There are so many things that separate and divide us—politics, religion, favorite flavors of ice cream—that it can sometimes seem impossible that human beings are capable of getting along at all! Society, suddenly, seems on the precipice of constantly breaking down. However, there is one thing that deeply unites humanity—awkward moments.

Hear me out. It’s those moments when you tell someone ‘hi’ without them saying anything back, having your stomach rumble in public, or forgetting an acquaintance’s name (it’s way too late to ask them now!) that truly gets all of us cringing in embarrassment. Reddit users have been sharing these super awkward situations that everyone can relate to in a viral thread, so we’ve picked out the best of the best for you to enjoy, dear Pandas. Upvote the awkward moments that you’ve been in and share your own in the comments.

Meanwhile, I reached out to Vanessa Bohns, an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Cornell University and the author of the forthcoming book 'You Have More Influence Than You Think,’ to learn more about the embarrassment that we feel in awkward situations and how's it's got its upsides. Check out her full interview with Bored Panda below, dear Pandas.

#1

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you start to tell a story in a group but in middle of sentence realize that no one is actually listening and ever so slowly you get quiet and hope no one took notice.

aSadGirlsTongue , unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
3 months ago

Whenever I see this happen, if possible I make eye contact/nod/show interest so they can finish their story to me. It's the whole 'treat others how you'd like to be treated' thing

View More Replies...
View more comments
#2

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you've had multiple interactions with someone but you can't remember their name but it's gone too far to admit you've forgotten it so you just have to call them love or mate forever.

Ells_Bells1 , unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

Pantea
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

And this goes well only for a little while, because of course, every damn time a third person appears at some point and you have to interduce them, admitting that you don't know their name.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#3

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you’re having a conversation with someone and you don’t hear what they say so you ask them to repeat and they do. But you still don’t hear it and ask them to repeat again and they do. And you still don’t know what they said. Do you ask them to repeat again (and maybe still not hear it)? Pretend you heard it and nod your head and hope it’s an appropriate response? Stab yourself in the eye with a pen to create a diversion and change the subject?

california_chrome , unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
3 months ago

The last one lol. I often have to ask my dad to repeat himself because he is a mumbler, but he gets annoyed if you ask him to repeat more than once.

View More Replies...
View more comments

Vanessa, from Cornell University, actually had some good news for us—being embarrassed (and not hiding it!) can actually help us connect with people much better. Hopefully, it’ll convince you to embrace blushing, feeling embarrassed, and being in awkward situations.

“Displaying signs of mild embarrassment can actually be socially constructive and make people feel more sympathetic towards you in the face of your faux pas,” Vanessa told Bored Panda that embarrassment (arising from whatever social situation we might be in) can actually be the perfect opportunity to strengthen your relationship to the people around you.

#4

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread Seasonal allergies during Covid-19.

chapterpt , Unsplash Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
3 months ago

Or asthma/copd ^-^ i get dirty looks from ppl when i cough (I'm wearing a mask, it's not covid!)

View More Replies...
View more comments
#5

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you try to contribute to a conversation and someone cuts you off multiple times.

Vintage_Nightmare , unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

Pantea
Community Member
3 months ago

This isn't awkward. It's just rude and at some point I'd tell them to stop it.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#6

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you're next in line at the grocery store with your mom and she leaves you to "just get one more thing" and the anxiety and awkwardness builds because you're up and she's nowhere to be found.

-eDgAR- , unsplash Report

Karri Berkowitz
Community Member
3 months ago

My husband does this to me, always when I don't have my purse/$

View More Replies...
View more comments

“I don’t necessarily think you need to take pains to hide it,” the expert added that we ought to avoid running away from our embarrassment or pretending that you’re not feeling like you’re feeling. If we avoid these feelings, our social capital is likely to crash.

Meanwhile, embracing the awkwardness, embarrassment, and cringe tends to make us more accepted by others because they value our honesty.

#7

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread Standing there while two people talk about something you don't know about.

afrocircus6969 , unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

SuperChicken
Community Member
3 months ago

Oh, geez. You stand there and smile, until you remember a good excuse to excuse yourself.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#8

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you think someone waves at you so you wave back, but they were waving at someone behind you.

ladies-pmme-nudespls , unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
3 months ago

Wave again, look past them, pause, nod, walk away....

View More Replies...
View more comments
#9

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread Walking through a doorway only to catch your clothes on the handle and have it slingshot you backwards.

katyisanut , pexels (not the actual photo) Report

James016
Community Member
3 months ago

Been there, done that.

View More Replies...
View more comments

However, there is something that we should be aware of and that’s not letting our embarrassment turn to shame. A healthy dose of blushing and awkward mumbling is fine, but deep-seated shame is problematic in the long run.

“What you want to be careful not to do is to let embarrassment morph into the more destructive self-conscious emotion of shame, where you feel so badly about a minor mistake that you start to think there is something wrong with you and feel the need to completely disappear and hide away yourself,” Vanessa said to Bored Panda.

So go on, dear Readers! Go get yourself stuck in awkward situations. Feel the full burn of embarrassment and get closer to other people. Just remember not to let shame overtake you, ever.

#10

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you're walking on a sidewalk with 2 other friends and you're the person that does not fit so you have to stay behind them.

jairoandres92 , pexels Report

Kerstin Fransen
Community Member
3 months ago

:( Why is this so relatable

View More Replies...
View more comments
#11

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you swallow water wrong and it turns to a coughing fit in 2020.

burnswhenipeeee , pexels Report

James016
Community Member
3 months ago

It will be the smallest drop that triggers a coughing fit.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#12

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread You ever clogged a toilet in somewhere that wasn't your house.

Tutlessss , flickr (not the actual photo) Report

Donkey boi
Community Member
3 months ago

When we were doing treks in the jungle, at base camp they had some super expensive eco toilet that does everything a sewage works does in one unit. My wife got really ill and singlehandedly destroyed the thing. Because she's such a shy introvert when she told me I went straight in there, waited around half an hour, came out and declared to the camp 'I've busted the shitter!'

View More Replies...
View more comments
#13

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread Having “happy birthday” sung to you.

bailsgrhm , pexels (not the actual photo) Report

Yoga Kitty
Community Member
3 months ago

This! I find it really super, super awkward having happy birthday or something else sung to me and I always tell this very openly. However, people (especially my choir, as you can imagine) INSIST on doing so nonetheless - because, hey, it is my birthday and that is the custom. Yes, it is my birthday - shouldn't you, maybe, do something nice for me? Not something I really dislike very very much? What is the point in this, do people enjoy it so much making the birthday girl feel uncomfortable?

View More Replies...
View more comments
#14

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread Watching a sex scene with your parents.

MyRushmoreMax08 , unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

Marc
Community Member
3 months ago

But that has something to do with education first and foremost. In my parents' house, sexuality was something that was rather hushed up. My own children were brought up quite differently, and sexuality is something quite normal that no one has to be ashamed of. We talk about it openly, because we want our children to be able to talk to us about sexuality and the problems that go along with it. Probably it also depends on the society. My wife, who is American, was initially very irritated by how much naked skin there is on German television, for example. You simply have to say that the USA is a lot more prudish in that respect. And so there will probably be differences from country to country.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#15

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you're walking and almost trip for no reason and look back at the invisible stick that you tripped on.

Martyscurll5 , pexels Report

Downunderdude
Community Member
3 months ago

Yes! Why DO we all do this?

View More Replies...
View more comments
#16

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you walk out of the store empty handed, feeling like you've just stole something.

Yelloweq , unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

Sagtiya Sieelan
Community Member
3 months ago

Really gets me...

View more comments
#17

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you’re saying goodbye to someone, and then you both end up walking in the same direction.

Or when you turn and walk into a wall with people watching.

whatthedeafearhears , pexels (not the actual photo) Report

SuperChicken
Community Member
3 months ago

With the second one, that's when I start making fun of myself to alleviate the humiliation.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#18

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread Farting while coughing or sneezing.

mia-lefleur , pexels Report

Samantha Lomb
Community Member
3 months ago

Just wait till you get older and peeing while coughing or sneezing becomes a thing. That is worse

View More Replies...
View more comments
#19

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread Saying “hello” or “how are you” to somebody and getting 100% ignored.

2Alien4Earth , unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

Karri Berkowitz
Community Member
3 months ago

I always say "or not" and then ignore them

View More Replies...
View more comments
#20

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When someone sits beside you in metro or bus when there are hundreds of seats available.

siva-pc , pexels Report

Sagtiya Sieelan
Community Member
3 months ago

Absolutely.. i hate these ppl..

View More Replies...
View more comments
#21

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread Having your stomach rumble in the middle of a quiet class/meeting.

JSuperStition , unsplash Report

troufaki13
Community Member
3 months ago

I would say something like "come on, stomach, don't embarrass me like that" and hope they will laugh

View More Replies...
View more comments
#22

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread Bumping into an inanimate object and apologizing to it.

StCecilia98 , unsplash Report

Vasana Phong
Community Member
3 months ago

Natural reaction, nothing to see here

View more comments
#23

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you're finishing up at the checkout and the cashier puts the notes on top of the receipt and then coins on top of that. Then the next person steps up and you're fumbling, trying to disassemble the stack in your hand, gather your shopping, say thanks and move away at the same time.

Dominoodles , unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

Samantha Lomb
Community Member
3 months ago

This is why I love paying with card.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#24

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you're walking behind someone that has a slightly slower pace than you, so you start to pass them, but then have that awkward moment when you're walking next to them before you cut in front of them.

-eDgAR- , pexels Report

Kesam
Community Member
3 months ago

It's more than just awkward when you're going for a walk in the woods and you're a guy walking behind a slightly slower female. Scary for her, uncomfortable for me. I usually jog past her to get it over with as quickly as possible and say something friendly when I pass her. Still. Uncomfortable. 😬

View More Replies...
View more comments
#25

When you hold the door for someone but realize that they're actually kinda far away so they have to do the awkward skipping thing and you feel awful.

-Greenlung Report

Miss Cris
Community Member
3 months ago

This should be higher !!!!

View more comments
#26

Pooping at someone else’s house.

AlarmingNectarine Report

Black Pug Puppy
Community Member
3 months ago

I just wait till I get home

View More Replies...
View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#27

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you reply to a stranger who says hello, but then realize they were on the phone and not speaking to you. Happened to me just yesterday and I didn't get any sleep last night as I couldn't stop reliving the moment.

TheCobras , unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

SykesDaMan
Community Member
3 months ago

I'm guilty of doing this on purpose and even continuing part of the discussion until I can't follow anymore (get into specifics) but I do it quietly so I don't get heard... Silly I know, but it is what it is...

View More Replies...
View more comments
#28

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread Not hearing what the other person said, so you just nod and smile, praying it wasn't a question.

CrispyChocolate , pexels Report

Robert T
Community Member
3 months ago

Three rather deaf old ladies walking down the street. "Windy isn't it", said the first. "No, it's Thursday", said the second. "So am I, let's all go and have a cup of tea", said the third. :D

View More Replies...
View more comments
#29

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you're walking past coworker and you've already said hello earlier. Everyone's making that weird flat smile.

CammyMM , unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

Kesam
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

That weird flat smile is an artform unto itself! It takes moments to learn but years to master! 😁

View more comments
#30

Coming out of a public toilet after laying a beast and there is someone waiting to go in the cubicle.

Diggerinthedark Report

Colin Matthews
Community Member
3 months ago

Oh yeah-or leaving a cubicle that was filthy before you got there and someone is about to go in behind you...

View More Replies...
View more comments
#31

When you run out of things to say during a conversation and you’re not quite sure how to end it.

Ronin12793 Report

Dan Buczynski
Community Member
3 months ago

When this happens, I just turn and run as fast as I can

View More Replies...
View more comments
#32

When someone says words incorrectly like "expecially" but it's rude to correct them because they're a stranger, or your boss, or your new girlfriend's/boyfriend's parents... but you're dying inside.

mblount012 Report

N G
Community Member
3 months ago

I listen out to hear if there's a pattern. If you've never met them before, it's possible their mispronunciation is the result of a speech impediment, so I try to reserve judgement until I know whether they genuinely don't know the word, or they cannot wrap their mouth around S and X separately.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#33

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you say a funny joke but all you get is silence...

imperilis , unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

Daria B
Community Member
3 months ago

I heard people confess that sometimes I make jokes that make them pondering and take them a couple of days to understand and then finally laugh out of nowhere.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#34

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread When you start a story and it gets interrupted a bunch of times so that what was an amazing story with a kicka*s finish/punchline is instead just a waste of time now.

xxkoloblicinxx , pexels Report

Kateryna
Community Member
3 months ago

The punchline isn't fun because nobody listened to the rest, and the rest isn't fun because everyone already knows the punchline.

View more comments
#35

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread Being at a friends house as a kid and the friend's mother starts yelling at your friend.
Being at a friends house as a kid and the friend's father walks in only wearing underwear.

TheBassMeister , unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

Tamsin Far
Community Member
3 months ago

I guess the other way around would be even more awkward (with the father yelling and the mother walking in...)

View More Replies...
View more comments
#36

Someone showing everyone in the group something on their phone and waiting until it is your turn.

cbakapeiehnak Report

Two Silly Pups
Community Member
3 months ago

Only to be the only one who doesn't get to see it, too 😂

View More Replies...
View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#37

Being expected to make polite conversation while having a gynecological exam. There you are, p*ssy exposed, legs spread wide, someone is stuffing something up your vagina, and you are expected to be able to talk about the weather.

squirrelfoot Report

Donkey boi
Community Member
3 months ago

One thing I've learned is that there are good times and bad times for small talk with patients. This is defiantly a bad time.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#38

Card declining.

Reshoketswe Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
3 months ago

The big dramatic pause while it decides if it accepts or declines feels like forever, regardless of my balance

View More Replies...
View more comments
#39

40 Extremely Awkward Situations That We Can All Relate To, As Shared In This Thread Go to wash your hands and the water comes out at a thousand miles an hour, splashing your crotch. You are of course, at work.

PM_THE_REAPER , unsplash Report

Downunderdude
Community Member
3 months ago

Turn on the tap and there's a f*****g spoon in the sink.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#40

When you're home alone, so you take a poop with the door open. Then you suddenly hear the front door of the house open...

BD_TheBeast Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

If the front door of our house is opening then it's either hubby or the kids so not a big deal.

View More Replies...
View more comments

Note: this post originally had 95 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.