The Mindful Survey: Foot In Your Mouth?

Answers from our reader survey on embarrassment.

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How does embarrassment manifest in your body?

Graph: how does embarrassment manifest in your body?

What’s something other people find embarrassing that you don’t?

  • “Garlic breath.”
  • “Talking about bodily functions.”
  • “Food in my teeth—it happens sometimes!”
  • “Doing what I feel like all the time.”
  • “Perfect matching outfit.”
  • “Public release of gas.”
  • “Talking about sex.”
  • “Clumsiness.”
  • “My grandson hates when I hug him in public.”
  • “Asking questions. Not knowing something.”
  • “Having a messy house.”
  • “Taking clothes off for sex.”
  • “Sending food back.”
  • “Getting a compliment.”
  • “Tripping in front of others.”
  • “Using the wrong word.”
  • “Pooping in public washrooms.”
  • “Forgetting someone’s name.”

What are you most often embarrassed by?

42% of respondents said they are most often embarrassed by being put on the spot—so why do so many of us do it to others so much of the time? Next up, at 33%, is saying the wrong thing. Physical fumbles or clumsiness gets 10% of people, while 7% of people are most embarrassed by showing emotion, 5% are embarrassed by someone else around them being ridiculous, and for 3% are embarrassed by public displays of affection.

Is it more embarrassing to show up too early or too late?

Who in your life has the greatest power to embarrass you?

27% are most easily embarrassed by complete strangers, followed by coworkers at 24%, romantic partners at 22%, and siblings at 11%. Parents have the greatest power to embarrass 9% of respondents, while 4% report their best friends, and 3% say their drunk uncles have the most power to trigger embarrassment.

Are you easily embarrassed?

  • Yes 48%
  • No 52%

What’s one embarrassing thing about yourself?

  • “My facial expressions reveal how I feel.”
  • “I’m not the most graceful girl you’ll ever meet.”
  • “The embarrassing thing is the fact that my face turns red when I am embarrassed or nervous. It really bothers me.”
  • “Not good at small talk.”
  • “Thinking I am informed about a situation at work when I am not.”
  • “I love mayonnaise.”
  • “I fart unexpectedly while doing exercise.”
  • “Not knowing something, or having attention focused on me.”
  • “I tend to say exactly what I think when I’m tired.”
  • “I go cross-eyed when I hear or say something weird!”
  • “I have 5 cats and that’s 4 too many.”

Do you think dogs get embarrassed?

How do you get over embarrassment?

32% of people don’t—instead they ruminate over the embarrassment for days. Another 29% of people laugh it off. 22% suffer through it, while 9% deflect attention to someone else, and another 8% slink away.

What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?

  • “Sorry, nope.”
  • “Wrong first marriage.”
  • “Insulting a child in a football game.”
  • “Got caught sneaking a look at the new men’s bathroom at church.”
  • “Got caught having sex in public.”
  • “Dressed as a clown to a fancy dress party.”
  • “Spilled red wine on a cream carpet of my boyfriend’s boss at Xmas.”
  • “Thanked someone for a gift in person when it wasn’t for me.”
  • “Peed on a friend’s porch. They knew I had to pee and intentionally made me laugh and wouldn’t open the door. I think they felt bad after!”
  • “Hitting ‘Reply All’ instead of just replying to one person.”
  • “Marrying my second husband.”
  • “Split my pants in front of everyone.”

What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do but are too embarrassed?

  • “Cry in public.”
  • “Dance naked in the moonlight.”
  • “Be matter-of-fact about my talents and skills.”
  • “Submit something for publication.”
  • “Have an open relationship.”
  • “Tell people to fuck off.”
  • “Cut my hair short.”
  • “Go to a nudist colony.”