People Share The Most Awkward Moments They’ve Had With Complete Strangers

January 31, 2019 | Mathew Burke

People Share The Most Awkward Moments They’ve Had With Complete Strangers


You know those painful social interactions that just make you want to sprint home, lock your door, crawl under a blanket and avoid the outside world forever? Those seemingly mundane moments that nevertheless keep you lying awake, tossing and turning at night, months or even years down the line? These Redditors certainly do, so get ready for some serious secondhand embarrassment as they share some of the most awkward interactions they’ve had with complete and utter strangers. Beware: potent cringe material ahead.


42. Face, Meet Palm

I worked security at an aquatic theme park and was watching Jeopardy in the employee entrance. One of the veterinarians came through and watched it with me for a bit. He said he watches it religiously and he'd passed the test for the show and was hoping to get selected. He'd heard that they like to have a diverse group of contestants, and they hadn't had a black guy for a while, so he liked his chances.

A few days later, there are two black contestants, so when I see him leaving the next time I say, "Hey, did you catch Jeopardy last week?" "No, why?" he responds. "There were two black guys on it," I explain. He just stares at me blankly for a few seconds, and walks off. That's when I realized it was a different gentleman than I had the previous conversation with.

Stupidest Things to Impress Crush factsShutterstock

41. Take My Hand

In the cinema. I interlocked my fingers with the kid sitting beside me for a full minute.

Turns out, he wasn't my kid.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

40. Harden That T

Got on an elevator with a woman and she had on these really nice boots so I complimented them by saying "nice boots." She cups her breasts and says "well you're not shy, thank you they're real" and then immediately realized I said boots. She thought I said "nice boobs." Longest elevator ride ever. To this day whenever I say boots in any context, I do so with a very hard, deliberate T.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsShutterstock

39. Not The Brightest Kid In The Cabbage Patch

When I was little, I was at a museum and saw a man that I thought was my dad. I ran up behind him and hugged his legs. Was not my dad. He flinched and kicked his leg back. I stumbled back and just sat down and cried in the middle of the floor. Then it occurred to me that I'd come to the museum with my mom.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsShutterstock

38. Trouble In Paradise

A woman at a gas station didn't know how to put air in her tires so I helped her because I wanted to put air in my tires and didn't want to wait all day to do it. She called her husband on speaker phone to let him know she found some nice man to help her air her tires. Then I hear him call her an idiot and say that I'm only helping her because I want to sleep with her and where does she get off talking to other men.

She stammered and tried to explain that nothing was going on between us. After she got off the phone she looked at me as if her husband just caught her screwing me and got in her car and left. No thank you, no nothing. And for some reason, I felt guilty for even helping her out. Jesus, I feel awkward just thinking about it.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsShutterstock

37. Busted

Woke up from being blackout drunk in bed with a woman I had never seen before. I didn’t know her name or anything about her. Decided to try and get her name off her driver's license before she woke up. She woke to find me digging through her purse.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsShutterstock

36. Wrong Butt

I groped a man's butt a few months ago at a sporting goods store. He was dressed and looked exactly like my fiance. And to make it worse, I grabbed both freaking cheeks and whispered: "Hey sexy, got a girlfriend?" Guy spun around, looked shocked, saw my mortified red face and I started apologizing profusely. My fiance finds me mortified, I tell him I just groped some guy that could be his twin, he thought it was funny. They stood side by side after we cleared it up, they were practically twins. Hair, coat, pants, and shoes. Still creeps me out.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsShutterstock

35. Hold Your Applause

It was my first time voting in a presidential election in 2016 since becoming old enough to do so, and the polling place was at a library. When I get to the front of the line and start filling out the required papers, I mention it’s my first time and what to do next. After hearing this, the woman who was working there and helping me raised her voice and said “Hey everyone, we’ve got a first-time voter here!” and started clapping so they all would clap as well. Nobody clapped, and I was just standing there really embarrassed before quietly saying “Can I just go vote now?”

Arnold Schwarzenegger factsShutterstock

34. Win Some, Lose Some

My wife and I went out for a drink one night. We walk into the bar, I see someone I know at the bar with their back turned, walk up behind them and tickled their sides. Turned it I didn't know this person, they just gave me a weird look and walked away. Got their spot at the bar though.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

33. Mutual Shock

When I was young, I thought some random lady was my mum, and tugged her skirt. She turned, screamed, and I screamed back...not my proudest moment

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

32. Nipple Trouble

When I was a teenager my friends and I would spend the weekends staying up late playing video games and eating junk food. I was also a cross country runner, and on this particular night, I was experiencing some extreme chafing from a long run earlier that day. While we were at the gas station getting Doritos and energy drinks I announced to who I thought was my friend, “Man, my nipples really hurt.” Upon realizing it was a complete stranger with whom I had just shared this intimate detail I simply stared at him and said “You’re not my friend” and walked away. I didn’t go back to that gas station for a long time.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

31. The High Life

I worked at Old Navy and some lady was looking at men's shirts. She stopped me and held up this shirt and asked if I thought it would fit her son. I looked around and no one else was around. We stood in silence for maybe 30 seconds before she started laughing and said "Oh! Haha, you don't know my son he lives in Michigan (we were in Washington State)... Nevermind me, I'm just stoned! Haha"...And then she went and bought the shirt.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsFlickr, bargainmoose

30. Audible and Deadly

I tried to release a silent fart near an empty aisle in a supermarket. The fart was not silent. And I wasn't alone...

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsShutterstock

29. Get A Friggin Room

At a movie theater, I went alone and so did the guy sitting next to me and the couple sitting next to us were having a pretty heavy make out session.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsShutterstock

28. All Smiles

Was walking down the stairs after a class and was in a really good mood. I was smiling at everyone because of this. When I smiled at one particular woman (who I didn't know) she smiled back and asked: "How are you?" And for some reason, my dumb brain couldn't cope with this so I let out something like "...thank...AH..NO" and then physically ran away, out of the building. I fear ever seeing her again and having to live with that.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsShutterstock

27. Incoming!

When I was about 13 I went on a school trip which included a boat ride. It was a windy day and the sea was rough, so like most of my friends, I got extremely seasick. The toilets were full of puking school kids so when it was my turn to churn I found a space along the rail and let loose. I aimed down at the sea but the wind whipped my vomit about 20 feet horizontally straight over a middle-aged man who was enjoying the sea air.

As I watched in horror, he registered that he was being spattered with something, but it was only when my second wave hit that our eyes met and I saw his face change from confusion to horror. I had no words, just more vomit, so he hurried off—presumably to clean himself. Thankfully I didn't see him again but I'm sure I ruined his day.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsShutterstock

26. Tween Terror

Disney's Tower of Terror. 12-year-old me spent the entire lineup desperately trying to catch the attention of a cute guy who was there with his dad. Ended up sitting in the same car as him on the ride. As the ride starts I grab my mom's hand for support. Near the end, I realized that my mom was on the other side of me and I'd been holding hands with the cute guy's dad the entire time. They were all laughing at me.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

25. We’ve All Been There

Every time I casually talk to a stranger, say bye, then we end up needing to walk the same way for a while.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

24. An Untimely Discovery

Discovered, whilst at the top of St Paul’s Cathedral, that I am terrified of heights. A Norwegian woman was having the same experience. We were so unnerved we ended up holding one another and bumping down the spiral staircase on our backsides. Parted ways at the bottom without a word or a backward glance.

London FactsPxhere

23. Poor Choice of Words

My son had small Toy Story figurines but wanted big ones for Christmas. I walked into Toy R Us and asked the male clerk, "Do you have a large Woody?" He turned bright red, I wheeled around and marched out and didn't go back for months.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

22. Solid Recovery

When I was in college, I was waiting for a shuttle bus and a girl I had previously been in a class with walks up to the stop with a guy I don't know. I say “Hi, how are you" and we have a short exchange of pleasantries, and then she turns to the guy next to her and in sign language says "I don't remember her name." So I sign "That's ok, I don't remember your name either" and offer my hand to the guy with her and introduce myself.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

21. Painfully British

Not long ago I incorporated a short visit to the local supermarket into my usual dog walk. The dog was tied up outside, and as I was crouched down to unclip him a woman came out of the shop and fell over me. For a few brief seconds, I was in the middle of a dog/old woman humping sandwich. We're British though, so everyone looked embarrassed and we both said sorry.

Two and a Half Men factsShutterstock

20. Slap Happy

When I was a kid I liked to extend my arm fully out of the window to feel the wind. On one occasion I was riding with my dad who lived in the city and we were driving down a particularly narrow street with two lanes. As usual, I had my arm hanging out of the window and I ended up SLAPPING an older black gentleman right in the face in the car next to us as we drove by. He immediately started shouting at me and I began rolling up the window (non-automatic window) as quickly as my little hands would roll.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

19. Missing All The Signs

I sat in a pubescent boy's wheelchair throughout the entire showing of Signs under the impression that the chair was a regular theater seat. Our short-lived eye contact at the end of the movie came simultaneously with my realization of what I'd done, and that moment still haunts me.

Awkward Conversations to Translate factsPxHere

18. Apology Sort Of Accepted

A girl stepped on my foot in the bus...

Her: I am sorry.

Me: Thank you.

I still cringe to this day although it was some years ago.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

17. Stutter To A Stop

I use to have a bad stutter when I was little. At a family party, a guy came up to me and introduced himself to me. He then asked my name. I said e-e-e... realizing I couldn't get it out I just laughed kinda and awkwardly turned around and walked away.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

16. Stranger Danger

When I was 19, my daughter was two and this older lady (maybe 50s) at the grocery store kept touching my kid's hair saying how beautiful she was. After she did this, I was actively avoiding her until we left the store. It may not seem weird the way I describe it, but I got creeped the hell out by it.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsShutterstock

15. Together Forever

Ended up going to a gas station and filled up my car while this older guy was there doing the same.

We both drove off and ended up at a Starbucks about two miles away.

We then both ended up at the gym and ran a few treadmills apart.

We both knew. It was awkward.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsShutterstock

14. Uncontrollable Laughter

I was riding my motorcycle a month ago when the light ahead of me turned red. So I slowed down and stopped behind the car that was also waiting at the red light. A guy in sweatpants jogs out between me and the car, and for some reason, a TV remote flies out of his pocket and smashes like it was made of glass, all over the street.

The sheer randomness of a guy having a TV remote in his pocket made me burst out laughing, and the guy was staring at the shards of remote in the street like he didn't know how it got in his pocket. I'm laughing so hard that I ease of my clutch a bit, and scare myself by moving forward an inch, causing me to stall my motorcycle out. I can't stop laughing, and now my motorcycle engine isn't covering the sound. So the guy slowly looks up from the shattered remote and stares directly at me with this pained look on his face. He does this until I stop laughing, fired my bike back up, and drove around him and down the street.

Angriest ever factsShutterstock

13. Well, They Tried

I have a minor social phobia. I was on the bus the other day, and I decided that I want to live my life, goddammit. I wanted to just start a conversation with a stranger, and I didn't know how. This woman and I were the only two people on the bus. I figured the best thing I could do was just be honest. I looked at her and said, "Isn't it funny how we're so afraid to just begin a conversation with another human being?" She just stared at me. So to answer my own question—yes, it is funny, in a very tragic way.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

12. Like Screaming Ships in The Night

I went for a bike ride in my neighborhood at about 12 at night a month ago. It was pitch black other than streetlights every five or six houses. I was kinda just zoning out, enjoying the fresh air, when something moved out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head to look, and I immediately assumed it was some kind of monster (I had just finished a horror movie).

I let out an extremely loud, bloodcurdling scream in the middle of the night in a silent suburban neighborhood. The thing, which turned out to be a blond soccer mom, screamed back at me, with pretty good reason. I zipped past her on my bike, yelling "oh my god I'm so sorry!" over and over again until I got off the street...I haven't gone on a nighttime bike ride since then.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

11. Poorly Handled

Without thinking, I once tried to shake an amputee's hand. He stuck out his arm in a non-offended way to show that he was unable to shake my hand, and to diffuse the situation with only minimal amounts of awkwardness. I, for some reason, took this as a gesture to shake his handless arm (it was cut off at just above the elbow so I had to really reach for it) which resulted in uneasy laughs and goodbyes.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsShutterstock

10. Letting It All Out

After taking a very stressful French exam during college, I went to the bathroom. All the stress from my life just kind of hit me at once and I started bawling. Several minutes into my nervous breakdown, some dude walks in to find me sitting in the corner near a sink just sobbing. He was so uncomfortable and I could tell. It was so ridiculous that I started laughing uncontrollably like a crazy...the dude just turned around and left.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsShutterstock

9. When You Gotta Go You Gotta Go

I once walked into a restaurant—I went straight to the bathroom, past the people who I now realize were waiting in line. I flung open the bathroom door AS WIDE AS FREAKING POSSIBLE and saw a girl on the toilet. We looked at each other wide-eyed until I finally screamed "WELL, THIS IS AWKWARD!!!" loud enough for the entire restaurant to hear. Causing everyone to turn and look. Embarrassed I ran as fast as I could, leaving the door wide open. The worst part? It was the type of door that closed itself ever so slowly, leaving the wide-eyed girl awkwardly sitting on the toilet with everyone staring at her.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

8. Mistaken Identity

I ordered pizza online from Dominos and tracked it as it was being made. (If you haven't ordered online before, it tells you by name who is preparing your pizza, etc). Anyway, it told me Diego was on his way to deliver the pizza, so when the delivery man buzzed I opened the door and said a very friendly, "HELLO DIEGO! Thanks for delivering my pizza!!!" The man (who happened to be of Latin descent) just stood there and looked at me for a minute. Then said, "My name is Luiz."...I could have tried to explain, but I was really hungry. So I paid the man and ate my pizza.

Never Speak of Again factsPixabay

7. Look Out Below

I was walking through the shopping mall in my home town, looking at some clothes in the windows. I'm just minding my own business and turn around with a bit of arm-swinging. Well, my arm swung directly into the groin of a complete stranger. The guy slumped down, moaning in pain. I couldn't even say sorry. I just walked away as innocent looking as I could. I was too embarrassed to say a word...

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

6. Emotional Avalanche

Was adopted at birth. Learned who my birth family was in my early 30s. Had met a sister but nobody else by that point. Sister tells me grandpa is being taken off life support (cancer) and wanted to talk to me before he dies. Travel to hospital several hours away. Meet mom in hospital lobby for the first time ever. Go to grandpa’s room where all of his, and my, family are.

They are all there to say their goodbyes. Probably only 5% of them knew of my existence. Suddenly all the attention is on me, the stranger. The have me kneel by his side and he apologizes through tears for pressuring my mom, that I just met, to give me away for adoption. People looked pretty shocked, including me. The experience was a thousand emotions and awkward was in there somewhere.

Humphrey Bogart factsPixabay

5. Help Yourself Why Don’t You

I was at a wedding reception at a golf course once and thought the entire patio was filled with wedding guests. Drunk and hungry, I also thought all the food at the tables was wedding appetizers. Turns out there were regular country club members on the patio as well. Feeling social, I sat at one of the tables, started eating part of their shrimp cocktail appetizer and chatting them up. Unfortunately, they weren't part of the wedding, and I was stealing their food. I probably sat there for ten minutes until I came to the horrible realization of what was happening.

Wedding Objections factsShutterstock

4. Right In The Schnoz

The most awkward moment of my life thus far was with a stranger. I was in the Quebec airport going through customs with my family. Because of some recent changes to their system they didn’t have everyone in a line, but instead in a large pen where they would release ~50 people at a time (chaos). When my family is at the front, they release us and everyone is running forward in a mass trying to get to the kiosks.

Next to me is a tall Swedish man trying to get his family a kiosk, he is running forward and waving his arm behind him in a “come on” motion—clearly frantic. Well, somehow the worlds aligned where his middle and pointer fingers went perfectly into my two nose holes. Perfectly, as he then ripped his arm upwards to motion his family forward, my nose was also ripped forward, and I immediately began bleeding—everywhere. He looked at me in horror, my family looked at me in frustration as we needed to get to a kiosk, the customs agents looked at me in bewilderment. The language barriers made the situation all the more awkward.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

3. Mum’s Not The Word

I was with my mum buying flowers at a florist for a New Year’s Eve party. The florist was obviously a very lonely woman and wouldn’t stop going on about how she isn’t doing anything for New Year’s and how it’s so nice we have friends to visit, to the point where it became really saddening. My mother obviously really felt for her.

Every now and again, maybe twice a year, she has a brain fart and accidentally says what she is thinking. That day was one of those rare days. After paying for the flowers, my mum said "Thanks! Hope you find a friend soon!" I look at her in shock, the woman looks at her in shock, and my mum just gasps, apologizes and literally backs out of the store. God, it was so awkward.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

2. Toilet Trouble

Wife and I went to Europe for our honeymoon. We were in a train station in Amsterdam and I had to use the bathroom. I walked into the toilet stall and saw there was tp in the bowl but didn't think anything of it. I did my business and when I tried to flush, it didn't go down. In a panic, I flushed again and this only resulted in the water becoming dangerously close to the rim of the bowl.

I said screw it and started to leave, however right outside the stall was a bathroom attendant. He looked over at me and started yelling at me asking why was I clogging up the toilet! He was blocking me from leaving and all these other people in the bathroom looked in at us. God, it was so embarrassing I wanted to die...I eventually muttered sorry and brushed past him and ran out of the bathroom.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsShutterstock

1. Fool Me Once...

I worked the entrance gate for a theme park. Our season pass holders used a biometric scan of their right index finger to verify their identity. One day a little girl walks up with her family, who only spoke Spanish, scans her pass and places her left finger on the scanner. I say, “Can you use your right finger sweetie?” Then, her mother raises the girl's right arm to show me she doesn’t actually have a right hand.

Seemed to be due to a birth defect rather than a horrific accident. However, her left finger keeps getting rejected, so I call a lead over to override the old scan and re-do it. He then proceeds to say the same thing to the girl, followed by her mother raising the arm again. It was definitely more awkward for me than the family, but it gets worse. About three months later it happened again, the same little girl. Absolutely mortifying.

Awkward Moments With Complete Strangers factsPixabay

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