How I Roll With the Punches (Surviving Embarrassment)

We’ve all had those embarrassing moments.

Flush in the face, sweat in the pits, and heart sinking feeling of “Oh no, what did I just do?”

I’ve had more than my fair share, but here are 3 questions I mentally ask myself EVERY SINGLE TIME it happens. And it happens quite a bit.

1. Will I ever see this person/these people again?

Half the time the answer is no. The people on the airplane where your toddler had a total meltdown. Nope, never seeing them again! The person who witnessed you tripping down the stairs. Probably not! The random stranger you bear-hugged from behind thinking it was your friend? Not likely!

And even if you do, chances are they won’t recognize you.

But what if they are someone you will see again? Maybe they’re a family member, friend, or coworker? Then you need to ask yourself question #2.

2. Will this matter in 1 week, 1 month, or 1 year?

In the moment, you may be dying of embarrassment and think your life is over. Take a deep breath, I assure you it’s not.

What makes me say so? People have done far worse things and lived to tell about it. (think celebrity blunders that get worldwide press)

When I’ve done something embarrassing or regrettable, I always ask myself…will this matter in 1 week, 1 month, or 1 year? Or beyond?

It’s probably something that will dwindle down in attention over time. People will move on because other things will occupy their thoughts and eventually your moment will no longer matter. Trust me.

3. Can I laugh about this someday?

If there’s any redeeming hope in surviving embarrassment, it’s that it may someday make a great story. Even if that day isn’t anytime soon.

That one time I asked someone if they were pregnant and they weren’t, it’s a great way to poke fun at myself now (and a hard a lesson learned).

Or that one time I mistakenly texted my contractor and meant to say “I’ll get you paid” and I mixed up the “P” and the “L”. Yep, totally funny now. (Don’t worry, my previous company was totally legit and legal in all transactions.)

Oh and by the way, all those stories and references are things that I have done. But seriously, humor me. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’re willing to share?