Everyone is looking at you. You start to sweat and begin to get frantic. You shake with an uncomfortable feeling swelling inside. You’re not dying, you’re just embarrassed.
Being embarrassed in high school is one of the worst things that can happen to a teenager. This is when teens feel social pressure, judgment, the stress of school or work and other reasons that make this time of life difficult.
The reasons that we may become embarrassed can be caused by a mistake, social humiliation and privacy violation that trigger this awful feeling. Embarrassment may also cause social anxiety, guilt or other emotions that may conclude in social and emotional distress.
Freshman Natalie Ketzler recalls an experience that made her extremely nervous. Ketzler had not been feeling great one day, and when sitting in yoga, Ketzler accidentally fell asleep in class. When she woke up, everyone was looking at her, and she was both terrified and ashamed of herself. “I left the room after we were dismissed, feeling embarrassed of myself that everyone had to see me lying down asleep.” Ketzler said.
Sophomore Natalie Eisen also had an embarrassing incident where she found herself confused and nervous. Being a new freshman last year, she did not know where most of her classes were located and got herself caught into an awkward moment. She walked into the dance studio instead of the gym, then realized that she was on the wrong side of the school. Eisen said that she was nervous and trembling. Learning from her experience, she has techniques that she uses whenever she finds herself in these types of situations. “I just laugh it off and try to think of the situation as less embarrassing than it actually was,” Eisen said.
Senior Eric Strauss also dreads being embarrassed and having the shameful feeling swarming inside of him. Strauss blushes and turns red whenever he becomes embarrassed. “I get red and turn into a tomato,” Strauss said.
After an embarrassing incident, we can perceive it as worse than it actually was. In a study done by the National Institutes of Health, participants explained a stressful moment in their life and then describe their physical and mental health at the time. The results showed that each person interpreted the situation they faced differently based on changes in self-health. This might be a reason why teens may over-exaggerate embarrassing moments, because they may view themselves as less than others based on social class, physical build, health and other factors.
Another study done by the NIH took 182 participants to describe their personal embarrassment. The results showed that they were their harshest critics on themselves.