One of the worst things ever is reliving a cringy memory. Whether it’s something we did in school or an embarrassing moment at work, these memories tend to haunt us for decades after the fact. Unfortunately for these people, they haven’t been able to shake their cringe-worthy memories.
#1 Upside Down Handshake
A friend’s husband had a job interview. When he walked into the room, there were three people — two men and a woman — sat behind a table. He started at the left and shook the first guy’s hand, then the second guy’s hand in the middle. When he got to the woman on the right, he put his right hand out and to his horror he saw that she had a prosthetic claw thing instead of a right hand.
She had obviously come across this before, so she just put her left hand out. Instead of just shaking hands using his left hand, he was so flummoxed that he did an awkward upside down handshake with his right hand to her left hand. He was convinced that he’d completely messed up the interview as his brain kept asking, “What did you do that for?” He was amazed to get the job. On his first day, he met the woman again who told him that he thought the whole thing was hilarious. He worked with her for a few years and apparently every time they met, they’d do the weird upside down right-left handshake.
#2 Acting Weird All Day
The time my internet access was shot over a weekend. I went to work as usual on Monday and stayed and worked all day. The thing is, I’d only found out I’d been fired the week before when I got home. It was a small, very high-profile business. Everyone was acting weird all day. I soft-broil myself to sleep in this memory.
#3 That’s One Kind of Alarm
I fell asleep in my high school history class. I was all the way in the back of the room so the teacher never noticed. Until I tooted in my sleep so loud that it woke me up and my head shot up and smacked against the back wall. At the time, nobody reacted except the guy in front of me was just kind of shaking. He turned around to look at me and was laughing so hard he was crying. I should also mention my crush was two seats over. I never heard the end of it.
#4 Well… What Now?
For me, I’d have to say that it was trying to run away from home when I was six only to stop at the start of the driveway because I was always told that it was dangerous to walk on the street without an adult. My parents have this really nice photo of me, with my little backpack, standing there looking really conflicted.
#5 That Special Feeling
I was interested in a guy but didn't know how to start a conversation with him. We were standing next to each other while preparing food for a barbecue. I just thought it was a good idea to start a conversation with, "I like the feeling of touching raw meat." I guess he thought I was the weirdest person ever because after getting out of that situation, he never really talked to me again.
#6 Faith Restored
In the first grade, I moved to a new school in a small town. Two months in, I would literally lose bowel function for no apparent reason. It was just totally watery with intense abdominal cramps. I was shy and didn't have any friends yet. So, I was embarrassed and would sit there in my own mess until the teacher noticed. This went on every day.
Eventually, they sent me to the principles office and the nurse, teacher, and my parents thought I was just seeking attention. Despite packing two new pairs of undies and pants each day, I’d still be soaked at the end of the day. Over the next two weeks, I kept getting in trouble. I was held in from recess and had to sit in the hallway alone when I ran out of clothes. I ate lunch alone and spent at least half of my days sitting in the hallway, staring at the wall. When my parents finally took me to the doctor, they found a strange intestinal infection with no cure. It eventually went away.
So for one month in a new school, I was that shy weird kid who smelled bad and couldn't participate in any activities. I graduated high school 12 years later with the same small class of students. It wasn't until my 10-year class reunion that one of my classmates (now a nurse) told me they all felt so bad for me and never brought it up because they felt like I was being hurt when they saw me sitting alone in the hall in my soaked clothing. This restored my faith in how kind other kids can be.
#7 G-G-Good Morning
I was walking back to my car after a grocery trip and an older gentleman said hello to me as I walked past. I don’t know what happened or why I couldn’t get any words out. But, my brain completely short-circuited and I responded with “G-g-g-g-g-g...” I then quietly trailed off, averting my gaze and walking faster.
#8 Those Moments of Panic
One time, I got my period in the middle of a scene in a junior school play. I was about 12 or 13 and it really sucked. A few things: that wasn't my first. That was actually a much more traumatic story. Also, no one else noticed but those moments of panic until I could get off stage… it does suck to be a woman when it comes to this stuff.
#9 One Ticket, Please
When I was 16 years old, I offered to take a girl I liked out to the movies. I approached the ticket counter and asked for one movie ticket. I immediately realized I was an idiot but was too embarrassed to rectify my mistake. So, the poor girl purchased her own ticket to the movie. It still haunts me almost 10 years later.
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#10 Changed Forever
My best friend growing up was black. We were inseparable, wanted to make video games together when we grew up, all that. Well, he went with me and another member of my family to the store. As we were driving, a man nearly ran into my other family member's car, and my other family member shouted a terrible slur. It got quiet. Then my other family member said to my best friend, "You're not the (slur) I was talking to," as a way to apologize.
I was young, but even then I knew something awful had happened. It completely changed how I looked at my other family member and how my best friend looked at my family. We stayed friends but I had to hang out at his house since he stopped coming to mine. I couldn't blame him. It was super-cringy and life-changing.
#11 Psychological Evaluation
I was having a psychological evaluation for a military school. The psychologist gave me two pieces of paper to draw a male and a female and name them. The male one was easy, I just have to draw myself and use my own name. I was having difficulty drawing a female and couldn't think fast, so my stupid self drew the psychologist because she was cute.
Then came the part where she started asking about the drawing. The male part went smoothly, but when she asked about the name of the female I said, "Actually it was you." (Plus, I gave a smirk.) Then she straight up wrote the name of the drawing, "Actually it was you.” I still cringe thinking about it up to now.
#12 A New Man
We weren't allowed to sleep with our doors shut. I woke up earlier than everyone else most days and on this day, I decided to rub one out before everyone woke up. So, I grabbed the lotion and put it under my second pillow all smooth-like so no one would see it if they walked by. About halfway through the deed, my aunt ripped her door open. I was so scared that I literally sat straight up, one hand under the covers.
She saw me and went, “Hey…?” She then started walking over. I sat there frozen, junk still in hand. She came in and went, “What’s going on, sweetie? Are you okay?” I just awkwardly said yes and that she scared me. She laughed and sat on the bed next to me — directly on the pillow and heard a crunch. She looked at me, stood up, and picked up the pillow. At that point, she looked back at me and started walking out. She didn't even turn back to look at me, just grabbed the door to shut it and said, “I think you're old enough to sleep with this closed now.” I didn't leave my room all day.
#13 What Does it Looks Like?
I was 15, wearing lingerie I found in my mom’s cupboard (don't judge, I was 15). I was slathered in baby oil and going at it with a double-handed grip. I used to sleep with heavy metal on, so I had music going and didn’t hear my old man come in. He made it all the way to my bed before I noticed him, stopping in my tracks and pulling up the covers. "What are you doing?!” "Uhh… scratching my butt, dad.” We haven’t mentioned it since.
#14 The Perfect Gift
When I was 16, I got set up with a family friend's daughter. We started dating in a long-distance relationship. After a month or so, it was school holidays and I went up to visit her. I didn't have a lot of money but I wanted to buy her a gift. I settled on a beautiful jigsaw puzzle. She wasn't too happy about the gift…. because she was blind. Yes, I bought my blind girlfriend a jigsaw puzzle. At the moment, it seemed very appropriate because each piece was unique. She could feel the pieces, right? Pure cringe. It still haunts me.
#15 In Full View
I went to the beach with three friends (two boys, one girl) at some point in middle school. We were swimming in the ocean and I got knocked down by a huge wave. When I stood up to face my friends, the boys started screaming. I looked down and my left boob was on full display. I threw that bathing suit out as soon as I got home.
#16 You Lucky Girl
I was in my early 20s and had a girlfriend of three years. We were two years into our relationship and one time after we had intercourse, I said, "Where are you gonna find junk this good?" It was so awkward. I think about it once a month because it is easily the dumbest thing I have ever said, and it makes me cringe so bad. Someone punch me in the face.
#17 We’re Working On It
I went to a really sheltered Catholic high school, so I didn't know how the real world worked. At my first job when I was 16, I was being introduced to all my co-workers. One of them named Maurice (who was obviously homosexual) asked me if I was too. I wasn't but wanted to let him know I was cool with it. So, I said, "No, but I'm open-minded about it". He then responded, "We're gonna work on that.” What an awkward summer. I cringe every time.
#18 Fountain Girl
I fell into a fountain, not once but three different times in three different fountains. They all happened on a trip to Europe with a group of kids from school when I was In seventh grade. Of course, my crush and his friends went on this trip and they preceded to call me “Fountain Girl” until high school graduation.
#19 Schoolyard Show
This was in school. We were playing a game where one person chased everyone else and when they touched you, you had to go "to jail.” That meant, you had to put your arms inside the torso part of your sweater and the sleeves got tied around a pole. You had to get loose to be free again, either on your own or by the help of someone else.
I think I was about 11 at the time. I got caught and tied to a pole, but I was wearing a hoodie with a zipper. So, I felt so smart when I unzipped it from the inside and ran away shouting, "Ha!" Thing is, I had forgotten to put on a T-shirt under the hoodie, and I was an early bloomer, so I basically showed the whole schoolyard my recently grown chest.
#20 Missing Phone
My sons and their friend kicked their ball into the middle of a little pond at our local park. I let them use my walking stick to try to get it out, but they couldn’t quite reach. A man passing by with his son offered to help. He got the ball but dropped my stick. As he was reaching for the stick, he fell in! He laughed, we laughed and he went off home to dry up. He returned 10 minutes later because once he got home, he realized his phone was missing. His phone contained baby pics of his son and newborn at home. We tried so hard to find that phone. I still feel bloody awful.
#21 Mighty Big Signature
A few years ago, I was a bit tipsy at a friend's wedding and decided to scrawl all over two pages of her wedding book to fill up some space. Later on, someone was looking at the book and I heard them exclaim, "Look at this! What sort of person does that?" Looking back on it, I still feel bad when I think about it.
#22 Hey, Check This Out
In elementary school, the little playground and the older playgrounds were right next to each other and there was an imaginary line we couldn’t cross. My friends and I had the hugest crush on the big kid who played soccer. I was so stupid. I shoved a dodge ball up my shirt and yelled, “Hey! Look, you got me pregnant.” I have nightmares about it. Luckily, he moved away.
#23 Poker Face
When I was a kid on a family vacation in Hong Kong, we were all in a souvenir store. I was walking around with my brother, trying to find a cool toy to buy. It took me long enough to find one, but I was proud that I found it. I was amused by it and started talking about it to him. It was a large stretchy and bouncy toy that had a cartoonish face on it.
I said things like, "Wow! This is so cool!" and proceeded to make the toy bounce a lot. I brought the toy towards my brother's face and shouted, "Boing, boing, boing.” That's when I realized that I wasn't talking to my brother anymore. It was a Chinese boy of maybe 10. He stared at me with the most serious face ever. I legit felt so ashamed and ran away. I didn't bother to get the toy anymore. I have never been so traumatized in my life. I still think about that boy's poker face.
#24 My Mom Has Plans, Sorry
I was friendly with this guy in one of my eighth-grade classes because he didn’t seem to be good friends with anyone else in the class. He was a nice kid, just a little awkward. But, we had good conversations. One day at the end of the period, we were both packing up our stuff and he said, “Hey. Do you want to go out with me next Wednesday?”
I wasn’t interested in him that way, and I was so off guard that I froze like a deer in the headlights. I finally stammered, “Uh, I think my mom has plans. Sorry, bye.” Then, I basically ran out of the room. I still feel bad about it. Every time I saw him in middle school and high school after that, I felt terrible. Sorry, Colin.
#25 Toxic Gas Warning
I passed wind in class during a test back in middle school. Everybody knew it was me but I was too awkward to confirm or deny it, so I just acted oblivious. That smell must've been awful because a bunch of classmates covered their noses and the teacher cracked open a window. Just the complete awkward silence that followed and the feeling of everybody staring at me in disgust still makes me shudder whenever I think about it
#26 What Do You Mean?
My mom won this prize at a big shopping center. She was allowed to take three guests for a day of shopping that included gift cards at various stores and a $250 gift card at a restaurant of her choice. It was a big deal and they had a film crew come and tape some of it. The reporter came up to me when the food arrived and said, “That looks fantastic. What’d you get?” I was caught off guard so I looked at the camera and went, “Gift cards!” Ultimate cringe. It took me about half a second to realize what she meant. When I think about it now, at least I can laugh about it.
#27 Okay, Bye!
I had a huge crush on this girl and thought she was really cool. I loved her art and I couldn't believe she said yes to going out with me. We went to the zoo because it was free and we were just broke teenagers and we had a blast. Afterward, we went to grab some food at this place before having to split off to go home.
Our trains were heading in opposite directions and the entrances were across the street from each other, so I walked with her to say goodbye. I closed my eyes and awkwardly leaned in to give her a kiss goodbye, and she went in more for a hug. I ended up headbutting her in the face and her nose started bleeding. I was so embarrassed and didn't know what to say. So, I just asked, "Are you okay?" She replied, "I think so." Still not knowing what to do I said, "Okay, bye!" and then ran across the street to catch my train. It was so painfully awkward and embarrassing. I avoided her for weeks.
#28 Never Again
I was in kindergarten. We were having a celebration because we had learned how to read by ourselves with almost no help. So, I was wearing shorts that day. Little did I know, they were too big for me. So I was walking, I was excited, I ran. My pants slipped all the way down. My underwear was on display to everyone. It was so embarrassing. I haven't worn shorts unless it was 100° since.
#29 Don’t Mention It
At work, one guy was opening a door with his back because his hands were full. Me, being stupid, thought, “I'm gonna help!” I opened the door the rest of the way, causing him to lose balance because he didn't see me. He didn't fall, but I smiled at him holding the door with a “you’re welcome” half-smile and he stared at me like if I was a weirdo. I guess it looked like I tried to make him fall.
#30 Having a Laugh
When I was 13, I had this crush on a guy. We were chatting on Snapchat and he told me he thought he liked this other girl and I started to panic. I sent him a photo of me crying because I was a socially incapable person and I thought that was the best move. He screenshotted it and sent it to two girls I hated (because I knew they thought I was weird, but now I see that was fair). They all had a laugh over me crying.
#31 Off With Her Head
My first-grade birthday party. Someone gave me a present shaped like a Barbie. I told everyone very smugly and rather rudely how I knew it was a Barbie even though it was my first Barbie gift ever. “Skipper” was all I saw as I opened it, not Barbie like I was expecting. I got upset, obviously hated the object of my embarrassment and ripped off her head. No one really understood why. Turns out, Skipper was just the name of that Barbie model and I never received another Barbie as a gift ever, even though I really wanted them. I only ever remembered the embarrassment of my bratty behavior.
#32 Roast a Chicken
For me, it was definitely the time when my aunt and uncle had a party. I think I was about seven years old. They filmed my uncle spitting fire and you can hear me saying, “You could roast a chicken on that in 10 seconds.” The next thing you hear is everybody just laughing at me. I still cringe thinking about it.
#33 Not Really a Couple
In high school, I messaged a boy I really liked. I told him I liked him and he didn’t feel the same way. Okay fine, no problem. Then we were in the same homecoming group where everyone had dates but the two of us. So when it came time to take pictures, we had to stand next to each other as if we were together.
#34 Take My Coat
I went for an interview and handed the person my coat when they were trying to shake my hand. I did not get the job, unfortunately. A few years later, I went to another interview during which my stomach would not stop growling. Honestly, it was one of my worst nightmares made real. I somehow got a job there, though.
#35 Do Not Disturb
I fell asleep in my class once. When the periods changed, the teacher had everyone silently leave while he taped a note to my head that said, "Do not disturb." I slept for another three periods and each teacher had the students come in and leave quietly. I woke up in a history class with a teacher I never had…
#36 Absolutely Nothing to See
When we had an obligatory swimming class. I was in the water and this boy dove into the water next to me. When he came up, his swimming shorts dropped a bit and his junk was visible. He caught my mortified look and was like, "Oh God, are you dying?" I said, "No. Shorts up." He looked down, dropped into the water, pulled up his shorts and then said with a very straight face, "Nothing to see here. Absolutely nothing."
#37 Halloween Costume Day
Back in the fifth grade, I went to school on Halloween Costume Day completely dressed up as a pirate. Makeup, costume, hair, everything. I walked into school only to realize no one else was wearing a costume and that dress up day was tomorrow. Sadly, I had to wait until lunch for my mom to bring me new clothes.
#38 Uh… It Was Too Hot
I spent a lot of time at my great-grandparents' house as a kid. My room didn’t have a lock on the door. I was a preteen and it was the middle of the day, super-bright in my room, and I was 100% without clothing, just laying on the floor and diddling. My grandma came in and I screamed, "Uh, don’t come in!” She came in, saw everything, and just left. I went out a little while later and said, "I… uh… I was really warm… so I took my clothes off." She just stared at me, silent. She wasn't mad or anything. I went back to my room and she never mentioned it again.
#39 It’s Invisible
I went to school one day without underwear. I don't remember why, I just know that I was wearing a skirt and tights and no underwear. One of the boys saw that I wasn’t wearing any and told everyone in my third-grade class. I insisted I was, it was just invisible. This happened when I was eight years old and I'm close to 50 now. Now you know how long this memory has stuck with me.
#40 Most Painful Minute
Friday afternoon at my internship. It was just me and my manager; she was one cubicle over. Normally my tooting technique made things silent. I thought it was safe. So, I let it rip and knew it was going to be very audible. I slammed the desk and cleared my throat to try and cover up the noise but that only brought more attention to me. She clearly heard it and stopped typing for a minute. Most painful minute of my life. We pretended it never happened and never spoke about it.
#41 Are You Insulting Me?
When I was in the fifth grade, I dyed my hair different colors. I was in a public swimming pool and went to the toilet where two boys asked me if the dyed hair would also suit one of them. Before I could say anything, they also asked me if I was heterosexual. I had no clue what it meant so I guessed it was an insult and just walked away. Nowadays, I understand that the boy just wanted to know if coloring his hair would make people think he is gay.
#42 Background Characters
My school’s yearly play was on and I was some background character. We had these huge black curtains that concealed backstage, The lights went out for our queue to come onstage, I tripped and knocked myself out on the floor. So the audience saw the lights go out and dim back into the sight of an unconscious 15-year-old boy.
#43 Who Are You?
I used to live in a relatively small town (which I will not name). There, I had a relatively large friend group. A couple of years back, I returned there and I recognized a friend I was particularly close with. I walked up to them and said hey. You know where this is going… They didn’t have one clue who I was.
#44 Neon Yellow
Back when I was still a kid, I refused to take a hanky or tissues with me anywhere. My mom forced me to take them with me because I'd just finished a cold. But, I didn’t. Sure enough, I sneezed in church during mass, just neon yellow snot all over my light pink dress. I still shrivel a little when that memory comes back.
#45 Incriminating Evidence
For Halloween when I was I kid, I dressed up in a morph suit and I didn’t wear anything underneath, so everyone could see my junk flopping around through my morph suit. I was making weird noises and doing weird things, too. There are pictures from that day and you can see the outline of my stuff. To this day, I still think about how awful that is.
#46 Painfully Awkward
Talking to a couple of people in university, I invited them back to my dorm and one guy accepted. I thought he liked me, so while we were sitting and talking I tried to convey with my body language that I was into him. He started to look uncomfortable and left quickly. Now's a good time to mention I grew up pretty religious so I hadn't dated much and hadn't known many gay people. Looking back, it was pretty obvious. I don't like to think about how painfully awkward I must have looked.
#47 Sweet Savior
I was at a regional spelling bee after winning my school spelling bee. It was at a local college. A really pretty college girl beckoned me over to her with one finger. My 12-year-old coke-bottle-glasses nerd self walked over, all nervous and excited. Then she whispered that my fly was down. It was very, very open and obviously down. I hope that sweet girl has had the best life for saving me from what could have been a way more mortifying reveal. The memory still makes me flinch.
#48 God Bless You, Man
I was about 15, longboarding to my friend’s house and saw a guy walking his bike. Both of his arms and the handlebars were full of groceries. I stopped and asked if he would like some help. He looked at me and said, "God bless you, man." For some reason, my brain took that as "no thanks." So I said okay and went on my way. It wasn't until I made it a good distance away that I realized my mistake. I turned around and he was gone. Honestly, I feel like trash every time I think of that one.
#49 Twice a Week
I had what was probably everyone's worst nightmare come to fruition in December 2009 during a class presentation. The teacher had a projector connected to her laptop so the class could see my project on the whiteboard. Sure enough, I plugged in my flash drive, opened the project file, and a thick butt appeared on the board. I won’t say any more. I've thought about it probably twice a week for over 10 years.
#50 Just the Way You Are
Let me preface this by saying that I’m a horrible singer. In high school, there was this girl I really liked. We talked and she also had feelings. We had a high school talent show so I convinced my friend, who can play guitar, to perform with me while I sang “Just the Way You Are” to her. My plan was to ask her to prom by jumping down the stage into the crowd.
I was a shy guy in my senior year, so this was out of character for me. My classmates knew this, but they cheered me on. Even though I can’t sing, it went well. We went to prom and all was good until she ghosted me. I never heard from her again. It really caused me to distrust people for a while. The video is still up on YouTube. I’ve made it about 10 seconds before I cringe.