Surviving an Embarassing Event

Embarrassing “stuff” happens… and sometimes is captured on film. In today’s fast paced social media culture, personal information that we don’t really want to share can easily and readily be made available to the public by others who in some cases we thought we could trust. Because of this, experiencing a socially awkward or mortifyingly embarrassing moment is more likely. Feelings of being publicly humiliated are devastating, and have sometimes led to suicide. Embarrassment, even dire embarrassment, does not have to mean your life is over.

What can you do should this happen to you?
Should you become the victim of this type of harassment, there are some things you can do to cope with the embarrassment and possible feelings of hopelessness and begin to feel better:

  • First, find someone you trust, who you can talk with frankly without feeling judged.
  • Second, if you can’t think of anyone in your circle of friends, family or larger community that you would want to speak with—or if you feel too embarrassed to speak to someone in person, call a hotline for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK (8255) and the Boys Town National hotline (1-800-443-3000) have trained volunteers available to listen 24/7.
  • Third, try to work on adjusting your thinking about the situation. This may be embarrassing right now, but try to put what’s happened in perspective—will this matter a year from now? in five years? Probably not.
  • Fourth, check out the stories on ReachOut that tell how others have made it through a tough time.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at, a website that helps teens get through tough times. 

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