Being human is super embarrassing. No matter how suave or sophisticated or aware you may be, you are going to be betrayed by your body or mind sooner or later.
Below are fifteen awkward moments nearly every single human on earth can relate to in some way. Take heart in the knowledge that you are not alone!
15. Public gas. And we don’t mean the utility.
Everybody has had food poisoning, a food allergy, or that extra bean burrito that’s produced more than your fair share of flatulence. Maybe you were in yoga class, maybe you were doing a presentation for your executive team, or, God forbid, you were in an elevator with your crush. You are not the only one, and you survived. Treat yourself to some hummus (er…maybe not).
14. Reflexive reciprocation.
You’re at a restaurant. The server brings you the food and and says, “Enjoy your meal!” and you say, “You too!” And then you spend the next hour hoping you’ll just spontaneously die.
We’ve also done this on the phone when a standard conversation rhythm mirrors an intimate one. Your boss says, “Okay, great! So you’ll have that project done by this evening?” And you say, “I sure will!” And your boss says, “Thank you! Have a good night!” And you say, “Good night! I love you!” Then you hang up and pray they did not take that as a form of sexual harassment.
We probably all first experienced this around six years old, telling our first crush, “I think you’re pretty/handsome” and being told “EWWWW gross, go away! COOTIES!” We take that heartbreaking experience with us to each bar and club and church social for the rest of our lives.
12. “He’s standing behind me, isn’t he?”
This usually happens at work. You’re in the break room or the parking lot, complaining about the new girl, or the old jerk that’s been there forever and seems to get away with murder on the regular. And then your audience freezes, their eyes widening. And you just know that clueless moron is behind you, and just heard every word you said.
They may have deserved it, but you still feel like an awful person.
11. “Momma! That lady is so fat!”
The first time a child in your care points to someone in a wheelchair or declares that another woman in the waiting room has a big tummy, you want to die. You may even slightly push that child away from you so they think he belongs to somebody else. Don’t tell me you haven’t done that.
10. “I’m sorry, sir. Your card has been declined.”
You might have overdrawn your debit card in college, or been ripped off and had your card frozen. You may have simply left your wallet in your other purse. But everybody has had the terrible experience of having to pay for something and coming up short, whether someone stole your financial means from you, you were careless, or you just forgot. It is humiliating no matter who’s at fault.
9. That thing that should’ve been a DM. Okay, so this is a first world problem, but everybody with social media has at some point accidentally posted something that was meant to be private. And then everyone who follows or friends you has to comment, “Uh, did you mean to tweet your cell number/nudes/private opinion of me?” UGH.
8. Accidental offense.
People who really did mean to be offensive don’t care, but if you inadvertently upset someone, you can’t help but feel bad. Even if you are really cautious and overly police your own language, you will one day trigger somebody. If you make a joke about a rhinoceros and someone solemnly intones, “My favorite uncle was killed by a rhinoceros,” you’ll know the feeling.
You can’t possibly read everyone’s mind or know everyone’s sore spots, though, so the best thing to do is to stop, simply apologize for not understanding, and offer a chance to talk about it. If someone wants to continue being put out after that, it’s a personal decision that has nothing to do with you.
If you’ve completely lost control of your limbs due to fatigue or standing in direct proximity of your crush, you know how mortifying this is. Taking a face plant or dumping the entire contents of your book bag in front of people you’d like to respect you always sucks (and frequently hurts…physically), but is also quite universal.
6. “Uh, your zipper is down.”
Maybe you were in a hurry, maybe you gained some weight, and maybe the damned thing is just broken, but nobody likes having their fly down. You get that awkward underwear peakage, and the very real possibility of being taken in for indecent exposure, depending on how well your trousers conceal your, er, nethers.
Forgetting someone’s name seems like the worst infraction, but everybody does it. People love to have their names remembered, but don’t worry if you can’t retain it the first couple of times you see someone. In fact, those people who get it immediately come across as kind of creepy, right? That’s how normal it is to forget. Cut yourself some slack.
4. UNLIKE UNLIKE UNLIKE.
Oh damn, no. Nobody likes doing this. Whether you are rapturously enjoying your crush’s pics, or stalking someone you hate, when you accidentally hit “like”, you want to actually die. And you just KNOW they had notifications turned on. You KNOW it! ARGH!
3. Anything that involves sexual situations and your parents.
Whether you walked in on them, can hear them, or worse — if they walked in on or can hear you, it’s mortifying. Even watching a movie that has a sex scene with your parents is the worst. Just be grateful that this means you’re normal and have evolved properly to create a healthy gene pool. If we were totally comfortable with this, it would not bode well for the species. So keep being skeeved out; it’s for the future of humanity!
2. Reply All.
Boss: Have we made a decision about Jeanine, team?
HR person: Yes, she has numerous infractions. We should probably terminate.
Supervisor: I concur. I can’t talk to her one more time. It’s too hard.
Bob in accounting: Fire her ass. She microwaves tuna!
Jeanine: Um, Bob, that was a company-wide Reply All.
Bob’s Brain: MAYBE IF YOU DIE IN TWO MINUTES, YOU WON’T EVER HAVE TO SEE ANYONE EVER AGAIN.
And the most awkward moment ever: running into an ex-anything.
If you’re not expecting it, running into an ex-boss, ex-spouse, ex-significant other, or even an old doctor or teacher is WEIRD. Even if there was no bad blood upon parting, seeing someone out of context is startling. If they see you back, it’s so much worse.
Because now you have to talk.
“Hello? Is it you?!”
“Oh!! Hi! Wow. Yeah, ha ha, just getting eggs. How about you?”
“Ah, yes, heh, I too require eggs.”
“Wow, small world. Hey. Okay, um, I have to take my eggs back to my, uh, house.”
“Oh yeah? I live in one of those, too.”
“Okay, great! Wow! Bye!”
Truth be told, this is every conversation I’ve had with every human being I’ve met, but it’s SO MUCH WORSE when it’s an ex-something. Because what if they text you after? What if they start stalking your photos? WHAT THEN?!