Everyday Musings, Life, Listicles

The Most Awkward & Embarrassing Situations I Have Faced Over The Years

Jaylen Brown says,

Embarrassment is where growth happens

There are different stages of my life from when I can remember being asked embarrassing questions. Maybe reading through them will help you recall some of your own embarrassing moments.

I’ll divide this story into age groups so that I don’t forget any incident.

  • 8–12 years

Back then we had landline phones as opposed to cellphones these days. So, whenever the phone rang, everyone heard the ring, and whoever was closest to the phone had to answer. I once picked up a call which was for my father and the person on the other end said, “May I speak to Mr.**** please?”

Despite being a child I was taught to ask who it was calling, so I asked, “May I know who is this?”

The answer came, “This is **** speaking”.

I wasn’t yet taught to address all elders with a ‘sir’ or ‘uncle’ so I shouted out to my dad saying “Dad, *****’s call for you”

There was immediate shock on my dad’s face and he said to me before taking the phone from me, “Are you mad? He’s my senior. Don’t call him by his name.”

As soon as he took the phone from me, he continued apologizing for my behavior for 2 straight minutes before moving on to the purpose of the call.

Though I failed to understand my mistake for a long time, everyone was made aware of it and during every social gathering the incident was recalled and I was asked, “Did you really call a millionaire by his name?”

It was embarrassing and after a point annoying.

What this experience taught me?

  • Talk to strangers, even over phone calls, with respect and humility.
  • Always refer to your elders with sir, uncle, or by adding a Mr. or Mrs. to their name/surname.
Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash
  • 13–15 years

My elder brother and I used to study in the same school. He was three years senior to me and a much-loved student *cough*. He was a favorite of the teachers, acing in studies and sports. That obviously made him popular among the students too. I, on the other hand, was introverted and kept to myself most of the time. Though I aced in English, I barely passed Math. This was surprising for most teachers and one of the most embarrassing moments was in my 7th grade when I passed the Math paper through grace marks. Both my brother and I had the same Math teacher at the time and when she called out my name, she said,

“(insert brother’s name)’s sister? Really? He just topped my paper in 10th grade. Is he your biological brother or a cousin?”

The teenage me could just nod and suppress the urge to retort at her increasing disgruntlement throughout the remainder of that academic year.

I wasn’t much into sports either, so similar remarks and questions came from the sports teacher too. It was not only embarrassing but I developed an inferiority complex in me which still has some marks left behind.

What this experience taught me?

  • No two people can have the same level of intelligence and capabilities, despite being related by blood.
  • Comparison between kids leads to them growing up with self-esteem issues.
Photo by Yasin Yusuf on Unsplash
  • 18–21 years

The inferiority complex I spoke about earlier made its way well into my adulthood too. As students of BMS (Bachelor of Management Studies), we were expected to give PowerPoint presentations almost every week. These happened in front of all my classmates and the professor who taught us that paper.

Because of my inferiority complex, and never having done public speaking before, it took me a while to find my footing here. In fact, the initial few presentations included incidents like trembling hands and me resulting in tears.

During one such presentation, looking at my nervousness, the lecturer (who ideally should have been encouraging) asked me (out loud in front of the whole class) “If you can’t give a presentation well, why the hell have you taken this course?”

That became the tipping point and I vowed to make myself better. Needless to say, all presentations after that went quite well. In fact, the same professor appreciated my speaking skills on more than one occasion after that.

What this experience taught me?

  • Public embarrassment sometimes leads to growth.
  • You never know your full potential till you open yourself to try new things.
Photo by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash
  • 21–23 years

I joined an MBA course after my BMS. Our marketing professor was an outspoken and flamboyant personality. He treated us as his friends and colleagues rather than his students. We all enjoyed his lectures and he was my favorite too, until one day he crossed a line (at least in my opinion).

While taking the attendance, when he called out a friend’s name, I said “He’s coming, Sir”

He looked up from the register, gave a sly smile, and said, “Do you know what that means lady? Be careful of the words you choose.”

I was shell-shocked and angry. Everyone was obviously amused and chuckled at my embarrassment. In fact, it becomes a running joke for the rest of the semester.

It was much later (after learning the ways of the world) that I realized his behavior was nothing less than sexual harassment and I wish I had the balls back then to make some noise about it.

What this experience taught me?

  • You don’t need to take sexual humor lightly, even it comes from someone at a higher position than you.
Photo by Tye Doring on Unsplash
  • 23–24 years

I was working as a Marketing Executive in a small firm, which was more like a HUF (Hindu Undivided Family). There were very few female employees in the company and most of the men belonged to conservative families.

I was friendly with everyone irrespective of their age or gender. However, this seemed to irk quite a few people. I realized this when during lunch one day, a male colleague asked what I had got and one of the female colleagues responded, “Draupadi must have taken care of all men, don’t worry. It is something the men demanded of you, right?”

That was enough to make me realize that I needed to maintain distance from them all, especially the men.

Draupadi is a female character in the Indian epic Mahabharata. She was a wife to all five Pandava brothers. By calling me Draupadi, the female colleague was hinting that since I was friendly with all the men, it implied I was their common wife*

What this experience taught me?

  • Gender bias and patriarchy exist everywhere whether we accept it or not, and whether we see it or not.
  • Being close to a person of the opposite gender, especially at work, will lead to gossip.
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash
  • 27–28 years

In India, under the arranged marriage system, single men and women meet each other through the approval and suggestions of parents and elders. I, too, was meeting eligible bachelors so I could choose the right person to spend the rest of my life with.

Though I have nothing against this system because I got married to my now-husband in this manner too, I did have a few unpleasant experiences while choosing my life partner this way.

During one such meeting, the guy (who was obviously a slave of patriarchy) asked me, “So, how many dishes can you cook? You seem to be those career-oriented types who don’t know much about cooking. I expect 7 different varieties of food on 7 days of the week.”

Though I was embarrassed and angry at being judged so harshly and wrongly, I laughed out, chose to ignore the question, and walked out soon after.

I’m sure it was more embarrassing for him than for me because by this stage in my life, I was done feeling sorry about myself and felt no need to tell him that I could cook, and that too definitely more than 7 dishes!

What this experience taught me?

  • What someone thinks about us is more often than not, never in our control. But how we react to it, is almost always in our control.
  • The world expects us all to be a certain way. It is up to us whether we want to fit in and make everyone happy, in the process stop focusing on what makes us truly happy; or to break those shackles, be a little different and prove to the world that we refuse to be confined by societal roles.
Photo by William Moreland on Unsplash
  • 28 and beyond (I’m currently 32 years old)

I have always been insecure about the way I look. But I have to come to accept and love myself despite that.

However, those teenage inferiority complexes never leave us, do they? At a social event some months ago (which my husband and I both attended) someone we were merely acquainted with, asked, “How did someone like you end up with such a handsome man?”

I was about to retort angrily, when my husband intervened and replied, “I married her for her personality. You should try having one too.”

We left her with herself after that and I could not help but wonder, “I guess we as a society are never going to understand the concept of ‘Beauty is skin deep”.

What this experience taught me?

  • When it comes to couples, one of the two is always going to be judged and questioned about being lesser or better than the other.
  • As long as the two people in a relationship understand each other and are happy, it doesn’t really matter what the world thinks about them.
Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash

As the story implies, such questions are going to continue coming in, as life goes on. Thankfully I have learned to move past them by now. I hope reading through my experiences made you feel better about not having faced such a situation yourself, or made you recall and relate to them.

Thank you for reading.

How to contact me:

Connect with me on LinkedIn

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Send me an Email: arusticmind@gmail.com/manali1988@gmail.com

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