Secondhand embarrassment is like siphoning gas from one car to the next. Except instead of gas it's cold sweats and red blushing cheeks, and instead of a car it's your central nervous system.
Also, you want no part of it.
But it happens. Someone in your field of vision--or, even worse, someone you're interacting with directly--is so supremely awkward that you lose control of your own body so that all 206 of your bones can dedicate themselves to cringing.
It happens in a variety of places, for a variety of reasons, and lasts for anywhere from mere seconds to excruciating minutes that feel eternal.
TeachMeTheWayz asked, "What's the story behind a time when you felt secondhand embarrassment?"
Big Day Spray
"Had an interviewer come into our office for an important role, and she warned us that morning that she had been sprayed by a skunk the previous week so she might 'have a teensy bit of the odour lingering.'"
"Well we got in the interview room with her and it wasn't 'teensy.' We were wincing, coughing, and she looks mortified saying 'oh, oh god, it's really that bad? I've taken 100 showers, oh no.'"
"Super awkward interview."
Playing it Cool
"I was out walking my cat at night and sat down on one of the steps in my complex. My other neighbor comes out for a smoke. I smile and say hi. He lives in a building on top of a small hill."
"He asks who's that next to me and I say "my cat." But he didn't hear me. I kept saying it was my cat. She must have been in a shadow."
"He started walking closer to hear me better and he fell, rolled down the hill and his pants fell off.
I pretended like it happens every day."
Peering Over the Wall
"My boss accidentally kissed her work friend's dad on the lips in front of his wife and daughter and I low-key witnessed this unfold over my cubicle wall."
"The work friend had her parents visiting from Europe and was giving them a tour of our office. My boss was trying to do the European cheek-kiss greeting when meeting the dad, but leaned in to the same side by mistake and got his mouth."
"It was awkward as hell, so I pretended I didn't notice to save my boss from further embarrassment."
Break Room Banter
"A girl at work was talking about how her and her girlfriend went out over the weekend. Not explicitly mentioning same sex anything, just what they did."
"Another female coworker of ours literally goes, 'I've never been with a girl, but I let my one friend go down on me once.'"
"I wanted to die..."
Lunch Break Comes Early
"I started my career in a call center that handled calls from extremely wealthy people and their financial advisors. I eventually moved into a training role."
"Part of the job was to sit connected to a trainee's headset and observe the calls, help out, provide post-call feedback, etc."
"Well, one day, this guy is talking to a big client and his adviser. In the middle of a sentence, he lets out the loudest belch ever."
"That was bad enough but instead of apologizing, this knucklehead says, 'Mmmmm, meaty banana!!!'"
"That was his last day there."
That Should Do It
"My friend was giving a 15 minute presentation in 10th grade English class an about 4 minutes into it says, 'Yeah I don't feel like doing this anymore' and sits down."
"The teacher just stared at him agape like she couldn't believe what happened and asked him if he would like to continue. He was really red from embarrassment and flat out refused to go back to his presentation."
"The teacher got livid and started threatening with detentions and was shouting all kinds of insults at this poor shy kid because he didn't listen to her or respect her authority."
"I was embarrassed for the teacher."
"A teacher at my school was in a rope pulling contest as part of a fun school activity."
"It was teachers vs students, performed in front of the rest of the school. Said teacher was extremely strong and essentially won for the teachers despite competing against a lot of male student athletes."
"But he wasn't super well-liked, so when all the teachers were giving celebratory high fives, he was left hanging."
"I worked for an engineering and land surveying company. My aunt was the office manager. We were supposed to go to a company wide 401k meeting."
"One of our summer hires (seasonal work) did not want to attend. I can understand why someone who is only working there for 3 -6 months would not want to go."
"My aunt proceeded to ream this guy out for 20 minutes, ending with 'You just don't give a sh** about this company!' I wanted to crawl under a desk."
Reading the Room
"Kid I knew in high school was a total Sonic kid. Had a hat shaped like Amy's hairstyle that he'd wear and everything."
"One day he was a giving a presentation in History class and was rushing through it. Teacher told him to relax and slow down. Without skipping a beat he says, 'Sorry, I like to go fast.... if you know what I mean." and winks.'"
"Total dead silence as the teacher responded, 'I don't want to know, thanks.'"
Hard to Get
"I was watching my buddy talk to his crush, he got a little 'excited' during their flirtatious conversation and when she was leaving and went to hug him goodbye he declined bc he didn't want to poke her with his wood."
"She was hurt and confused while he was pained. I loved every second."
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Have you ever found yourself in a conversation, when someone brings up a topic they aren't too familiar with, but you are?
This gives you the opportunity to sweep in and share your knowledge on the subject.
While one would imagine that your relative expertise on the subject might result in thanks and appreciation, more often than not, the reaction from your friends is "why do you know that?"
Awkward as it may feel at the moment, there are very few people who don't carry some unusual areas of expertise and trivia on subjects most others are most likely unfamiliar with.
Redditor quadruple_b was curious to learn the random facts others have shared which wound up bringing their conversations to a halt, leading them to ask:
What is a really weird fact, that makes people say "why do you know that?"
Octopuses... they're just like us
"Octopuses are usually very antisocial but when they’re under the influence of ecstasy they are more willing to spend time around each other or even hug other octopuses."- Stab_That_Ukulele
The body compensates
"When you are starving, and have little body fat left, your body can grow almost fur-like hair to insulate itself in absence of fat."- A_Stupid_Fish29
"Your body’s normal functions can slow down to accommodate organ disease."
"For example, I have 40% lung function, but my O2 is completely normal at 98% saturation."
"They didn’t discover any lung disease until I had a ct scan done for other reasons and my lungs happened to show up in that."- nocturnal_numbness
What this would do for humanity!
"Cheetahs are so genetically similar that supposedly you can draw blood from one and inject it straight into another one without any health issues in the receiving animal."
"I.E. no blood type or clotting factor variations."- 0ttrbig cats cat GIF by BBC EarthGiphy
So strange, that it makes perfect sense?
"Coca-Cola can help with blood stains."- Buzzed_Woody
Good thing they don't need a toilet...
"Guinea pigs average pooping around 100 times a day."- morgandanso
"In Phoenix, Arizona, you are legally allowed to bury a dead body on your property without asking for permission/getting a permit/etc."
"The city asks that you contact them beforehand so they can send someone out to stake for gas/electric lines, but it’s not required."- hedalexa12digging sarah chalke GIFGiphy
"If provided with a mirror, dolphins will admire their own genitals."- Cymiril
The brain is a delicate creature
"There is a chemical called MPTP that specifically destroys dopaminergic neurons in the brain."
"About 3 days after someone ingests it, they get Parkinson's disease."- SheilaBoof
Gruesome with good intentions?
"In the 1960s or 70s, the Swiss Air Force dropped severed chicken heads all over the forests of Switzerland."
"The chicken heads contained the rabies vaccine, and the airdrop was to vaccinate wild foxes against rabies."- EnormousPurpleGardenfennec fox GIFGiphy
One never knows when learning this newfound information might become useful.
Especially for parents of children eager to buy a Guinea Pig...
As relationships get serious, it's understandable that one will want to know as much as possible about their significant others.
That is, until we make a discovery about them which might forever change how we view our relationship.
Sometimes, it might be a discovery that might just take some getting used to, even if we'd have been better off not knowing.
Other times, however, this newfound information makes remaining in this relationship untenable.
Redditor Mr_MightyMouse was curious to hear what people wished they'd never learned about their past and present relationships, leading them to ask:
"What is the one thing you found out about your S/O you wish you never did?"
He was anything but faithful
"He cheated on me."
"When I had cancer."- stolliolli
Her one true love... wasn't me
"She drunkenly admitted to her friends that her ex-boyfriend was the one and she’ll never get over him."
"Still not sure how to handle that information."- FreeFoot_
Complicit without knowing it.
"She was an opiate addict."
"I was funding her addiction unknowingly."
"I was helping her destroy herself and I was too stupid to realize that."- Local64bithero
Moving way too fast
"Not that it was that traumatic as we were only dating a few weeks, but she started real deal crying when I wouldn't put her on my life insurance."- Toasted_Bagels_R_Gud
Someone needs to sharpen their aim...
"I hang up a towel to dry my hands in the bathroom."
"Sometimes I would find it on the floor and think hmmm the towel fell off the rack."
"TEN YEARS GO BY."
"One day my husband casually says 'you are always so quick to do laundry, like if I accidentally pee on the floor and clean it up with the towel it is gone so quick'."
"I'm like what.... what?"
"So yea, I've been drying my hands with pee towels for 10 years."
"FML."- kperkins1982·max greenfield towel GIFGiphy
A club no one wants to belong to
"I was dating my ex for two years and she drunkenly confessed that she had cheated on every bf she had ever had."
"We broke up not long after."
"Then found out she was also cheating on me with multiple people from the office."
"I’m now happily married!"
"She also hid her then current bf from me when we first hooked up, he was asleep in another bedroom and we was in a different bed."
"She told him I missed the train home and needed a place to get my head down."- JancingSalmon
A stronger connection than they knew.
"He once dated a girl that he was getting fairly serious about until he showed up to a family event and she was there."- rowenaravenclaw0
What was he up to?
"He had a notebook of every detail of my life, including menstrual cycle, and also kept all the details of my friends and family members."
"Even ones I had never mentioned."
"And we were only together for two months."- totalfranmove
The news no one wants to hear
"That she had Cancer, which ultimately took her."
"That is literally the only thing I found out about my late wife that I ever regretted."- d20gamerguy
A happy anniversary indeed.
"This is NSFW."
"She gave me her phone to look for an address and make a restaurant reservation for our 7 year anniversary."
"I don't know why she gave me her phone, but I guess it was just destiny."
"Someone sent her a video on Whatsapp, and the next message says 'tomorrow again?'"
"From the same person."
"Now I am not one of those people who checks my partner's phone, I don't like that."
"But I was curious and clicked on it. It was a full 2 minute video of her hooking up with someone"
"Needless to say there was no anniversary dinner."- kmiaw
Even though everyone here says they wish they'd never learned these things, one has to imagine some of these people are, deep down, grateful.
As they may have been saved from trouble or pain down the line.
Even if it doesn't make these discoveries any easier.
It's ok to be naughty.
But sometimes... you wanna watch yourself.
Naughty can lead to trouble.
And we're talking adult naughty.
Maybe it's time we discussed it all.
Rule #1... Better safe than sorry.
Redditor Black_Hole_Baken-00wanted hear from all the people willing to share sexy secrets that might leave plenty of people blushing. They asked:
"What’s your most shameful NSFW moment?"
Elevators. Stairwells. Planes. You name it. I've shamed it. No Deets...
don't worry I wasn't naked...
"I was watching adult videos in the middle of the night. After I did my deed I felt a slight pain in my balls, like someone flicked their finger on them. The pain increased to the point that I had to walk it out. After some minutes I began screaming from the pain when my parents came to my room (don't worry I wasn't naked) seeing me in pain on the floor."
"At that moment I thought I did something wrong but was to ashamed to tell them.My dad rushed me to the emergency room where I was rushed in and my pants were removed. Laying there they gave me a nose spray which halted some of the pain. The doctor then started fondling my family jewels while the nurse stood next to me reminding me to breath because the nose spray stopped the automatic breathing if that makes sense."
"All the time my dad is standing there looking and the only thing I could thing at that moment was oh no do they think my unit is small. After that the doctors brought me to another room while my dad was in another room. While going trough the halls I told the doctor I probably know the cause and explained that I was pleasuring myself"
"I don't remember the doctors response but I felt truly ashamed like I was the only person doing such a thing. Later the doctor told me I had testicular Torsion which is caused by the balls not being attached to the sack so I'm living in fear of it happening again to this day."
"WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING??"
"In the 90's/early 2000's we bought a pub and moved into it. It had a big screen downstairs and we lived above, but Sky Sports was so expensive for the business account we basically hooked the giant screen to our box upstairs so whenever the sport was on it would show on the screen downstairs."
"So we couldn't watch TV upstairs except what was being shown on the big screen when this was happening. Anyway one Sunday evening around 10pm after the sport (bearing in mind the sport finished at 6pm) I was freely browsing through channels because the giant screen has been wound up into the ceiling and my 14 year old self came across some softcore adult videos"
"Curious, I started watching it. Suddenly there was a big buzz from the phone that connected to downstairs, I answer it. It's my mum with laughing in the background. "WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING??" I was like "errr.. I was just flicking through channels.." "Well you've stayed on that one for a while haven't you?"
"I forgot about the small TV in the bar area. It was still on and was showing the entire pub what my horny self was watching. I was mortified. Luckily my mum never brought it up again and neither did any of the customers thankfully."
I Gotta Go
"When i was 12 my younger sister walked in on me playing fondle the dongle. I told her I couldn't pee and was trying to force/pump it out. She told my mom out of worry. Said I needed a doctor to help me pee. When Mom confronted me about what my sister was saying i then had to explain it to her."
"My mom walked in on me. The look on her face went from incomprehension to shock to utter disgust over the span of a second or two. She stayed calm and explained how it wasn't appropriate, but I just remember how unsmiling and tense she was, totally unlike I'd ever seen her. Decades ago but still cringe so much recalling it."
Oh. My. God. Y'all are animals. And I'm LIIIIVVVING for it!
“underwear”surprise disrobing GIFGiphy
"My dad caught me editing the game files of The Sims to replace the female underwear textures with 'underwear' that just makes them look nude. Looked up reference material and edited them in photoshop. That a lot of effort to put into something so depraved."
"When i was about 10, my parents were out so I looked up some adult videos on the family computer (mistake number 1), then I kept hearing noises and thought someone was in the house so i ran to my room and called my dad, leaving to computer on (mistake number 2)."
"My dad rushed home and went around the house looking for an intruder, no one was there, it was just my next door neighbors (we have a semi-detached house) then obviously saw what i was looking at on the computer and asked me about it… i told him the intruder must of broken in and searched it up :( "
"In middle school, my friend got her boobs and she wanted me to touch them. We probably spent 30 minutes everyday before school until the librarian caught us and we were suspended."
I wonder if she knew...
"My HS gf and I were having sex in the sideways laying down cuddling position. Mom walked in to show me a new Christmas decoration. To her it looked like we were just cuddling but she sat on the bed inches away from me and proceeded to talk about the decoration for like 10 minutes. I wonder if she knew. They never cared much about that stuff so I think she was just oblivious."
"I was violently ill. In my fiancé’s house where we were living. While he was at work, his dad was working from home. I needed my mom to take me to the hospital. I screamed for my father in laws help, who entered the bathroom to my nude body, puking at t in his bathtub. He called my mom for me, and we never spoke about it."
Well I need a cold shower and more vodka.
Don't have sex with people attached to someone already.
There is no good excuse.
There is no reason that makes it worth it.
Most of the time the "reasons" are lies.
RedditorVirtual_Welder_4525wanted to hear from those willing to spill a little tea about some bedmates. They asked:
"People who knowingly have slept with someone who was in a relationship, why did you do it?"
Why do we do it? I still don't know what I was thinking.
Hot. Not.Feeling Dumb Jim Carrey GIFGiphy
"I was young and it made me feel hot/desired . It was dumb."
"She told me that she was in an open relationship but turned out that she was lying."
"Yeah, I had the same thing happen. Girl told me she was in an open relationship, I slept with her, then she told her boyfriend about it. So the next day I get a call from her boyfriend, threatening to kick my @ss."
"Story does have a happy ending though. I had text history of our conversation leading up to the hookup, as well as her texting me about how good it was after I had left. I sent him screenshots, showing proof of her saying she was in an open relationship. He dumped her and apologized for believing her."
Come to your senses...
"I was freshly 18 working a restaurant gig and the attractive shift manger took an interest. Hooked up at work a few times on overnight shifts. One day his gf came in to eat and I realized they weren’t as on and off as he said. Wish I could stay I stopped there, but it happened once or twice more before both of us came to our senses. I think he was 27? Ended up getting my number and sending me inappropriate texts for the next three months after I quit that job. I still feel slimy."
"I was 23 when it started and it went on for years and I felt like literal scum afterward every single time, but the sex was good, and I hated myself, so I figured it was the best I could do and I deserved to feel like crap. I justified it because I wasn't the only one he was cheating on his wife with, he had two or three other girls in rotation. I was just dumb and selfish and self sabotaging."
GrossBasketball Wives Ugh GIF by VH1Giphy
"'You were gone! He was here!'", Shadynasty."
Humans will just do it anywhere. Just like pigs.
"I was young and a virgin. She was gorgeous and sweet. She spun me a story about how bad her relationship was and I was hooked."
"I was 20/21 and had finally gotten out of an abusive household and was barely financially stable and not at all mentally stable. He was A LOT older than I was (his son was older than I was by a couple of years) but he did generally treat me pretty well."
"It went on for 4+ years. We were far from an ideal couple, even had he not been married, but overall it was a positive thing in my life at a time when I really needed it, and it became a safety net. It ended years ago and I feel deeply ashamed of it and my actions."
"But I've grown enough to know that I'm not that same person anymore and I'd never repeat it. I did learn that a poly relationship definitely suits me better than a monogamous relationship - but it can and should be done ethically and morally."
Her wife found out...
"I was in love but also young and selfish and could easily ignore that she was married/she was AGGRESSIVE in pursuing me for years (flying across states to see me, tracking me down at restaurants I would frequent, telling me she loved me and her marriage was in shambles, texting me from new numbers every time I told her to leave me alone). We started the stereotypical long-distance emotional affair that went into sexting/sexy pics. Her wife found out."
"I was young and drunk, with low self esteem and a crippling need for validation. She came onto me and I found it hard to say no. I justified it to myself as I knew their relationship was on the rocks anyway. I figured, well it's basically over. They just aren't formally broken up. They did split up a few months later. I'm not excusing it, I knew it was wrong."
"Didn't know any better. Horny stupid teens do stupid horny things. Wouldn't happen nowadays."
Oh the things we do for a hot roll in the hay. Be better people.