We sometimes sacrifice a little bit of ourselves to avoid looking too awkward or uncomfortable in social situations, but sometimes, we can dig ourselves into a hole that’s so big, we can’t get out of it, and even when we try, it just ends up being more cringe and uncomfortable than you could imagine.
Below are stories of the most cringe-worthy things people have done while stuck in an awkward situation. Check them out! A source to even more can be found on the last page.
Back in primary school I had a crush on a girl, her younger brother was kind of a friend, so I’d hang out at their place every once in a while.
Thinking it would be weird to ask if I could hang out, I’d go for a run past their place and hope they’d notice me and invite me in.
It worked, but most times I had to turn back and run past at least 4 times before they’d invite me in.
The first time I took a bus in a new city, I pulled the stop request cord at the wrong stop. Instead of just being a normal person and telling the driver that I didn’t mean to do that, I got off the bus and walked for an hour in the rain.
I ran into a past coworker at a bus depot, had nothing really to talk about and it got awkward fast. A bus came and the guy said this is me, it was the one I was waiting for too but I didn’t get on cause what the hell would happen if I did. Made it worse as he got on I said drive safe.
I was at a club once, the DJ was taking requests to make a request you had to fill out a slip of paper and give it to him. Anyways I do this walk over and hand it to him and he was like: “Alright man, nice” and held out his hand.
For some reason I thought, ‘he wants to hold hands’ and held his hand for like 10 seconds (fingers interlaced even) and just looked at each other the whole time. Then it hit me that he wanted a high five and I got super embarrassed.
I rode my bike to college one time and had no bike lock. So I tied it up with an extra shoe string I had hoping any passerby would see it was “locked” without investigating too closely. As I’m leaving class I see a couple students standing by my bike taking pictures of my lock job and laughing. I sat like 50 yards away in shame waiting for them to leave before I retrieved my bike and left.
In French class in high school everyone was talking over the teacher and she just couldn’t get control over the classroom and she was getting increasingly frustrated and so was I. Just a whole room full of swirling talk and stuff. I wanted to tell everyone to quiet down but for some reason it got messed up inside my brain and I barked like a dog.
Or, sort of like a dog? Just a deep guttural noise. Everyone stared at me. The teacher asked if I was okay. I was so embarrassed. Bonus points: I did this on two occasions. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
I spent an entire Thanksgiving weekend pretending I understood Korean, because I felt too awkward to correct my friend’s Korean mom who assumed I was Korean too.
I accidentally locked myself on the roof of my office’s parking garage … it was my first week there and I didn’t know the doors closed behind you and locked, I’d left my access badge on my desk.
Rather than call for help and be “that guy”, I … climbed down the side of the parking garage.
My friend’s mom rolled my hand up in the window of the car while I was in the backseat. It hurt really bad but I was too awkward to say anything so I rode for about 10 minutes with half of my little hand squashed and hanging out the rolled-up window. I think eventually I said “um… ow” or something to alert her to the situation.
When I was in high school, I had a huge crush on a girl who worked at the drive-thru of my bank. I would go to a different branch, withdraw some cash and then deposit it at her branch’s drive thru in hopes she was working. It wasn’t until much later that I realized she could more than likely see I had made a withdrawal for the exact amount I was depositing just minutes before.
I’m really bad at conversations with strangers when I can’t hear them well.
Person: “Where’s the washroom?”
Person: “Where’s the washroom?”
Me: “Haha yeah”
Person: “No No, do you know where the washroom is?”
Me: “Oh haha”
I was staying the night at a friend’s house when I was around 10-11. Had to take a crap and when I was all done there was no toilet paper, an absolute nightmare. I checked under the sink, in the cabinet, everywhere. My friend was outside and the only people in the house with me were his mom and his older sister that I had a crush on. So I certainly couldn’t shout out that I needed more toilet paper. So I weighed my options. Towels, or cotton balls.
So I wiped my butt with cotton balls.
When I was a freshman in college, I saw a production of some Shakespeare play, and developed an instant crush on the lead actor. I saw him at lunch the day after the play, and my friends urged awkward, shy, me to approach him and say how much I enjoyed his performance in the show. I’m not sure if they really thought this very attractive senior was going to have any interest in me, but apparently I got talked into it, because I marched over to his table and he and all his friends fell silent as I approached.
I stood there trying to think of what to say, now that I was actually there. I opened my mouth and said, “Very nice!” (I was a teenaged girl, but I said it like Borat, unfortunately). He had no idea what I was talking about, and didn’t say anything, so I tried again.
“You were great last night!” I said.
As soon as the words left my mouth, his friends lost their minds and started whistling and laughing. I was mortified, and slunk back to my table awkwardly. I swear I still cringe about this, almost 30 years later.
Allowed my neighbor to call me the wrong name for 7 years because I never corrected him the first time he said it wrong.
I was doing a job interview in high school. The interview was going well and The lady asked me how important is hygiene to you?. During this moment I forgot what hygiene meant and shouldve asked. Instead I tried to act relaxed and said Im cool doesnt bother me.
I didnt get the job.
As an undergrad, I was invited to a Halloween costume party. I only knew the person who invited me, and everyone there seemed to know each other, so I was like the odd man out.
After about 30 minutes of pounding jungle juice and standing around awkwardly, I went outside to escape. I wanted to go home, but my friend had driven me. So, instead, I found a gap in the shrubbery around the house’s foundation and hid there, watching other drunks come and go from my cloak of concealment. This is was all fine and well until a girl noticed me and I guess startled because she screamed and made a scene. I booked it out of there and walked, in costume, a couple miles to a convenience store to call a relative to come pick me up. That was the last time that friend invited me to a party.
When I was younger I had a friend who lied a lot. I went to her house one day and she had those little colorful gobstoppers unwrapped all over the floor of her room. I asked her if I could have one and she kept insisting they weren’t gobstoppers but wouldn’t tell me what they were. I figured she was lying and when she left the room momentarily I popped a few in my mouth. Turns out they weren’t gobstoppers, they were plastic balls from a game. I kept them in my mouth for probably 45 minutes until she left the room again just so she wouldn’t see.
I’ve stayed in a bathroom stall for 10 minutes because I didn’t want to walk out with another person in the bathroom.
I saw somebody open a roll of pennies before by smacking it on the drawer. I had never opened one before and I had two customers watching me as I smashed pennies all over the place. Now I just tear it open instead of trying to be cool.
One time in middle school I was standing in a line in this little building where the school sold concessions at lunch. There was another line right next to me (to my right) and in that line there were two girls talking with each other, just slightly ahead of me. One of the girls had some writing on her shirt on the chest and I was bored and trying to read it.
I overhear the other girl tell her “That little kid over there is staring at your boob.” So instead of just being normal, and saying “Oh no, I’m just trying to read your shirt.” I instead start staring at the wall past her, like staring into the distance is just a normal thing I do. I let people walk around me in the line because I’m so committed to my new staring gimmick.
What an idiot I was.
I saw a colleague I actually like in the supermarket. I did not want to stop-and-chat and engage in weird small talk in a shop.
I proceeded to awkwardly walk backwards when I spotted her in the aisle and whispered slightly loud to my significant other at the time “I hope she can’t see me”. She turned her face, looked at me and said “I can see AND I can hear you!”
Sometimes when I’m alone in a strange place and don’t know whether I should go sit somewhere by myself or join a group of strangers, I visit a bathroom, sit in the stall for a while, go outside, visit another bathroom and repeat until a friend shows up or class begins.
Now that I think of it, it is hilariously awkward.
I was walking in the hallway in middle school and dropped my binder as the cool kids the grade below me were walking by. Instead of just picking it up I decided it would be cooler to “barely even care” and kick my binder across the hall, towards the classroom I was going in. It instead spread it’s contents everywhere.
I got a random bout of social anxiety once while having to go in to a department store to pick up my dad’s order of tile and was just so unwilling and afraid to actually talk to an associate that I called my dad and took the phone up to the employee at the counter while I just awkwardly stood away from them and looked at paint.
I hugged a job interviewer when I was 16. The interview had concluded and she opened the door and stretched out her arm towards me to indicate I was free to go. For some reason I saw it as an invitation to hug and we had the most awkward one-armed hug/back pat ever.
I said ‘bye’ to someone and we both walked toward the elevators in the hospital. It was just too awkward for me so I proceeded to take the stairs down 12 flights instead.
I bought tweezers to groom my eyebrows (I’m a man). When my female friend saw them in the bag in my back seat, she asked who’s they were and I was too embarrassed to say they were mine so I said “I don’t know, somebody must’ve left them,” and she took them for herself and I had to buy new ones.
I took a huge bite of donut right before someone asked me a question during a work meeting. Instead of waiting or holding up a finger to say ‘just a moment,’ I tried to swallow it and started choking to death.
I was really anxious for one of my first adult meetings that I was doing so I looked up the person I was meeting with and when they came in to shake my hand I introduced myself as them.
They thankfully laughed it off and just said, “no, that’s my name”. I cringe every time I think about it.
During college in the middle of the semester, I somehow walked into the wrong classroom. Even though I didn’t recognize any of the students, I assumed some of the familiar faces that I’d normally see were running late.
Five minutes into the class I realized I wasn’t in linear algebra but in some sort of Spanish for advanced kids class. I was too dumb to walk out and ended up even dumber as I remained seated until the class was out.