“OMG, it was sooo embarrassing!”
When something embarrasses you, your cheeks might turn red and you might feel like you want to disappear – or you might even wish you had a time machine to go back and change what happened!
You might feel embarrassed if you:
- have offended someone
- put your hand up in class and got the answer wrong
- have done something clumsy in front of a crush
- have done something you think other people will laugh at or judge you for
- are meeting new people
- feel uncomfortable about body changes related to puberty
Other people’s behaviour can embarrass you too, like if someone teases you in front of others, or a friend forgets to keep a secret and tells the whole class, or at a party you laugh so much you wet your pants!
Whatever it is, try to remember that feeling embarrassed is a normal part of life and happens to everyone from time to time. Here are some tricks to help you get through and be okay when you’re feeling embarrassed.
Coping with embarrassment when it happens:
- Smile and laugh – Sometimes the best thing to do is have a laugh! Life wouldn’t be as fun or as funny without people goofing up or embarrassing themselves. So, if it’s not that serious, why not crack a joke – that’s what confident people do. If others are laughing, you can laugh too, seeing the funny side can help you feel like it isn’t such a big deal. Remember, the reason why people laugh at embarrassing moments is because they’re usually relieved it didn’t happen to them!
Play it down and move forward – How you react after an embarrassing moment really makes a difference to the way other people think about what happened. If it doesn’t seem to be a big deal for you, others won’t see it that way either, so just shrug your shoulders, smile and move on. If someone teases you, maybe you could suggest they “Get over it” and change the subject.
- Own up and apologise if you need to – When you’re embarrassed, it can be helpful to come right out and say so. It’s important to know that what seems really embarrassing to you may not seem that way to other people. But people usually admire others who own up, so let others know you understand you made a mistake, say sorry, forgive yourself, and then let it go!
Coping with embarrassment if it just won't go away
What if it keeps coming back to you and you’re still feeling embarrassed long after the moment has passed?
- Talk it through with someone you trust – Sometimes embarrassment can leave you feeling stressed and worried, you might even feel like you never want to go back to school again. If this is what’s going through your head, it could be really useful to talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling, and what to do to feel better. It can be hard to ask for help and talk about embarrassing stuff, and you may be worried people will laugh or not take you seriously. It’s important to know there are people who can support you, take you seriously, and understand that it’s hard to talk about embarrassing problems. At 0800 What’s Up we are non-judgemental and we’re here to support you to find a solution that works for you. Why not give us a call – we’re here for you!
- Don’t be too hard on yourself – It’s important to remember that just because you feel that something was really embarrassing it might not seem that way to others. We can be very hard on ourselves, and you might be causing yourself a lot of upset when you don’t need to. Going over and over what happened in your head and putting yourself down doesn’t help either. Find a way to face what happened, learn from it, forgive yourself, laugh about it and, let it go!
- Apologise if you need to – Everyone makes mistakes! If you think you really have messed up, or hurt someone’s feelings, you could say sorry to them and tell them how bad you feel about what happened. It’s also good to think about how you can learn from the mistake so it doesn't happen again.
- Share your story and connect with friends – Use your embarrassing stories to connect with your friends and entertain them. Mistakes and embarrassment often make the funniest stories, and laughing about what happened with friends can help you feel a lot better. Everyone with a sense of humour has an embarrassing story or two to tell, and sharing these stories can help you relate to and comfort each other. You could even write your own comic strip or funny short story about what happened to share with people you know.