“I Spent 35 Minutes Trying To Get Into The Wrong Car”: 35 Highly Educated People Share Their Silliest Moments In This Viral Twitter Thread Interview With Author
Just because you have an awesome university degree or a super successful career, you don’t automatically become immune to making silly mistakes. If you’re having a tough day or feeling a bit blue, then we’ve got the perfect cure, courtesy of the awesome crowd on Twitter.
Dr. Paul Bones, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Texas Woman's University, started up a fun, quirky, and thoroughly honest thread about a recent mistake he made. A mistake involving his hand, some super glue, and a box. Inspired by the Ph.D. (who has tenure, no less!), other highly-educated individuals, real pros in their respective fields, opened up about their own funny fails.
It’s proof that we have way more in common with each other than we think. It’s also a reminder that nobody can avoid embarrassing situations (no matter how many diplomas they have on their walls), and that having a great sense of humor is wonderful. Scroll down for the funniest tweets, dear Pandas. When you’ve upvoted your fave ones, tell us all about the silliest mistakes you’ve made recently, in the comments. And yes, you can totally let us know how many degrees you have.
Bored Panda got in touch with Dr. Bones, and he was kind enough to share how he feels about the sudden internet fame, as well as his thoughts on why his post went so viral. Read on to see what he told us.
Meanwhile, we also reached out to Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D., a Licensed Counselor, Professor, and Chair at the Department of Counseling and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University, for a chat about healthy reactions to embarrassment. She told Bored Panda that one of the most important practices we should develop is the ability to laugh at ourselves.
Shall we begin?
"I had no idea so many people would like and share the post, let alone share similar stories," Dr. Bones, the mastermind behind the fun viral Twitter thread, told Bored Panda.
"For me, it was just an offhand comment about a ridiculous thing I did, and for some reason felt like sharing. I kind of wish I hadn't tweeted it, honestly. I don't really like this much attention," he said.
Bored Panda wanted to get Dr. Bones' take on why his post resonated with so many people around the world. Here's what he had to say: "I think all of us do silly, ridiculous things. And there's an idea that education makes you smart, which should mean you don't do the absurd stuff, but in reality, everyone's brain switches off from time to time. Plus, it's fun to laugh at people we think should be smart enough to not directly dump glue on their hands."
Laughing off your mistakes is a good way to deal with embarrassment. "I have little-to-no shame, so I'm always a fan of laughing at my mistakes," Dr. Bones said.
"Granted, I usually do so privately, not for 200k+ people, but it was nice that others were willing to help me feel better by sharing their similar stories," he told Bored Panda.
"A sense of humor and flexibility are key traits to successful adulthood and being able to laugh at our missteps allows us to go easy on ourselves when we do something potentially embarrassing. No one likes to 'lose face,' and that is engrained to varying degrees across cultures. Unfortunately, our brains may be especially prone to catastrophizing events and so we might make something more out of something no one else really noticed and no one else will recall later on," Professor Degges-White, from Northern Illinois University, told Bored Panda.
"For decades, magazines have been publishing those 'Boy! Was my Face Red!' type of columns where people shared their embarrassing moments. When we are able to 'get it off our chest,' we actually feel better about the event. That's a healthy response to an embarrassing moment. When our personalities are wired to feel that we must be 'perfect' in all that we do, we internalize negative feelings about the mistake we made and mistakenly assume that everyone else is judging us due to that one moment," she explained.
"Fortunately, our brains are designed to protect us from pain and many of us may suffer horrible humiliation at some point in our lives, but we can benefit from a brain that allows us to 'selectively forget' the incident or else we're able to rationalize it by reminding ourselves that 'everyone makes mistakes,' 'it was just one time and no one will remember it,' or similar healthy responses."
However, some people are raised by parents that demand perfection and use "forcible means to correct" their behavior if their expectations aren't met. "For those people, making mistakes throughout adulthood may be experienced as something that would provoke punishment and that brings on even more humilation," the professor said.
"The best way to embrace our mistakes is to acknowledge we've made one—or else no learning can take place. Then remind ourselves that everyone makes mistakes—that's totally normal behavior! Then figure out a way to laugh at yourself before allowing someone else to laugh at you first. When you laugh at yourself, others laugh WITH you, not AT you."
Dr. Bones’ thread had a whopping 204.4k likes at the time of writing, and the professor wrote on Twitter that he was stunned that the tweet got as much attention as it did. He was also surprised that people started following him because of his moment of foolishness with the bottle of super glue.
In our experience, being honest about silly mistakes and presenting it in a funny way is a great recipe for online fame. Though (probably) nobody wants to be known as That Super Glue Guy (especially if they prefer to live a more private life), the fact of the matter is that the professor brought a lot of joy and laughter into people’s lives. And that’s worth a lot.
There is absolutely no way that you’ll be able to spend your time on Earth without making some sort of mistake or thoroughly embarrassing yourself in one way or another. We’re talking about the kind of stuff that low-key haunts you at 3 am because your brain just had to remind you of how you messed up in front of all those important people.
The antidote to this deep sense of shame that can pursue you for years is learning to embrace your mistakes. Meanwhile, being able to laugh it off is without a doubt another powerful tool in your arsenal.
Previously, Bored Panda spoke about embarrassment and shame with psychologist and well-being consultant Lee Chambers. He shared his thoughts about the healthy and not-so-healthy ways to react to embarrassment. Moreover, the expert revealed to us how to calm down during those moments where we’re so embarrassed that it’s almost completely overwhelming.
"While embarrassment can be a challenging feeling that is fleeting or overwhelming, being able to find a response that assists rather than a reaction that is unhealthy is a skill to build," psychologist Lee told Bored Panda.
"If it's something that isn't particularly serious, laughter can be a great response that instantly makes you feel better," he said that having a sense of humor is very important.
"If the feelings are intense, try taking a few slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, calming your nervous system and physiological response. In a similar way to laughter, smiling can be effective in shifting your state to the positive,” he said.
“There are times when playing down or even ignoring the feelings can be helpful in the moment, taking the edge off, but it is important that you accept them and express them if it's something significant," the psychologist suggested embracing whatever we’re feeling in these situations instead of trying to run away from those feelings.
"Because the feelings of embarrassment are generated from a past event, anything that brings you into the present moment can bring relief. Try to avoid saying sorry, as it will keep taking you back to the moment. You can even keep your biggest embarrassing moments top of mind, having reflected and realized that in hindsight, they weren't as big an issue as you felt at the time," he said.
"We can even reflect back on our blunders from the past, and with the emotion dampened, take some of the lessons and observations forward for next time we feel like we've messed up. By doing this, you will feel more courage even when the fear of embarrassment strikes, and sharing these stories will elicit others to share, quickly realizing we are not alone, and that nobody is perfect," the expert told us these embarrassing moments are perfect learning opportunities and a chance to improve one’s emotional resilience.
Would you like to get anything embarrassing off your chest? Are there any majorly embarrassing things that you've done that you think you might want to air out and get over? What do you do when you've made a super embarrassing mistake? Let us know what you think in the comments.