"What Is Wrong With Me?" People Share The Cringiest Things They've Ever Done

September 18, 2023 | Maureen Kelner

"What Is Wrong With Me?" People Share The Cringiest Things They've Ever Done

We all have that one truly embarrassing memory (or two, or five) that always pops up when we least expect it and ruins our day. Whether it's a classroom mishap, wardrobe malfunction, or just an unbearably awkward social interaction, the one comfort we have is that we aren’t alone. Just ask these Reddit users who shared their most embarrassing memories.

1. Ahoy There!

In fifth grade, I went to school on Halloween Costume Day completely dressed up like a pirate. Makeup, costume, hair, everything. I thought I looked amazing. But then I walked into school only to realize that no one else was wearing a costume. That's when it hit me: Dress up day was tomorrow. I had to wait until lunch for my mom to bring me new clothes.


2. Meet-Not-So-Cute

I was interested in this cute guy who was in a couple of my classes, but I didn't know how to start a conversation with him. One day, we were standing next to each other while preparing food for a school barbecue and for some godforsaken reason, I thought it would be a good idea to start a conversation with: "I like the feeling of touching raw meat".

Cringe memoryPexels

3. Yikes

I was around 11 and we were playing a game in school 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 then the sleeves got tied around a pole. You had to get free yourself to keep playing. I got caught and tied to a pole, but I was wearing a hoodie with a zipper, so I unzipped it from the inside and ran away shouting "HA!" and thinking I was so clever.

I was so wrong. 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 developed chest. Nailed it.

Cringe memoryShutterstock

4. Missed Connection

I’ll never forget the time my internet access was down over a weekend, and so I went to work as usual on Monday and stayed and worked all day as usual. I only found out I’d been fired on Saturday when I got home and checked my email. It was a small, very high-profile business. Everyone at work was acting weird that whole day. I soft-boil myself to sleep with this memory.

Cringe memoryUnsplash

5. Freudian Slip

I definitely cringe when I remember the time my professor asked what I did over the summer. I wanted to say "hanging around" and "catching up on sleep" but all I managed to blurt out was "sleeping around". It was an awkward course.

Cringe memoryPexels

6. So Close and Yet So Far

I was trying to run away from home when I was six years old. But on my way out, I came to a complete stop at the bottom of the driveway because I had always been 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.

Cringe memoryPexels


7. First Impression

I once went for an interview, and after walking into the room I handed the person my coat when they were trying to shake my hand. I did not get the job.

Cringe memoryPexels

8. Pass/ Fail

After I passed my driving test, my instructor was waiting for me at the testing facility. When I got my license, my instructor put his hand out to shake my hand, but I thought he wanted to see my license. I handed it to him, he awkwardly took my license, put it in his other hand, and took my hand and shook it. Thankfully, the dude was pretty down to earth and let it slide. I was 17 and had very little understanding of basic human interactions.

Cringe memoryUnsplash

9. Nice To Meet You, I Think...

I went to a job interview and when I walked into the room there were three people sitting behind a table. I started at the left and shook the first guy’s hand, then the second guy’s hand, and when I got to the woman on the right, I put my right hand out to give her a shake. When I looked down, I nearly gasped. She had a prosthetic claw instead of a right hand.

She had obviously come across this before and so she just put her left hand out to shake. I was so flummoxed that instead of switching to my left hand, I did an awkward upside down handshake with my right hand. Amazingly, I got the job! On my first day I met the woman from the interview, and she thought the whole thing was hilarious.

In the few years I worked there, every time I met her we did the weird upside down handshake.

Cringe memoryPexels

10. Good Thing For Gift Receipts

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. After a lot of thought, I settled on a beautiful jigsaw puzzle. When she opened the gift, she wasn't too happy. Because she was blind.

Yes I bought my blind girlfriend a jigsaw puzzle. At the time it seemed very appropriate because each piece was unique right? She can feel the pieces right?? Pure cringe. It still haunts me.

Cringe memoryPexels

11. Thank You, Next

When I was 16 I offered to take a girl I liked to the movies. I approached the ticket counter and asked for one movie ticket. I immediately realized I should have bought her a ticket, but I was too embarrassed to rectify my mistake. She quietly walked up to the counter to buy her own ticket. This still haunts me almost 10 years later.

Cringe memoryPxfuel

12. If At First You Don’t Succeed...

I once went on a choir trip to Lisbon and I accidentally left my bag on the underground. It was a huge ordeal to get it back, and the teachers were not pleased. I was 16 at this point, too old to be forgetting things. The next year I was on a German exchange trip with the same choir, and as we got off the U-Bahn someone made a reference to the previous year in Lisbon.

I laughed, then suddenly stopped and yelled: “Oh no, I did it again!" Because I am a complete idiot, it was only then that I realized I had left my bag on the train to Lisbon. After that, I was known as the most forgetful person in class. All the teachers would make a show of not wanting to be the one responsible for me whenever we went on a school trip.

Cringe memoryFlickr

13. Bam!

We were on a class trip to New York City to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and I was walking down the sidewalk next to my crush. He had just laughed at one of my jokes and I was strolling along, feeling cute, staring deep into his eyes...until I walked straight into a parking meter. Hard. I bit my tongue and there was a fair amount of blood, but the physical pain was nothing compared to the mental anguish.

It’s definitely one of the top clips in the personal-shame sizzle reel that my brain loves to screen for me during sleepless nights.

Cringe memoryFlickr

14. Bad Timing

In seventh grade, I was in gym class and we had to sit on the bleachers. I felt a rumble in my stomach and let out a huge toot accidentally. Of course, it echoed across the entire gym. It would have been funny if it wasn't for the fact that the entire class was at that moment observing a minute of silence...in honor of Veterans Day.

Cringe memoryWikimedia.Commons

15. Happy Birthday To You

It was my 16th birthday and I was celebrating with my friends at a local cafe. This guy at another table kept making eyes at me. I was feeling incredibly confident in my very grown up high heeled leather boots, and walked past his table to use the bathroom. I was so focused on balancing myself on those shoes that I missed this small flight of 3 stairs leading to the bathroom.

The cafe was dimly lit and the carpet on the stairs matched that of the floor. I managed to not only fall down all 3 stairs but my skirt went flying up as I lay sprawled out on the floor.

Cringe memoryPexels

16. Proceed With Caution

I was at a restaurant with my extended family once. We were visiting them near their house in another town ad eating dinner at a place I hadn't been to before. I don’t know how old I was but I think I was in the 10-12 range. On our way out of the restaurant, I speed-walked STRAIGHT into the glass door, knocked myself back, and started crying.

Seconds later there was a staff member with a bag of ice and they said to my dad, “She shouldn’t feel bad, I’ve seen full-grown men take themselves out on this door". A few years later we went back and the doors had been replaced with tinted glass. Suffice it to say that a LOT of people were walking into that clear door!

Cringe memoryPexels

17. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

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 get it out but they couldn’t quite reach. A man passing by with his son offered to help. He finally managed to get the ball but then, of course, he then dropped my stick. As he was reaching for the stick he fell into the pond!

He laughed, we laughed and he went home to dry off. Then, he came back 10 mins later because once he got home he realized his phone was missing. He thinks he dropped it in the pond. To make matters worse, his phone contained baby pictures of his son and newborn at home. We tried so hard to find that phone. I still feel bloody awful.

Cringe memoryUnsplash

18. Whoops!

No matter what I do, I will never get this one memory out of my head. When I was 14 or 15, we had an obligatory swimming class at school. One of my classmates was in the water and I dove in next to them. When I came up to the surface, I looked over at my classmate, only to see that she had a shocked and horrified look on their face.

I truly thought they were in danger. So I asked: "Oh god, are you drowning?" Then they answered: "No. Shorts up". I looked down. The impact of my dive had made my trunks drop. My junk was fully visible. I dropped into the water, pulled up my shorts and then said with a very straight face: "Nothing to see here. Absolutely nothing".

Cringe memoryShutterstock

19. Playground Love

When I was in school, the little elementary playground and the older elementary 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 was then playing soccer on the other side of the line. I was very stupid then and when I wanted to get his attention, I shoved a dodge ball up my shirt and yelled “Hey (cute big kid’s name), look you got me pregnant!”

I still have nightmares about it. Luckily he moved away.

Cringe memoryPexels

20. Articulation is Key

This happened to me when I was in the third grade. One of my teachers’ names ended with “mi” (pronounced like "me"). At the time, I was kind of shy and prone to mumbling whenever I had to speak to the class. So when I tried to say her name it sounded EXACTLY like mommy. The whole class burst out laughing. I was really quiet the rest of the day.

Cringe memoryUnsplash

21. A Perfectly Logical Explanation

One day I went to school one day without underwear, I truly don't remember why. I was wearing a skirt and tights and no underwear. One of the boys noticed that I wasn’t wearing underwear and immediately told everyone in my third grade class. My brilliant response was to INSIST that I was wearing underwear, it was just invisible.

his happened when I was 8 years old and I'm close to 50 now, so you know how long this memory has stuck with me.

Cringe memoryShutterstock

22. An Honest Question

This is one of my worst, most cringiest moments, mainly because it's all my fault. My main excuse is that I was young. Back then, my family attended this massive religious conference every year. It sounds weird, but...yeah it was weird. But for the kids, it was like a massive summer camp. So one day I went with my sisters to the main meeting tent.

We were early so there's almost no one there except this one guy in a wheelchair that I'd seen around a lot. He was pretty popular and was usually surrounded by people. I thought it was weird he was alone and I didn't want him to be lonely, so I just walked over to him and said "Hello!" He looked at me and went "... hello". I froze up and didn't know what to say next, so of course, I asked the worst question possible and went, "Why are you in a wheelchair?"

Cringe memoryPixabay

23. Rescue Mission

I was minding my own business in my house when my grandma called me over to the window because there was a loose dog across the street. He was just a little guy so I decided to go investigate and see if we could find his owners. I walked over, picked him up and started back home when I heard this man yell, “EXCUSE ME, where are you going with my dog?”

I look over to see an entire family staring at me as I basically try to abduct their dog. I still get that heart-sinking feeling when I think about how they’d been there the whole time.

Cringe memoryPikrepo

24. The Best Intentions

I was at the sixth-grade science fair, you know the kind with those cardboard tri-fold boards? Well we all had our science fair experiments made up on those. Our teachers had told us that if we were having trouble standing them up, we should bend the two arms backward. The kid who was presenting before me was having trouble getting his board to stand up.

So I was like: “Ah, I know what to do!” And I offered to bend it for him. And then I heard a crack. It broke, because for some reason it was made of plastic and not cardboard like the rest of the class. Our teachers made me stand up there and hold the pieces of the board up for him while he did his presentation in front of the whole class.

And of course, I was next, so I immediately had to go do mine. It was mortifying. I'm 22 now and I still cringe when I think about it.

Cringe memoryShutterstock

25. It Could Have Been Worse

I was at a regional spelling bee after winning my school spelling bee. It was being held at a local college. At one point, a really pretty college girl beckoned me over to her with a finger. I, a twelve-year-old coke-bottle-glasses nerd, walked over all nervous and excited, only to have her lean up to me and whisper in my ear 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, but the memory still makes me flinch.

Cringe memoryFlickr

26. Thanks But No Thanks

Oh man. So I’m about fifteen years old and I’m longboarding to my friend’s house down the way. I see a guy walking his bike with both his arms and two handlebars full of groceries. I stop him and ask if he would like some help. He looks at me and gratefully says "God bless you man". This is the moment when everything fell apart.

For some reason I’ll never understand, my brain took this as "no thanks". So I said okay, turned around and went on my way. It wasn't until I made it a good distance away that I realized my mistake. I turned around, but he was gone. I feel terrible every time I think of that one. Full body cringe.

Cringe memoryPixabay

27. How Did That Get There?

I had what is probably everyone's worst nightmare come to fruition in December 2009 during a class presentation. The teacher had set up a projector that was 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 thicc butt appeared on the board. I wont say any more. I've thought about this probably twice a week for over 10 years.

Cringe memoryWikimedia.Commons

28. What Do They Say About Curiosity and the Cat?

I was in the second grade when I watched a tv episode that mentioned something about lesbians. Being the curious kid I was, I asked my sister what lesbians were and she explained them to me. So the next day, my second-grade teacher introduced us to the new assistant teacher. All of the kids got a chance to ask her questions and she willingly answered them.

One kid asked the assistant teacher if she had kids, she said no. Another kid asked if she was married or had a boyfriend, she said no. So my brilliant self asked: “Are you a lesbian?” and her face turned bright red and she started stuttering. My teacher had to call my mom, she laughed so hard on the phone that my mom cried actual tears.

Fast forward many years to my eighth-grade graduation, and the teacher’s assistant comes up to me with her baby and her husband. She laughed and said, “Remember when you asked me if I was a lesbian in front of the entire class?” My jaw dropped. I was really hoping she had forgotten! We all laughed about it but it’s a hard memory to get over.

Cringe memoryPickPik

29. I’ll Cry If I Want To

I was riding my bicycle past my best friend’s place and there were a bunch of kids playing in his front yard. I went up t them and asked my friend if I could play too. He answered: “No. It’s my birthday party". I went home and cried.

Cringe memoryPexels

30. Losing Yourself In the Part

I was in a high school play once, and part way through the show I started improvising. I don’t even know why I did it, I just got so into the moment I forgot there was a script. I was playing one of the stuck-up priests and when the Jesus character was talking I was technically supposed to be quiet, but instead I yelled “This man commits blasphemy!” I pointed to the crowd and said: “You heard it! You all heard it!”

When he tried to get back on script I kept going with: “ooo look at me I’m Jesus, I have 12 best friends and I don’t wear shoes". I can’t even describe it in complete sentences how much I hate myself in that moment.

Cringe memoryShutterstock

31. On Your Marks, Get Set… Groan!

I was in the locker room getting ready for the 7th-grade track try-outs. I had started my period and was unprepared. I asked around for a pad, tampon, ANYTHING but no one could help. The nurse's office was closed. The female track coach told me I should've been better prepared: “Too bad, time to run!” So I wrapped a bunch of toilet paper around my underwear and headed to the track.

The 400-meter dash gun went off, I ran...and so did the bloody toilet paper. It was trailing out of my shorts and blowing in the wind behind me like a disgusting puberty flag. At the end of the race no one said anything. It was the most deafening silence I have ever heard. For DAYS later, I noticed bits of bloody toilet paper clinging to the grass on the field.

Cringe memoryShutterstock

32. Unexpected Emergency

In middle school, I decided the way to get popular was to join the volleyball team. On the first day of practice, we were doing an exercise where each girl jumps around a rope on the floor. Essentially one girl at a time had to jump around while everyone else watched. But here's the thing: I had a bad UTI at the time and when I got up for my turn I suddenly had to pee like never before.

I knew I wouldn't make it to the bathroom so I panicked and sat down to try and hold it in. Everyone was yelling at me to stand up, and finally, someone grabbed me and pulled me to my feet. This resulted in me peeing my pants and leaving a huge puddle on the floor of the gym. I ran to the bathroom and stayed there, frantically trying to dry my shorts, until my mom picked me up.

Cringe memoryPexels

33. Don’t Blame the Messenger

Prom proposals are a bad idea. I’m English and we don’t tend to care about prom, so it’s rare to ask someone out. But I cared, and I asked. I liked this girl and for a while I gave her a bag of popcorn nearly every day. I built up the courage to write on a piece of paper: “Will you go to prom with me?” and put it in the bag. I gave it to her and immediately left, I’m not exactly brave.

I was chilling with my mates later when one of her friends came up to me and explained that everybody shared the bag of popcorn and SOMEONE ELSE noticed the paper. They told her about it and of course she said no.

Cringe memoryShutterstock

34. I Should Have Thought of That

I was around 20 years old and my little brother and his girlfriend were getting ready to have their first child. We were sitting around and having a conversation about what the child will call different people in the family. It just so happens that my little brother’s girlfriend and I have the same first name. So I actually asked what the baby should call me since we have the same name.

She looked at me blankly for a moment and said: "Well, the baby is going to call me mom".

Cringe memoryUnsplash

35. Words are Hard Sometimes

I was in about fifth grade. The whole class was taking turns reading out-loud from a textbook when someone came upon the word “gnat". I raised my hand, thinking I was being clever, and said: “Isn’t that pronounced g-nat?” The teacher said no you don’t butter your bread with a k-nife. The whole class laughed. I still think about that to this day. It was just one of many, many embarrassing things that happened to me in grade school.

Cringe memoryUnsplash

36. Can I Get A Do-Over?

There was a girl at our college who did all her schooling online. She was in a motorized wheelchair and could only move her fingers a little, which is how she drove her chair around. A couple of friends and I reached out to her and invited her to a little low-key event on campus because she was really cool but super nervous about being in public.

Her mom dropped her off at the event, and I walked up to her, said “Hello,” and reached out my hand for a handshake. She just stared at me and said “Hi” back quietly. It didn’t dawn on me until then what I had done. I began apologizing and she was cool about it but I always cringe so hard remembering it.

Cringe memoryPexels

37. Umm...

I used to work in customer service. One day I was at home, hungover, and I decided to order a pizza. When it arrived, I opened the door and the guy handed me the pizza and the receipt. I signed it, handed it back to him, stared him right in the eye and said: "Is there anything else I can do for you?” The next painful 5 seconds, while we both tried to process what just happened, will always stick with me. It felt like an eternity.

Cringe memoryPexels

38. Flattery Will Get You… Somewhere

When I was 17, I was wandering around a high street in the UK and was approached by someone from a “modeling agency". I was so flattered, taken aback, and awkward that I agreed to pay a £50 fee to sign up. It turns out, of course, to be fake. I never heard back from them after I paid. I still cringe so hard that my stomach hurts when I think about how dumb I was.

Cringe memoryUnsplash

39. You Won’t Live That One Down

I was at a boyfriend's house once when his parents were out. We had just finished having "sexy time" when he left to use the bathroom. A while later I heard a knock on the door. Thinking it was him trying to be polite, I laid undressed and spread eagle on his bed, which directly faced the door, and said in a deep sultry voice "Come in".

Only to have his mom, who had gotten home from work early, open the door. I was so mortified I refused to leave his room until his mom went to bed. 20 years later, I still think of that moment on a fairly regular basis.

Cringe memoryUnsplash

40. Not Quite

Me and my brother were staying with our grandparents over the summer and they were thinking about things we could do while we were there. One day we decided to go to a pottery class. The guy that was teaching me had a really REALLY strong northern Irish accent and he just kept saying, “What ship do you want to make? What ship?”

I was probably only 10 years old and had no idea what sort of ship I was going to build or even what ship was possible to make. So many things were going through my head, so I just blurted out “The Titanic?!” He looked at me with this face as if to say “what the fu.". kindly he said, “that’s probably going to be a bit difficult, why don’t we try a vase". Of course, he was saying “shape,” I’m just an idiot.

Cringe memoryShutterstock

41. Step Right Up!

I was at a buskers festival when I was 13 or so and they were inviting people from the audience to demonstrate some martial arts moves. I was called up and they asked me to uppercut a boxing pad. I somehow missed and punched myself in the face in front of the entire audience.

Cringe memoryFlickr

42. That’s What Wikipedia Is For

I grew up fairly sheltered and didn’t have the internet at home so I didn’t do a lot of research. Well, queue freshman year when people were coming into classrooms to collect donations to an organization for Human Rights. Puzzled, I ask why they were raising money for that since we already have rights... Yes the whole class laughed at me and I have since learned my mistake.

When The Class Clown Goes Too FarShutterstock

43. Time For A Personal Change

This was in 1999. I was walking to the bank in downtown Washington DC when a kid a couple of years younger than me stopped me with a very polite "excuse me sir, but...". Before he got the rest of it out, I said "Look man, I don't have any change". He replied, "I WAS JUST GOING TO ASK YOU WHERE M STREET IS". I was, to put it mildly, an ignorant jerk and over 20 years later the image of horror and anger on that poor guy's face still haunts and shames me.

Cringe memoryFlickr

44. Awkward!

Not long ago at church we were asked to greet people coming in. I turned towards a man who said hi to me and stuck his hand out to shake. I went for it and realized he was talking to the woman beside me. She and I both ended up with a hand in his hand at the same time trying to shake it. They both looked at me and I quickly turned around and pretended it didn’t happen, which made it even more awkward.

For the rest of the service I couldn’t stop laughing about it. This is standard for me.

Cringe memoryPexels

45. Excellent Customer Service

I worked at an ice cream shop at a train station and this woman came up and we did the whole normal exchange and I thought I heard her say "I need to pee". So as I handed her the ice cream cup I happily said "I hope you find a toilet!" this woman gave me the weirdest look ever as she quietly thanked me and left the shop.

It took me a good few minutes to realize she hadn't said a single word about anything regarding bathrooms and I'd gravely misheard her.

Cringe memoryPikrepo

46. Rude Awakening

I used to fall asleep once in my high school history class, I was all the way in the back of the room so the teacher never noticed. Until one day I tooted in my sleep so loudly that it woke me up and my head shot up and smacked against the back wall. 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.

Also I should mention my crush was two seats over.  I never heard the end of it.

Cringe memoryShutterstock

47. Maybe Just Coffee Next Time

When I was in college I REALLY liked this girl and I finally got invited over to her dorm. She made me a grilled cheese sandwich but I was so nervous I just couldn't eat it. So with a mouth full of grilled cheese I asked to use the bathroom and spat it out in the toilet. I think she knew what I did, because as I was leaving she said, "I hope the food will be better next time". I didn't know how to explain. It was just so awkward and I felt terrible. I still think about that one.

Cringe memoryPexels

48. Meet and Greet (and Groan)

In the 2000s, I was obsessed with this show on the family channel. My aunt had a friend who was a makeup artist for the show and so she managed to get us on set to meet the cast and watch a taping. My 11-year-old self was ecstatic! It was the most incredible thing to happen to me. We get to the set and it's everything I had hoped it would be.

We went to do the meet and greet with the cast and I was so nervous because I tend to be awkward and oblivious in social situations. The female co-star was being super sweet with me because I was the only girl in our group. She called me over to sit with her for the photos and used her hand to pat the seat beside her. Being oblivious, I missed the seat pat and went and sat DIRECTLY on her lap.

I'm 27 years old now and I still remember her saying "Oh! Um, Okay" in a surprised voice. I was mortified that I just sat on her lap like a baby instead of beside her like she intended. I honestly couldn't look anyone in the eyes after that.

Cringe memoryPexels

49. Pretend You Didn’t See That

A co-worker and I went out for a drink and a bite to eat after work one day. While we were eating, he coughed and a big piece of his corned beef flew out of his mouth and immediately landed on my hand. I saw the piece on my hand but didn't notice that it had come from him; I thought part of my messy sandwich had fallen and landed there, so I did something utterly disgusting. 

I licked it off my hand. When I tasted corned beef instead of turkey I realized what I had done. And I looked up to see the horrified look on his face. I chewed, swallowed, and continued on as if everything was perfectly normal.

Cringe memoryPixabay

Sources:  Reddit,

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