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How to Overcome Embarrassment

There’s a reason why we say we’re “dying of embarrassment” — because while we’re in the midst of an embarrassing episode, dying really does seems like the better option.

No human being I know is immune from these moments; however, I seem to have a knack at collecting a large variety. After a recent incident that made me want to hide in a corner of the world without wi-fi, my writing and spiritual mentor gave me great advice. “It’s okay to be embarrassed,” he said. “It’s cleansing. This one has already passed, and passed nicely, like a kidney stone after the first day. You may relax.”

Of course that didn’t stop me from feeling embarrassed some more. So after collecting some nuggets from friends and professionals, I compiled these tips below to really deal with embarrassment in real life. I hope they help you feel better the next time your client, colleague, or date tells you that you’re wearing toilet paper on the sole of your shoe.

20 Comments to
How to Overcome Embarrassment

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  1. OK, I once stood in line to get Gene Simmons (KISS) autograph and I asked for a kiss and he turned me down. There – I have outed myself twice in one weekend. Either I am getting old and senile or else more comfortable and accepting with who I am.

  2. Loving this post! The first line made me think whether the reason why dying feels like a better option than embarrassment is connected to our ancestors’ times when an embarrassing action actually could lead to consequences worse than death (to be excluded from the community, to be left alone, which is like a prolonged death and much more painful). Your point 8 further clarified my thoughts. Embarrassment is related to fear of exclusion/failure in the society/community, and definitely as you say, better dealt when seen for what it is.

    Just pondering.

  3. Thanks for sharing your embarrassing moments. It helps me overcome the emotional embarrassment of purchasing a POS used car from a dealership for my son’s 16th birthday only to have it run for less than 2 hours after signing contract. Sadly,overcoming the gullible fool moron feeling won’t necessarily provide my son an automobile or restore my finances though.

  4. The best defense for overcoming humiliation is to think before you leap, open your mouth and speak or do anything else stupid that could lead to embarrassment. That’s the theme of HOW TO BE EMBARRASSMENT PROOF by Carmen Anthony Fiore, check it out at Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader store. It’s
    reasonably priced at $2.99 per download. It’s based on personal experienced and personal application. It’s worked for him, no reason it shouldn’t work for you.

  5. My favorite technique is reminding myself I have the courage to be imperfect.

    Just like all the other unique snowflakes out there.


  6. I got completely sexually frustrated while working as a mental health nurse. It was my that was the issue at hand and a few things I had going on myself. Completely embarrassing. went red anytime ANYONE spoke about sex in front of me, seriously! scarlet! getting over it but rumors that I go red when someons says ‘comes’ still haunt me! Still not sure how to get over this one. Just started a new relationship and im terrified.

  7. I’m so glad i found this post, just had one of the worst embarrassments ever, and not just embarrassing, but i fought for myself, made a scene and made it even more embarrassing, can’t stop thinking about it now but well being an ass really is my best technique, i know i’ll wake up tomorrow on another day, more to come but hopefully no embarrassments for a lil while lol

  8. Thanks for this posting. It has really helped a lot in a short time. I just had a terribly embarrassing moment while driving today. I just got my license this year after getting over (temporarily) my phobia of driving. I mistakingly cut a guy off in a pick-up truck while turning into a fast-food restaurant and he followed me, pulled up beside me, scolded me for it then sped off all while the woman in front of me was trying to order. I felt really awful and I can’t stop thinking about it. I wasn’t even hungry after that. I had some errands to run, but I was so embarrassed that I came straight home. I just felt that I could do the guy (and the city of Savannah) a favor by getting off the road. Needless to say point #5 helped me quite a bit.

  9. Is this all the same as professional embarrassment? Not presenting your presentation to the high standard everyone expects of you , losing your compusure and place thus looking like a twit not a professional ?? How do you face people who are subordibate to you again?

  10. I will add more than the following on request.


    Risk-taking is essential for nearly any type of growth, yet not in a foolish absolute way. Very foolish is being afraid of being afraid. Healthy fear is essential and courage best operates somehow within it.

    With many persons their largest fundamental social problem is embarrassment, however. Things done to get out of it are a large part of civilization. Not many teachers have students stand up and recite or express opinions. Many students hide to avoid this entirely. Few are taught such courage, and humor and other living skills are avoided in allegiance to status quo traditionalism—the way things are “spozed to be.”

    Home becomes a haven away from harsh realities actually often caused by fear of embarrassment. This should not mean much abandoning safety and meeting basic needs, yet many needs are not met without some risk taking, yet this is often squelched or re-channeled into conformities of stringent inhibition. Consequently, too little is done in creative living, and in a virtual sense, many wear straight- jackets.

    There are, however, persons and circumstances both callous and arrogant and hard to win over, some foolish to immediately try, or at all. Suppressions affecting them often result in persons unable to laugh at themselves while aiming for perfection, a merely theoretical construct which limits pleasure greatly. These persons unwittingly create havoc and hell for themselves. It is doubtful that no one has never occupied this circumstance to some degree, but it sure can be agonizing in extremes.

    Education in improvisation and the impromptu would help greatly, yet spontaneity is drilled out by the spozed tos. Freedom for oneself and needed self-care is a responsibility much neglected. It requires much continuing hard work, but not an entirety of it, and some experiment about necessities and wants, and extremely importantly,not making literally fatal mistakes so that worthwhile mistakes can never never made.

    This leaves out the importance of sensing ones own feelings.

  11. So glad I found I found this post. I have terrible cringeworthy moments and have constant random flashbacks to them. It’s nice to know I’m not on my own, it gets things into perspective.

  12. God bless you! I really needed your words of wisdom today. I’ve been beating myself up about something that I know may or may not actually be embarrassing to me. For me, I try to remember my mom’s advice:
    “You’d be surprised how little people think of you, if you knew how little they think of you.”
    Which brings me back to the realization, my embarrassment over what I did might all be in my head anyway.
    I’ll just try to live from this day forward and not be embarrassed about this post. Ha!

  13. That stuff doesn’t help at all when your happy and the rest of the people you either are in class or work with feel angry towards you and no one can explain why. Then the level of discomfort being so great, no matter how much being in the moment you are, being called a retard past present or future and over 20 people agreeing cooperatively. Can produce something intangibly disconcerting. That’s embarrassment. Like unsurity isnt as close to shame as true scapegoated embarassment where exit or getting attacked are the only options.

  14. Mine was a drug related imbarresment.
    Knowing it wasn’t me doing my stupidity but meth was talking for me. It’s a bit more complicated than other stories. But I am a good hearted individual with a passion in the profession I am in. But damn it as soon as it’s in my system I turn to a complete other person. And it never fails. I understand my main issue is the drug. But some do not know it’s easier said than done. I’ve pushed some of the best people in my life away & the mistakes will now linger on both sides as long as I live. I do not tell them “why” because of shame. & if I try they are no longer there. I’ve came to a point we’re I’m lost in discomfort & now I can’t help but dwell on it. People it really is a dark & hopeless feeling. But I slap a fake smile each day. With all that said I am living in a Swamp of imbarresment. To sending nude pics to women friends who like & hated. To talking inappropriate to again who liked & who hated. Must I remind you, I’m far from that person. The drug does the talking for me & I hate myself for it. It’s my stupidity that I think I deserve for using but I wish it was that easy to stop & forget it all happened. People can forgive but they won’t forget. Thank you all for taking the time to read this.

  15. Guys u kno I recntly faced an humiliating moment in my school I don’t really kno how the hell will I face my classmate and my teachers in school I really m not willing to go to school I don’t kno what people must be thinking about me I am just too sad about it can plzz anyone help me out with it.

  16. Great article. In addition, sometimes with embarrassment (and other things, romantic relationships, etc.) as time passes we tend to not remember the situation so clearly. In some cases, it’s good not to have a good memory, so that we don’t remember our embarrassing situations in detail.

  17. I’m so embarassed this morning
    It’s my boyfriends and my 3 month anniversary
    I called him husband by mistake
    I’m so embarassed
    I definitely want to crawl under a rock
    But he came over and kissed me
    I think it’s ok now

  18. Thank you for writing this. It was so nice to read and made me feel better about all of the embarrassing things I’ve done. Just nice to know that no one is perfect. Sometimes I get the feeling that I’m the only imperfect person in the world or that I simply never learn to just be quiet. But being quiet isnt really a solution and trying to avoid embarrassing moments isnt either. It’s just a part of life and how you react to it is more important. Reading your article brought me back to reality and made me laugh :)

  19. It was nice to hear about everyone’s embarrassing stories lol but seriously. I embarrassed the hell out of myself by sending a totally humiliating message a few weeks ago to someone. I freaked out because I thought I might’ve been rude to them for the smallest thing that I guess didn’t matter much. I don’t think it seemed to matter to them really either. I didn’t say thank you for a couple things. My Mom said, “you didn’t say thank you to them?” I said, “no..” That’s when I started to freak out and I made the message I sent to them sound extremely awkward and embarrassing for them, obviously. I said sorry afterwards for the way it sounded in another message. It was truly humiliating. I still can’t stop thinking about it but at least I didn’t cry yesterday or today like I have been off and on the past few weeks.. Now I’ve been trying to just think a little more positive and tell myself everyone will make mistakes and get humiliated sometime in their life. It’s normal. Still don’t like it though but oh well whatever.

  20. I had my most embarrassing moment of my life. I was told to prepare a 2 minute briefing with 3 minutes for questions. There were 18 briefings planned for the 1.5hr time slot. I hate briefing, but prepared for the 2 minutes and was prepared for the questions. My husband had just returned from deployment and this was a new area of research for me. Needless to say, I was not as prepared as I should have been, but I was thinking I could wing the 2 minutes, no problem. I was so wrong!! I was giving g the last briefing of the day and realized that everyone else had extra slides, pictures, movies, etc and giving a history of how their proposals fit into their other research. By the time it got to me, I was mortified that what I had prepared to say was not appropriate or detailed enough, so I thought I’d try to wing it. It turned out to be terrible!!! I was a rambling fool, repeating myself,and totally lost all composure. Today I’m so embarrassed and don’t want to go in to work. I gave a terrible briefing in front of my colleagues and leadership. I feel like a total idiot and don’t know when I can redeem myself. I’m always nervous, but typically push through it and calm down after the briefing starts. However, I’m terrible when I’m unprepared for a briefing. Anyway, I’m mortified!!!! I know I will eventually recover, but right now, today, I absolutely don’t want to face my co-workers. :(



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