Embarrassment | The Psychology of Embarrassment

The Psychology of Embarrassment

What Is Embarrassment?

Embarrassment is a social emotion that you feel when your behavior falls short of expectations. Others may perceive you as incompetent or stupid. For instance, if you make a mistake in front of your friends at work they might laugh at you. This is because the situation makes them uncomfortable too. This could embarrass you even though it was not for you directly.

Difference Between Embarrassment And Shame

Embarrassment is usually caused by a specific incident, where shame refers to your overall opinion about yourself. For example, if you were voted “Most likely to fail” in high school it could have been embarrassing for you at the time but after many years passed and now that person has gone on with their life feeling nothing towards being humiliated. However, someone who feels ashamed of themselves all the time will feel embarrassed. This is when they are unable to complete simple tasks. This would cause them more problems along the road ahead.

How To Respond To Embarrassing Situation?

There are three main ways that people respond following an embarrassing situation:

Laughing It Off

This is normally due to the fact that the person has a high level of self-esteem. It is possible to recover from an embarrassment if you don’t overreact. You should also let it pass naturally without making too big of a deal about it.

Turning The Tables

This can be an act of revenge for embarrassment. Sometimes this may cause more problems in the future. It is because they would have to keep embarrassing others back in order to feel better about themselves which could make them seem cold or cruel.


In some cases, someone who has been embarrassed does not want anything else bad happening so they avoid similar situations from occurring again. For instance, your boss embarrasses you at work by telling everyone within earshot how much money you owe him/her after you had a fight. You may avoid asking that person for another loan in the future to prevent further embarrassment which could make your relationship awkward and strained over time.

Tips To Recover From Embarrassment

These are some tips that can help you recover from an embarrassing situation:

Be Mindful

Acknowledge the embarrassment and then try to move on quickly. Try not to waste too much time thinking about it. This is because if you do this could lead to unnecessary anxiety. Also, make sure not to assume that everyone is looking at you or talking about your blunder. Take some deep breaths and ground yourself in reality.

Make Fun Of Yourself First

You should do this only when there are people around. These people would also appreciate a joke after being embarrassed themselves. If others begin laughing with you then they will see that what happened was not really worth their attention which makes them feel better too. However, be careful not to push things by making fun of others. It is because this could lead to the embarrassment of pushing back to you.

Find The Humour

If you can’t laugh it off and if turning the table seems petty, then try to find something humorous in the scenario. For example, what could have been a tragic shopping accident with your best friend turns into an opportunity for both of you to bond over how many times she dropped her clothes on purpose just so that they would be free when someone finally bought them.

Take Help From A Friend

Sometimes it can be really hard to recover from an embarrassing situation by yourself. Definitely, a friend could help you think of a good joke or two that would lighten the mood. This way you don’t have to feel embarrassed about being humiliated and they will enjoy making your day better again.

Talk To A Professional

If nothing works and if the embarrassment has caused you to lose sleep or stop eating then it is time to consider professional help. Having a counselor talk with you will not only make your problems worse but they could also be taken seriously by someone who can offer advice that makes sense for helping them solve their embarrassing problem in turn making them feel better too.

Try To Relive The Situation

If the embarrassing situation has occurred in front of a lot of people, then it is possible to try something called “reliving” where you act out the scene again but this time with your friend or family member. This will only work if they are comfortable acting out the situation. This could give them some insight that leads to finding humor within what happened which would help both parties feel better.


Embarrassment is a strong feeling of humiliation or shame. Embarrassment is something we all go through at some point in our lives which makes us realize how human we are. This is because everyone has been there before. Whether somebody else was involving or not, people take one of three ways out when they face this uncomfortable feeling. Some people experience this emotion in high-pressure situations, like giving a speech or making an important presentation.

Others feel embarrassed when they do something that’s socially unacceptable, like spilling grape juice on the rug at your grandparent’s house. It can be difficult to control our reactions to embarrassing events. Some laugh it off while others turn the tables on their offender but if none of those work then take comfort knowing that nothing lasts forever and eventually people will forget what happened as long as you don’t remind them.

If you are looking for affordable Online Counseling MantraCare can help: Book a trial therapy session

Try MantraCare Wellness Program free

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.