What is embarrassment?
TheSite.org tackles that feeling of red-faced horror we all know only too well.
Embarrassment is the self-conscious feeling we get upon realising we've done something really goddamn stooooopide, ridiculous and/or dishonourable like snogged a cat or pole danced at our local biker's club. As social animals, we are hopelessly obsessed with what other people think of us. Embarrassment surfaces when we feel we have done something that may lower us in others' estimations, especially in front of those we wish to impress.
Causes of embarrassment
You can be embarrassed by a whole host of people and situations:
- Things you have done (puked on your dream lover/ flashed on camera);
- People you know but wish you didn't (parents/ colleagues);
- Things you don't know how to do (adventurous sexual positions/ riding a bike);
- Personal stuff (fanny farts, BO, piles and STIs);
- Money (or rather a lack of it).
Scale of embarrassment
Embarrassment can range from a minor blushing affair to something you get riled for indefinitely. It really depends on the person how much embarrassment you feel over certain events. However, in the interests of this story, TheSite has put together The Scale of Shame, with examples you can try out for yourselves.
- Low level shame
Owning the Greatest Hits of Take That, Barry Manilow and John Denver (Anna)
- Mid level shame
Pissing yourself during a technical drawing exam, and having to sit on a foam chair to soak it up (Bridget)
Getting caught on videotape dancing your heart out at a 70's-themed party to S Club 7's Don't Stop. (Simon)
- High level shame
Streaking through a uni campus after a heavy night out, diving into a freezing duck pond, and putting up with the expected effects on the male anatomy (Ewan)
Getting naked at parties, with so-called 'mates' who then post the pictures on the uni website (Stuart)
Dealing with it
Next time you do something which makes you want to crawl under a shell in beetroot-coloured embarrassment, remember:
- It's temporary and will go away;
- It's probably a lot worse inside your own head. Most people will not even notice;
- With help from TheSite.org, you will be just fine.
Read the comment policy
Use our free question and answer service and speak to an expert!