Shame game

Have you ever had moments that just make you cringe? Yeah, we’ve all had those ohmygod-I-snorted-while-laughing-in-public or ohmygod-I-can’t-believe-I-drunkenly-cried-for-no-reason moments. We can all handle being embarrassed from time to time.

I believe there’s a definite distinction to be made between embarrassing and awkward moments. Embarrassment is, most of the time, caused by circumstances that either don’t reflect your character or are outside your control. Most importantly, you’ll eventually laugh about embarrassment later (or much much later, depending on the severity of the incident).

Awkwardness is more a state of being. If you’re awkward, you most likely embarrass yourself on a routine basis. No matter how long ago your awkward encounters took place, they never become funny—just cringe-worthy. As a self-declared awkward person, I know.

It’s like the difference between watching people show their messy houses on TLC’s Hoarders and watching Kristen Stewart stammer her way through an acceptance speech—one is horribly fascinating, while the other makes you change the channel.

University is an environment in which awkward encounters thrive. I naively thought I would grow out of it over time, but I’m in my third year and my life still consists of asking “why the hell did I just do that?” at least once daily.

However, I don’t think I’m completely alone. A friend recently admitted to me, “I sometimes just feel like everyone thinks I’m so weird!” I was shocked, as she’s one of the funniest people I know.

So what’s going on? Is our generation turning into the awkward generation?

Maybe it has something to do with the constant pressure people have to deal with; it feels like almost every encounter matters. Getting jobs and networking, giving a killer presentation or meeting the parents of a significant other—first impressions seem to make or break almost everything.

Despite this pressure, chances are we see ourselves in a much harsher light than others do. And they’re probably too worried about how they look to others to remember how dumb you sounded that time. So, cut yourself some slack. At least you aren’t as awkward as me.

I suppose I could be worse. I could be lip-biting my way onstage like Kristen Stewart. Then again, she gets paid to make out with Robert Pattinson. See? There’s always a silver lining.

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