school's online website. Wanting to have access to the lecture notes to fill in with additional information, I pulled out my laptop. There I am, my freshmen year in college surrounded by women whilst sitting in a middle row (so plenty of people were behind me) opening my internet to access the notes when I'm horrified to find that my web browser's homepage is in fact set to the image of a dude taking it up the butt from another dude whilst his member is swinging around in a circle to the music of Dead or Alive (you spin me right round like a record baby, right round, right round).
The volume was turned up loud enough to attract those who were fortunate enough not to take notice at first. Not knowing how to do anything but close the browser as fast as possible I was left with the whole class looking at me and the people in the back having a good laugh.
All that I could do was apologize and hang my head in shame as half the females in the class probably misjudged my romantic preferences."
"So my sophomore year of high school, I made it into our top band (which consisted of mostly juniors and seniors). I felt really out of place and didn't really know anybody, so I was really excited when this senior girl started talking to me. Anyways, she had a friend who was working on making a movie and was looking for extras, and she asked me to do it with her. Naturally, wanting to fit in and make more friends, I excitedly agreed.
Fast forward: we meet up with a relatively large group of people at this abandoned building/construction zone. Turns out the plot of his movie had to do with terrorists, and we were to play villagers that were going to get shot. We all dressed up, some of us in shawls and whatnot, and at least half the group dressed in all black, with fake (but very real-looking) weapons.
We're all in position, filming, with suspiciously-dressed people running around pretending to shoot each other, and the geniuses behind this production decide to use firecrackers to create the sound of shots. So now, not only do we look sketchy, but we're being really freaking loud.
Turns out, there was a farmer's market going on not even half a mile away (we were actually pretty close to downtown) and someone called the cops because they heard shots fired. A bunch of police officers showed up, created a perimeter around us, and gathered us all up.
Imagine a group of high schoolers having to explain to a group of irate police officers why they're dressed like terrorists and running around with (seemingly real) weapons. Oh yeah, and we were also (unknowingly) trespassing. Biggest 'ohcrapohcrapohcrap' moment of my life."
"Back in high school, I went to a Shakespeare drama camp and made a few friends with the people in my small group. During the 'love scene' workshop, nobody would volunteer to be Romeo so I, being a girl, thought 'Ah, I'll do it' and volunteered. Then, none of the girls wanted to volunteer to be Juliet. So my friend, a guy who we'll call M, did. And we actually played out the scene that way with the genders reversed. The guy running the workshop thought it was hilarious and me and my friend had a great laugh. We started calling each other Romeo and Juliet.
Fast forward a few years and M was in my city for a visit. He and his dad were working construction for the summer and it was my birthday. I invited him to come to my party and gave him my number. He wrote it down on a piece of paper with my name and the words 'My Romeo.' I have a very unisex name.
M's dad suspected his son might be gay (he's not, and now married with a kid) from all the drama camps and the fact that he didn't have a girlfriend. M's dad found the note and freaked out. He had to explain that I was in fact a girl, and tell him the story from before. I suspect that it was not a very well-believed story. Fortunately for me, I was able to help him out and when his dad dropped him off, I ran outside to meet the truck in short-shorts, a low-cut top, and doing my best airhead version of 'EMMM!' squeal 'I'm so glad you came! I missed my Juliet!'
M's father definitely approved of the big-chested girl jumping up and down to see his son."
"On my bachelor party night, my friends confiscated my phone just in case I tried to call my fiancée to give her an update. Then they secretly started texting mostly every number in my phone 'Wanna bang?' and got to about the letter 'L' before a few of them agreed 'Okay, that's enough.'
Now, my phone was full of old numbers of past acquaintances, ex-girlfriends, co-workers/my boss, family members...
What was worse was that after the prank they gave me back my phone but without the battery (so I couldn't make any calls), and when I woke up the next day at a friend's place, I put my sim card in his phone to get the replies, however I didn't know who the replies were from since their numbers were stored on my phone, not my sim card. So I didn't know who took it as a joke and who needed an explanation, because I couldn't receive the messages on my phone once I had the battery since they had already been received...
So I had to apologize to everybody who might have been texted, and explain the whole thing, even though half of them never received it."
"A friend and I actually placed another person into this position.
So we were sitting in my idling car in a Walmart parking lot, being generally bored and wondering what to do. We had my friend's iPod going on our car stereo, although set at a low volume. But since my car at the time was a clunky 2001 Jeep Cherokee with a broken volume knob, we did this using one of those FM transmitters that attached to the bottom of the iPod, and manipulated the volume with the iPod itself.
All of a sudden, a soft Sesame Street song starts to abruptly play on our radio. We were confused until we looked to the car next to us, where a young mother, her very young child, and what I could only presume to be the young mother's doting parents, pulled up right next to us. They seemed to be idling like we were, just talking and having the AC running, and - as luck would have it - they also had an MP3 player with an FM transmitter set to the same channel as ours (if you get a cheap one, they all tend to send to the same four or five station numbers, so it isn't uncommon). We could hear their music just fine, but since ours was set low, they couldn't hear ours.
Then my friend gets a wild grin on his face. He grabs the iPod, changes it to a very NSFW song and jacks up the volume.
The young mother absolutely flips a lid. We could see her fumble for her iPod, yank out the FM transmitter, and pound her radio. Her parents looked shell-shocked and the kid didn't seem too bothered. She looked around, horrified. Our gazes met. We gave her a cheery wave and peeled out of there."