Embarrassment is the uncomfortable feeling you get when you’ve done something which you think will make you look bad. We can help you find a way to deal with these situations. 

What  does it mean?

Feeling embarrassed can be a very upsetting experience. You might feel weird, picked on, stupid, ugly or worthless, even when you've done nothing wrong. You might feel ill or like you want to cry. It can also make you nervous or worried.

Embarrassment can be a passing feeling that’s not a big deal, or an overwhelming feeling that's hard to cope with. Sometimes it can seem like the feeling will never go away.

It's important to remember that embarrassment doesn't last forever and it can get easier to cope with as we understand situations better.

3 ways to deal with embarrassment:

  1. talk to someone about what happened and how you feel
  2. make a joke about it
  3. play it down or ignore it.

What embarrassment feels like

People can feel embarrassed in all kinds of situations. It can be a general feeling, for example when you meet someone new and find it difficult to talk to them. Sometimes it’s a particular thing that makes you feel embarrassed – like saying something which came out wrong, or doing something you think other people will laugh at.

Other people’s behaviour can embarrass you too. Someone’s nasty comments about you can make you feel awkward or humiliated.

Whatever you’re feeling embarrassed about, remember that it’s natural to feel this way. Everyone gets embarrassed. And we all do things that we feel a bit silly about. Or things we wish we'd done differently or not at all. It’s impossible to get things right all the time.

You don't have to cope with this feeling on your own, you can talk to Childline for help.

Situations that can feel embarrassing

  • meeting new people. Being scared of ‘embarrassing yourself’ can often stop you from going out with friends or doing things
  • talking about sex or things that happen to your body during puberty
  • being made to feel embarrassed because of bullying
  • getting attention for something you’ve done, like being given an award at school
  • your family’s behaviour or traditions
  • feeling uncomfortable about how you look or having low self-esteem
  • being made to do things you don’t want to or peer pressure to act a certain way
  • experiencing abuse. Even though abuse is never your fault, some people feel embarrassed to tell someone about it. You’re not alone and there are people who can support you. We’re always here for you.

How to deal with embarrassment

You can talk to us about anything

When you feel embarrassed about something, it can feel really hard to ask for help. It’s normal to perhaps feel ‘stupid’ or ‘not important’, or think that other people will laugh or not understand.

Even though it can be hard to share some things, it’s important to know that there are people who can support you and take you seriously. We talk to young people about all sorts of things. Even if you feel embarrassed or ashamed about what's happened, we'll never judge you and we'll always listen.