For many years, one of my favorite past times was lying awake at night and remembering every embarrassing thing I'd ever done. This is a fantastic way to ruin any chance of sleep, and it's also a giant waste of time. Basically, there are plenty of socially embarrassing things you do that you shouldn't actually worry about.
Think about it: You've probably spent at least a moment or two regretting an off-hand remark or otherwise embarrassing moment. But can you think of a single instance in which you ruminated over someone else's minor faux pas? Probably not.
On the whole, people are pretty forgiving of honest mistakes. Because you don't mean any malice when you accidentally forget a name or mispronounce a word, chances are no one will hold it against you. Being imperfect is not only OK, but it's also inevitable. Learning to love your flaws, even those that show up in a public way, can help you release a lot of stress from your life.
The next time you mortify yourself in public, keep two things in mind. One, chances are high that no one will remember these events in a day or so. And two, if you commit an especially egregious social mistake, it will make for a fantastic story later on.
1. Forgetting Names
Do I feel like a horrible monster person every time I forget someone's name? Yes. Do I care at all when someone forgets my name? No. Apparently this attitude is common. According to The Atlantic, names are actually kind of pointless, because they don't really tell you much about the person. If you blank on someone's name, then just owning up to the fact is usually fine.
2. Being Bad At A Sport Or Game
Have you been putting off that dodgeball league or trivia night because you're afraid of looking silly? It's cool. The only people who need to be good at sports are professionals. Seriously, if someone is taking your backyard croquet game too seriously, that's on them.
3. Flubbing Words
Everyone gets tongue-tied now and then, but it's common to feel the sting of embarrassment when you mess up words. But as noted by Psych Central, using these situations to practice humility, or even learn to laugh at yourself, is an excellent way to cope with these snafus. But seriously, it's kind of great when you try to order "spank-i-top-i-ta" at a Greek restaurant.
4. Eating Something Messy In Public
Have you ever tried to dig in to a plate of barbecue and maintain some dignity? It can't be done. As noted in Women's Day, you can try to keep things neat when eating messy foods by taking small bites and eating slowly. On the other hand, it's cool if you want to give no cares and tear into that burrito like a dog.
Why not accept your natural flush? Blushing can be a charming reaction to feelings of embarrassment. Also, it's an involuntary response, so you can't control it anyway.
6. Cracking Or Shaky Voice
If you have to speak to a group of people, then having your own vocal cords misbehave can feel like betrayal. That said, having a shaky voice is common for people who deal with anxiety. Chances are, no one will really notice.
7. Failing To Make Small Talk
Many other people kind of dread small talk, too. When two people who dislike small talk attempt to make conversation with one another, the result can be a strained conversation about the weather. But rest assured: you'll both be equally happy to escape the situation.
8. Klutzing Out
Pratfalls happen to everybody. I once walked out of a yoga class and dropped my water bottle all over everyone's flip flops. Too embarrassed to ask for help, I dashed to the bathroom for paper towels, only to find that the eco-conscious yoga studio provided hand driers alone. So I mopped at everyone's wet shoes with wads of toilet paper for a few minutes and then dashed out the door. Sure, it was a moment of burning embarrassment, but I'm pretty sure the onlookers in the studio were more amused than annoyed. It was an honest mistake, after all. (But true facts: I have not returned to that particular studio since the incident.)
9. Fake Answering When You Can't Hear
Trying to talk to someone at a concert or loud restaurant can become impossible. After the third time you ask someone to repeat a statement, you'll probably just do the smile and nod thing to pass it off. Everyone has done it.
10. Committing A Fashion Faux Pas
Granted, I know a few people who are actually strict about not wearing white after Labor Day or mixing prints. But for the most part, if you accidentally pair a brown belt with black shoes, no one will notice or care. You can play it off as avant garde if needed.
11. Getting Corrected
OK, so some people can get really up in arms about the details of just about any subject, and they're more than happy to let you know if you get something wrong. However, getting corrected in public can make you feel like you're back in elementary school. As noted in Manners Mentor, any corrections should take place in private. Really, you aren't doing anything wrong by making a simple mistake (and maybe your friend can chill out a bit).