Social missteps are quite common. Often, we are supposed to follow a set of social rules but no one seems to talk about what they are openly.
We’re just kind of expected to pick up the cues.
For some of us, those social missteps have lasting effects.
Anxiety effects 40 million U.S. adults making it the most common mental health issue. Around 15 million adults struggle with social anxiety.
Since it really is so common to lay awake at night thinking about all the ways you’ve caused an awkward situation, we went to Reddit to see exactly what those social faux pas were.
Redditor anfla56 asked:
“When you’re lying in bed at night, do you ever randomly remember some relatively minor social missteps or poorly chosen words you did/said years earlier?”
“And then beat yourself up over it even though it really wasn’t a big deal?”
“If so, what happened?”
Hopefully this doesn’t bring up any bad memories for you.
Talking to a cute girl.
“In 7th grade, a cute girl asked me to sit next to her. I said my mom won’t let me sit next to girls. My mom said no such thing.” – Risklotrman
“If you said CUTE girls you’d have been a total baller. So close.” – AccidentallyInterest
“When I was in 8th grade one of the hottest girls in our class, who had never spoken to me before, stopped in the hallway near where I was rummaging around in my locker, walked up to me, and said ‘Hey…your cologne smells good’.”
“I replied with a forceful, ‘I…I’m not wearing cologne!'”
“She said, ‘Oh, ok.’ and walked away.”
“I was wearing cologne.” – VaultBoy9
Wrong inside joke.
“I accidentally mixed up an inside joke with the wrong friend group with disastrous results.”
“Friend group #1: The ‘joke’ was when someone calls and asks who’s all there we would add Darrell to the list of names. Darrell wasn’t a real person. The joke wasn’t really funny, and made no sense out of context, but I guess that’s why it was an inside joke.”
“Friend group #2: I was hanging out playing some drinking games with a bunch of people that I hadn’t hung out with in a while. It was a kind of get together to remember a friend that they had who had recently died in a car accident. I didn’t know him that well, but I was always down to party.”
“Anyway the phone rings, and the person who answered started listing off names. Sorting my cards for another round of Presidents and A**holes I offhandedly said, ‘Heh and Darrell!'”
“It was the typical record scratch moment where everyone stopped and looked at me. Darrell was the name of the friend who had just died.”
“This happened in 2002 and I still think about it all the time.” – Redditor
“Oh man, I have a mixed up inside joke scenario. It wasn’t me, it was my neighbor.”
“My neighbor is morbidly obese and my mom is Korean, and they joke with each other about it. My neighbor makes racist commits to my mom, she makes fun of my neighbor’s weight.”
“It’s just part of their friendship. They often did it in public too, but it was always obvious when they were standing next to each other that it was inside joke.”
“At one point my neighbor was out with her husband (they’re both white). She was at a check out counter when she blithely remarked about all the damn Koreans taking over the region.”
“The check out lady just stares at her. Then the husband leaned over and said ‘It’s not as funny when [Dragonmeme’s mom] isn’t standing next to you’.”
“Cue my horrified neighbor desperately trying to explain that she wasn’t a racist, that it’s an inside joke. ‘My friend is Korean!’ which of course just made her look worse.”
“My mom lost it when she heard the story.” – DragonMeme
A difficult time laughing.
“When I was in fifth grade, our teacher said a joke in front of the class and everyone laughed including myself. After the laughter died down, a girl looked up at me and said. ‘You have a really damn disgusting laugh, ew’.”
“I became so self conscious about laughter since that specific, day, and after years I have trouble actually laughing. My brain kinda made it a habit to just smile or slightly chuckle at something, even if it is really funny.” – precious3tears
“Omg This! When I was in 7th grade I had such a hard time in school. No self esteem at all. I was suicidal, no friends, etc…”
“The one friend I had was a very pretty girl (I’m a girl too) and she was so nice. Well we’re sitting in class and we’re laughing, like genuinely. I would always cover my mouth when I laughed but I didn’t that time because I was genuinely happily laughing.”
“The guy next to her turned to me and looked at me with such disgust I can’t forget it 10+ years later and he said. ‘You look like a man’.”
“I think of that to this day and it hurts like no other. I have never been comfortable with my smile, and always feel like I do look manly. It sucks.” – Hopefulwitch
Just blurted it out.
“Junior prom I blurted out during dinner to my date ‘I’m so bored’ and I have NO idea why it came out of my mouth. I’m pretty well-mannered and quiet. I forget how I tried to play it off, but I felt so bad.” – georgeangela
“I was sitting in a small group of friends in school, and my crush (literally the love of my life at that point) admitted she liked me. It was the happiest moment of my entire life. So naturally I said ‘Ew’. In front of everyone.”
“This was 2nd grade and I still think about it weekly.” – sweetcuppingcakes
Awkward situations because of religion.
“I went through a phase where I scolded people for reading harry potter because my parents told me it was evil. Lots of awkward situations because of that.” – Redditor
“The crazy thing is there is actually a lot of Christ mythology to the story. There’s a chosen one, prophecies of the death of the chosen one, and he dies in sacrifice of everyone else. Then comes back to life.”
“Nothing evil about it, just religious people being afraid of something they don’t understand. My mom remarried and became Pentecostal, it was a rough childhood to say the least.” – moonsnakejane
Being a jerk for no reason.
“For most of my education, I went to public school and like most kids, I was socially awkward. For High School, I received an academic scholarship to a private Catholic school.”
“It was a really big deal for my family. I didn’t know anyone at the new school. Between an odd combination of academics, sports and the tail end of puberty, I became very popular in this new school.”
“I wasn’t used to the attention and it definitely got to my teenage head. Nearly all of my social circles became around the new school and not with my old local friends.”
“I’m in my junior year, I head to a McDonalds for lunch with a few friends from the new school. Working the counter, I see a girl who I used to go to public school with that I used to have a crush on.”
“She just lit up when she saw me, she was so excited, and I … I was a sh*tty teenager and I just ignored her. I pretended I didn’t recognize her. She looked so deflated when I didn’t acknowledge her.”
“Note this was the 90’s. My family moved a few times after that. I settled down in a different part of the country after University. I never made it back to that town.”
“I’ve relived that a**hole moment for years now. Fast forward to one of those nights when I relive that moment, and I decide to look her up on Facebook to apologize.”
“I find out she died 10 years ago in an auto accident. Since I found out her fate, I feel even more awful about that moment.” – Redditor
“I’m one of the people who have been ignored by old friends many times (when younger for similar reasons I assume), and I will just say that I’m sure she had no hard feelings towards that moment.”
“If anything, it was a passing, small feeling of loneliness. Don’t beat yourself up over it, the fact you even looked her up to apologize—that gesture—is kind enough to cancel out the action (times 10).”
“All we can do in life is to move on and learn from our mistakes, especially those we make when we’re younger.” – indeciciveop
Didn’t hear the question.
“When I was 11, it was my first day at a new school and all the other students were also new. The Maths teacher started our first class by asking each of us about our education background (what school we came from, what they taught in our last year’s Maths class etc.), just trying to get a general idea of what kind of students he was dealing with.”
“Thing is, I was so nervous that I spaced out for a bit and got lost in my overthinking mind, so I didn’t hear the teacher’s questions to my classmates. When it got to my turn, the teacher just said ‘Now tell me about you’, assuming I understood what kind of information he was expecting.
“I just went straight into a monologue that started with ‘So I was born in the South Zone of the city, but my mom decided to move to our current neighborhood a few months after divorcing my dad…’.”
“And went on and on giving some very specific details about my short life. Everyone had a really confused look on their faces and as soon as I realized the teacher was also completely lost I stopped talking and went instantly red.”
“The teacher then said ‘that’s all really great, but I was only interested in what happened last year, not the last 10…’ and everyone started laughing.”
“Next day nobody remembered it anymore, but 12 years later it still comes to mind in pretty random moments.” – alexgvincent
A random hand shake.
“Freshman year of high school. It was one of those days before school starts and you meet your teacher and your parents are there.”
“My teacher was handing me a piece of paper and I didn’t see the paper so I shook his hand. He said ‘oh’ and my mom said ‘Ummm?’ and I panicked and said ‘I just wanted to be polite!'”
“So I still want to die when I think of that…..” – spaztasticnerd
“That’s actually a good recovery.” – AggressiveSpud
“Same happened to me at the AirPort. She held her hand out for my boarding pass, I shook it instead.” – bleachyanus
Couldn’t hold it.
“Bruh I can’t even begin to pinpoint one event.”
“I guess one thing is when I was 11, I asked my teacher if I could go to the bathroom three times during class and told me no. And well, sure enough, I couldn’t hold it any longer and there’s bullying for the next six months. Literally shakes me in bed about how I have never felt that low before.”
“SOMEHOW I managed to live through it though lol. We all got flaws. Mine is a bladder that urinates prematurely.” – RealisticYogurt6
Karaoke gone wrong.
“I was visiting Portland for a wedding that lined up with my birthday as well. We went out to celebrate and finished the night at a karaoke bar.”
“Realizing I’m too drunk to sing I pick ‘My Name Is’ by Eminem as my song to perform. There’s two versions of that song. One is the original release, the other tamed down (which you most commonly hear today).”
“The woman controlling the music put on the original, and off I went. One of the lines at the end is ‘running over lesbians in a spaceship while they screamin at me lets just be friends’.”
“I finish the song and I’m met by applause from my friends and one other table. The rest of the place is silent.”
“The DJ goes ‘nice job! Don’t know if it was the best choice for gay women’s night though’. And at that moment I wanted to leave my skin.” – johngannon8
This AskReddit post had over 96 thousand likes, so trust us when we say you’re not alone.
Take it from Redditor MayorScotch who commented:
“I think that is the key takeaway from these stories. No one remembers them but you.”
Let the memory fade knowing you’re the only one holding onto it.