“Everyone is like a butterfly, they start out ugly and awkward and then morph into beautiful graceful butterflies that everyone loves.” –Drew Barrymore.
Who hasn’t had a super awkward moment? There are only so many ways to screw up human social interaction, but, by golly, we humans are going to try them all! Whether they’re simply funny or truly mortifying, awkward moments come in all uncomfortable shapes and sizes. Without awkward moments, we wouldn’t have sitcoms, stand-up, or fun stories like these. So awkward adults never fret: the awkward are never truly alone. There’s a whole community of social faux-pas producers that can empathize.
Like, who’s to say what a proper handshake really looks like? Or how a door really opens? Or where that fart really came from? It could look or come from anything! From tied tongues to unfortunate ringtones, blush to these 53 baffling stories of universally awkward behavior.
53. Whistle While Your Work That
While at the store today, I got a text message as I was walking past some dude. My text notification sounds like a whistle I guess because the guy I was passing stopped and asked me “Did you just whistle at me?”. Hahaha nope. I did not just whistle at you. Gosh, it was so awkward!
52. The Big Unspoken
When the teacher bends over with their rear in your face, and you have to just kinda…look away and pretend not to notice.
51. When Paper Beats Rock
Going for a fist bump when the other person goes for a high five or vice versa.
50. Syncing Up Is Hard
Asking someone, how’s it going? and then answering the question/greeting yourself by saying something like, “fine, thanks” before they’ve had a chance to reply.
48. A Face Too Far
Seeing somebody you know and start talking to them, only to realize it’s actually a complete stranger.
47. Face the Facts
Walking into someone pooping and making eye contact.
46. A Galaxy Far, Far, Far, Away
Universally awkward in my area (Midwest, mostly Lutherans).
Star Wars in a theater. A character says, “May the force be with you.”
A soft group mumble of “and also with you.”
This is probably because Lutheran church litanies never change, so people memorize and say them automatically….and the usual line is, “may peace/Christ be with you,” to which everyone in the congregation must reply “and also with you.”
45. A Rose By Any Other Something
Not knowing the name of someone you most likely should know by now…
44. Play on Repeat
Not being able to hear what someone is saying, so you say “what?” Then they say it again, but you STILL can’t hear them, so you just laugh and say “yeah” and pray they weren’t asking a question.
43. I’m Sure That Point Was Awesome
It’s really awkward when you’re in a conversation with multiple people and you are just not given any time to add your input. Then the topic changes and you’re just sitting there with the thing you wanted to say still lingering in your mind for the next hour.
42. The Fast and the Furious: Sidewalk Drift
That awkward yet exhilarating moment when you’re trying to overtake someone on the path and you have a couple of seconds where you’re walking next to them at a familiar distance.
41. What’s My Line?
“Hi, how are you?”
“Good, how are you doing?”
“I’m doing well, what about you?”
40. It’s There For a Reason
Opening a public bathroom stall/changing room door that the person inside failed to lock.
39. Three Is a Crowd
Waving back to someone who is actually waving to the person behind you.
38. See You Soon, Taken Too Literally
Saying goodbye to someone, only to meet them again minutes later.
37. Do the Stranger Shuffle
Today I was at the store and I rounded the corner at the same time as a man coming from the opposite direction. We both took turns mumbling “sorry” and trying to shuffle around each other but moving in the same direction every time. It probably lasted 10 seconds but it felt like hours.
36. Leave ‘Em Grinning
Smiling at someone who doesn’t smile back. You’ll just end up with an awkward smile on your face.
35. Cupid’s Arrow Misses
Accidentally saying “Bye I love you!” inappropriately to someone you don’t actually love. Like your boss… or a customer.
34. And Many More!
“Happy birthday!” “You too.”
“Enjoy your food!” “You too.”
“How are yoooou?” “You tooooo.”
“Happy birthday!” “You too!”
(Edited so it could be sung to the tune of happy birthday).
33. Toothless Conversation
Thinking someone is talking to you when they’re actually talking to someone on a Bluetooth device.
32. Discount on Awkwardness
Bumping into someone you know at the supermarket, exchange pleasantries and carry on. Then as you go about your shopping you keep bumping into them.
31. Unpaid Gatekeeper
Having someone hold the door for you 30 feet away, making you run awkwardly just to let them go.
30. It Takes Two to Interrupt
You and the person you’re talking to trying to get a word in at the same time.
Me: So I—
Them: Then ou—
Me: So I was—
Them: Yeah so w—
Me: You fir—
Them: Go ahe—
29. Have We Met Before?
Being left alone with someone you were only introduced to a minute earlier.
28. I’m Sure They Will, Someday
“Enjoy your meal.” “You too.”
Coming across someone and neither of you knows which way to walk so you both end up almost running into each other several times.
Or not knowing if someone’s going for a handshake or fist bump.
26. Rest in Pleasantries
I almost said happy birthday on a funeral.
25. There Can Only Be One
Having to poop with people in the stalls next to you… And knowing you both are waiting for the other one to leave so you can poop in peace.
24. Food Baby
Asking a non-pregnant woman about her non-existent fetus.
23. Hide Your Thunder
Involuntary erections as a teenager, especially when you are in a bathing suit and can’t hide it.
22. Mother May I
Accidentally calling a teacher “Mom.”
21. She’s Younger Than She Looks
When I was in school I accidentally called my teacher grandma. I freaked out and said, “Sorry, you look like my Gran.” She was in her mid-30s. She looked nothing like my grandma. I still cringe thinking about it.
20. Mr. Mom
I’m a male teacher and I get called mom sometimes. The weirdest was a girl who would constantly call me dad on purpose, then pretend she did it by accident.
19. Loose Lips
I’m left-handed so I naturally lean to my left for kisses and hugs. Unfortunately, most people lean (to their) right. I’ve accidentally almost kissed many people because of this minor faux-pas. I try to remember myself but if I’m relaxed around the person then I usually forget. The worst is when I hug another woman at church: they always look at me like I’m a lesbian trying to kiss them. No, I’m a straight woman who’s left-oriented in a right-dominant world.
18. Not Suitable for Folks
When you’re watching a movie with your parents and a sex scene comes on.
17. Hey, There’s Elegance in Simplicity
Tripping in front of someone.
16. Like Talking to a Wall
Trying to make small-talk with someone and they give you nothing back.
Your brain goes into overdrive. Do they want me to go away? Are those “haha…yeah…” responses just because they don’t know what to say? Should I power through and try some different topics or just let both of us stew in this awkward silence? I’ve tried now, so stopping would be a conscious choice…I can’t leave, either, we both know that’s me running away from this failure.
15. Our Little Secret
Farting at your desk when the coast is clear and then your boss comes by to ask for something and you both know what happened.
14. We Walk A Lonely Road
“See ya later!”
::both walk away in the same direction::
13. I’ll Be Back
“Here is your change and receipt, I hope you come back!” “Thanks, you too… I mean ok I will.”
12. Maybe Third Time Will Be the Charm
Having to say pardon more than twice and then still not understanding what they said.
11. Grab the Cash and Go
When you’re standing at the register trying to jam your money back into your wallet fast enough to not awkwardly hold up the line.
10. Mum’s the Word
How’s your mom?
…She passed away
9. Can’t Spell Redo Without The “Do”
An attempt at gallows humor that goes horribly awry.
I used to be a custodian at an elementary school and one of the kindergartners started the year off by finger painting the stall with his feces. Eventually, he got to the point where he only pissed the floor.
“Just think, only one week left to go and I’m making such progress. It’ll be so sad to see him go,” the teacher said during my last visit to her room.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll get another year to properly potty train him.”
She ripped me a new one for that. Apparently holding him back would stunt his social growth and one should not joke about flunking kindergartners.
8. Take Your Pick
When you’re seeing an acquaintance and you don’t know if you go for the handshake, the hug or the cheek kiss.
7. Throwback Thursday
Accidentally liking your crush’s picture from a year ago…
6. Every Stranger is a Parent’s Friend You Have Made Yet
When you’re with your parents and they bump into someone they know and turn to you and say, “Do you know who this is?” or “Do you remember this person?” and you’re standing there with no clue who this person is.
5. Only Two Options
Pushing/pulling the wrong way on a door.
4. Server at Bat
When you have just been served your food and are about to continue your conversation and the waiter approaches with a pepper mill the size of a baseball bat.
3. A Most Unfortunate Oven
Farting in an elevator.
2. One Man Shame
In college, I was riding my bike slow across campus and I saw somebody putting on an amateur Shakespeare production for a semi-large crowd. I was so absorbed in people watching, that I didn’t notice I was about to head down a shallow staircase.
I eventually crashed at the bottom, but it took me a full 30 seconds of “oops, got my balance back,” “oops, lost it again,” over and over…. by the end the entire crowd was watching, and when I finally landed, one of the actors yelled “Art thou alright?”
Slow motion accidents in front of large crowds are a pretty universally known awkward moment.
1. One Big Happy Family
Was on the phone with my boss and she was getting really irritated about something, I don’t even remember what. The combination of her irritation and my exhaustion made my brain misfire, and I ended the call with “okay bye bye Mom, I love you!” I was so embarrassed but she thought it was hilarious and started calling me her adopted daughter after that. I mean, she is the same age as my mom so it’s not too weird, but I certainly felt like a child around her instead of a colleague until she left the company. I miss her 🙁