Cringe is as cringe does. Even though the internet is full of wonderful things like cat pics, wholesome local news, and articles written by yours truly, it’s also home to the vast and spooky wilderness where you’ll find the most bizarre and cringe-worthy posts. And it’s the members of the ‘Cringetopia’ subreddit that bears the heavy burden of documenting the cringiest examples to share (and publicly mock!) with the world. These cringetopians have a duty to show us what to never ever do while at the same time providing us with some hilariously weird content.
We’ve collected some of the best recent posts that will make your face contort, your mind reel, and your lips say, “Oh God, why?! Please, no!” Remember to upvote the cringiest pics that hurt you emotionally (and maybe even physically). Oh, and if you haven’t had enough internet for today, then be sure to check out our previous posts about the ‘Cringetopia’ subreddit right over here: Part 1 and Part 2.
What the 1.3-million-strong ‘Cringetopia’ community teaches us is that cringey posts are more common than we might think. And we’ve all no doubt done embarrassing things that we still remember in the shower or late at night when we should be sleeping. However, ignoring these feelings and running away from them is far from healthy.
Bored Panda had a talk with a couple of the subreddit's moderators to learn more about how the massive community is managed, as well as how to live with the cringey things that we've done in the past (spoiler warning: it's to take responsibility for your mistakes and live life with courage). Scroll down for our interviews with them, as well as for our chat about embarrassment with award-winning social psychologist Vanessa Bohns, the author of the forthcoming book 'You Have More Influence Than You Think.'
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Fjallmadur told me that the best way to confront embarrassing and cringey situations is to fully admit to them. "A person should own up to their mistakes and embarrassments because it makes them a better person. If you're too concerned about doing something that may make people laugh at you, then you're never going to live," the mod noted to Bored Panda that being afraid of embarrassing ourselves can't have a wider impact on how we tend to live our lives.
"The jocks think the geeks are cringey, and geeks think the jocks are. And everyone thinks bronies and furries are cringey. Someone will always be there to make fun of you," Fjallmadur said, urging people to not mind the critics. "Live your life the best you can."
Meanwhile, redditor Tejmar, another 'Cringetopia' moderator, told Bored Panda that the people behind the community are absolutely awesome and laid back. "I can say this mod team is one of the friendliest and easy-going groups I've been a part of," they praised their colleagues.
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Earlier, I spoke with social psychologist Vanessa about other aspects of embarrassment as well. She noted that we ought to embrace our embarrassment instead of shying (or running!) away from it. Not only does it help our reputation, it also helps us accept the fact that we can’t always be perfect.
"We spend a lot of time and effort presenting an ideal version of ourselves to other people. When something happens that contrasts with the image we’ve been projecting—when we say or do something that shows we actually aren’t as graceful or as smart as we’d like people to believe—we feel embarrassed," Vanessa told Bored Panda previously.
"Discovering you were wrong about something most everyone else around you has long known to be true is one of those moments. In that moment we learn, 'Wait a minute, maybe I haven’t been presenting the image of being smart or worldly that I thought I was presenting all this time,' which is embarrassing,” the social psychologist noted that embarrassment occurs when reality doesn’t align with our view of ourselves. In short, embarrassment denotes a contrast between our subjectivity and objective reality.
“One thing that’s interesting about embarrassment is that, for as much as we might experience it as painful in the moment, it’s actually very socially adaptive. Being embarrassed signals to other people that you care about what they think. And that actually draws people in to you.”
The expert continued: “So blushing, burying your head in your hands, laughing, acknowledging how embarrassing something was, are all totally healthy ways to react.” So while embracing our embarrassment is the healthy (and socially useful) way to react, trying to cover up our own faults and mistakes creates the opposite, negative effect.
“The unhealthy way to react is to pretend you’re not embarrassed, that you didn’t make a mistake, or to get angry. Those things undo the positive effect that embarrassment typically has on other people by conveying insincerity and pushing people away rather than drawing them in.”