How to Deal with Embarrassing Moments at School
Do you ever feel like school is just a series embarrassing moments with some homework thrown in? Here’s how to deal.
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Hi, my name is Diane and I’m an awkward human. Over the years, I’ve embarrassed myself on such a regular basis, that I’m pretty sure I’ve lost the ability to feel shame. There are so many embarrassing moments to choose from, I honestly don’t even know where to start. Maybe you think I’m exaggerating, so let me tell you a little story so you know that I know what I’m talking about here.
My first semester in college, I got invited to grab midnight breakfast with a group of upperclassman I had recently met. I was sitting next to the guy I had a huge crush on and he made me laugh so hard that chocolate milk literally shot out of my nose. I didn’t know that was actually possible, but there it was. I had sprayed milk out of my nose all over the table. Milk that had traveled through my sinuses landed on these people’s FOOD.
Wait… there’s more. I was so shocked that something that horrifying could actually happen, that I gasped. Which made me start choking on the remaining milk that hadn’t managed the journey through my sinuses. I started coughing so hard that I couldn’t breathe.
Even as darkness crept upon the edges of my vision, I became aware that every one of the 1,000 people in the cafeteria were staring at the red-faced Freshman hacking up her lungs and projecting chocolate milk out of her every facial orifice. I jumped up from the table and ran to the bathroom so I could at least die in peace.
Why would a person tell a story like this in a public forum? Because, surprise twist ending, I did not die. Although I very much wanted to once I realized I actually had to go back to the table to get my purse before I could slink back to my dorm.
And guess what? No one said a word. Some kind soul had wiped the table clean of the contents of my sinus passages. They had even gotten me fresh plate of food that had’t been defiled by chocolate nose milk. I actually became really close friends with those people and, believe it or not, even ended up dating that guy I had a crush on. (I know, right?!)
Would you like to know my pro secrets for dealing with even the most embarrassing moments at school? I’ve got 6 for you right here:
1. Deal with an embarrassing moment by owning it
You might want to hide or run away, but trust me when I say that’s just delaying the inevitable. If you can laugh at yourself or make a joke, it will be over much sooner. If the awkward moment caused any problems, go ahead and apologize. It’s sure to be a horrifying few minutes, but if you can let everyone have their fun, they’ll get over it and move on.
For example, after the milk tsunami, I sat down quietly at the table. There was a natural pause in the conversation, so I said, “I can shoot eggs out of my nose too, wanna see?” They just about died laughing and I new I was in.
2. Move on
Once you’ve owned up to your awkwardness, don’t dwell on it. Some people deal with an embarrassing moment by bringing it up or apologizing excessively, which actually just makes things more awkward for everyone. Once you’ve acknowledged your mess up, try to move on.
3. Be nice to yourself
Don’t continue beat yourself up about an embarrassing moment privately either. If you catch yourself saying mean things in your head, switch it to something you would say to a friend. Would you tell someone else, “Oh my God, you are such an idiot! You’re never going to make any friends! What is wrong with you?!”
Of course not! You would give your friend a big hug and tell her, “Don’t worry about it. It wasn’t that bad. They’ve already forgotten all about it.” So make sure you’re doing the same for yourself.
Related: How to Beat the Bully in Your Head
4. Deal with embarrassing moments by talking it out
If you still can’t get the shame out of your head later, go ahead and talk to someone. Having someone else tell you that it isn’t a big deal, or hearing about their own embarrassing moments might help you feel better.
My roommates definitely got a kick out my horror story when I got home, which inspired them to talk about their own shameful moments. I figured if they all survived humiliation, I could too. Plus, sharing our embarrassing moments and laughing together brought us closer too, I think.
5. Know that others aren’t judging you as much as you think
Since we tend to focus so much on our flaws, we assume everyone else does too. But guess what? They’re too busy focusing on their OWN flaws to notice yours! I promise, people think of themselves way more often than they think of you. Score 1 point for self-centeredness!
Plus, even if people do notice your screw up, there’s no guarantee that they’re judging. Most people will sympathize or try to help. Some people will be jerks about it, especially in high school, but their opinions are irrelevant. So there!
6. Embrace your imperfections
If you have crazy high standards for yourself, you’ll never live up to them. Everyone has to deal with embarrassing moments. That includes Jennifer Lawrence, Taylor Swift, and you. Expecting otherwise is simply unfair.
I’ve had to just accept that I am a complete dork who is often clumsy and socially awkward. It’s part of who I am. Maybe I don’t give off the allure of poise and class that I’d like to, but the #1 compliment I get from people is that they feel really comfortable around me. And you know what? I’ll take it!
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