For shy people, there is absolutely nothing worse than unwillingly becoming the center of attention and getting painfully embarrassed in front of a group of people.
Dozens and dozens of people shared their most cringe-inducing awkward moments. And before reading through the thread, I didn't think it was possible to wince as much as I did while reading it.
Here are some of the most painful responses that introverts everywhere can relate to:
1. "My husband got me to go to a party with him at our friend's house. We got there, and a friend hugged me hello and then said, 'WOW, YOU SMELL REALLY GOOD.' And then, I swear to god, EVERYONE got up and went, 'I WANT TO SMELL,' and I was surrounded by people sniffing me seconds after walking into a party.
"I wanted to die. It wasn't even perfume or anything. It was my hair oil. If I could afford therapy, this would definitely come up."
2. "When anyone says, 'OK, everyone, before we begin, why don’t we go around the room and have you tell us a little about yourselves.'"
3. "In middle school, I didn't have any friends in my scheduled lunch period, so I had to find some people I sorta knew to sit with. It went well for a while until this one girl just started being extremely rude.
"She would just randomly start picking apart the way I looked to someone else sitting at the table out of nowhere, and I would just keep my head down and eat and pretend like I didn't hear anything she would say."
4. "I don't talk much in class, and I interact with only a few people. Some of my classmates just thought I hated them and cropped me out of their end-of-year class photos, which they then posted on Instagram.
"I don't really care about their posts. I just felt really hurt that they cropped me out."
5. "During my job interview, they told me I was bubbly and personable. For my first three days on the job, they kept asking if I was okay and if I was sick because I was so quiet.
"No, no, you've just grossly misunderstood who I am as a person."
6. "I went to this summer camp at a history museum around fourth grade. The second day, they sprung on us that we would have to create a short play about a notable figure of our choice.
"I’m already terrified, and I make it worse by choosing to do mine on Cai Lun, the dude who invented paper. The 'play' ended up being a 30-second monologue that was basically a condensed biography, with me wearing these musty silk robes. After I slunk back to my seat, I realized that everyone else did, like, actual plays with dialogue and plots and stuff. So embarrassing."
7. "Entering a new place for the first time, be it a shop or a bar or a restaurant. I always play the 'gentleman' and hold the door open for my partner so she can assess the area before I sheepishly shuffle in behind."
8. "While going to college, I interned for the state's largest business development corporation. In a meeting with c-suite executives, the top dog was just making friendly conversation before we got started and asked me what classes I was taking. I blacked out.
"Zero brain function. I mumbled a few inaudible grunts and umms before having no choice but to admit that I couldn't remember. Oh my god, I wanted to die. The looks of confusion and the awkward century that it took to switch topics among themselves still haunts me before bed."
9. "I was in elementary school and took a bus home each day. I missed my stop, and I was so terribly shy and quiet, the bus driver didn’t hear me. He went on to pick up high school students and didn’t notice I was still on the bus.
"The high school students were so sweet and kind. They alerted the bus driver and he took me home. My mom was freaking out by the time I got home!"
10. "Went to a party. Guy I've never met walks up to me, shakes my hand, and says, 'Hello, what's your name? Where were you born? Where will you die? What's in between?' Didn't let go of my hand the whole time. I completely locked up and had no idea what to say."
11. "I had a mandatory speech class during my first year in college. I'd do the thing, then go back to my dorm and throw up. Really freaked out my roommate (who I barely spoke to). Five speeches that semester...it was a nightmare."
12. "I was in a group therapy session as a 14-year-old kid. I really had to go to the bathroom, but we weren't allowed to during the session. Some girl had just finished telling a story of her abuse. It was into this yawning void that I farted.
"I knew it was coming. I'd been staving off the gurgling in my stomach for some time. I'd broken into a sweat already with the sheer effort of will to delay the inevitable. Another moment of silence swallowed the sound, but it was a void of disbelief. Then some kid yelled as loud as they could, 'Jen farted!!!' And the entire room collapsed into helpless laughter while I promptly turned to stone and died on the spot."
13. "In science class in high school, I hardly ever talked, and I guess the teacher somehow got it in her head that I was mute. She came up to me early one morning just before class with a sign language interpreter and asked if I needed help participating in class. Looked her dead in the eye and said, 'I can talk.'
"She turned about seven different shades of red before telling the interpreter they wouldn't be needed."
14. "When you go to a crowded party with one friend who really wanted to drag you along but then disappears."
15. "One time in third grade, I, an insanely shy little girl, really had to fart. I decided that if I made a noise to cover it up, I'd be good. So I dropped a book on the floor, which was loud in the silence and drew everyone's attention. In the 0.5-second span after that moment, I basically blew out my asshole in front of 20 kids and my teacher.
"And because dissembling was the only thing I could think to do in that moment of utter existential horror, I just loudly proclaimed, 'WHO WAS THAT?!' I still have nightmares."
16. "When I was 11, I was awarded the title of 'quietest camper,' and when I got up to get my shitty award, everyone was chanting, 'Talk! Talk! Talk!'
"As if they didn't have the opportunity during the entire summer to take the time to hear what I had to say."
17. "I never corrected my boss when she mixed up my name on the first day. I had already introduced myself to some people by my real name. The other half of people my boss introduced me to called me another.
"I felt too shy to correct her in front of the group. It just led to more awkward conversations because the two names were completely different."
18. "Someone took my order from the shelf at the online order station at Chipotle, and I waited 45 MINUTES after the time it was supposed to be done before saying anything because I didn't wanna be rude.
"Not the literal worst thing to happen to me, but it is what stopped me from going to Chipotle."
19. "At my graduation, I walked up, shook the guy's hand, tried to leave the stage, found that the stairs I tried to go down were blocked off, went BACK up onto the stage (as the next person was there shaking the guy's hand), awkwardly gestured at the both of them in a mime of 'Where the hell do I go to leave this hellscape?!' and then awkwardly followed the next person off the stage."
20. "Best-man speech in front of 100-plus people. I knew it was coming almost a full year in advance and agonized over it for basically that entire year leading up to it. I recited it at least a thousand times in my head. It was sheer terror when I went up to do it.
"That said, in the end, somehow, I actually did pretty well with it. I received a lot of compliments, and they seemed genuine. So the experience itself wasn't the worst, maybe just the time leading up to it."
21. "I was having coffee with a friend one day. We had just been to the gym, so I thought I was looking pretty disheveled, but maybe not, because a guy came up to us and slid me a piece of paper with his number on it. He said he had seen me while driving by and thought I was beautiful and just had to stop and say hello. I was so caught off guard (and just naturally awkward around strangers period) that the only thing I could blurt out was, 'If you think I'm cute now, you should see me when I've bathed.'
"He walked away; my friend laughed. I was embarrassed for days."
22. "I decided to be brave at a college picnic for students in the pharmacy program. All the tables were occupied, so I confidently went up to a table with a bunch of people and asked if I could join them and I immediately sat down. No one said a word to me.
"Not one word. I ate as fast as possible and went home and cried."
23. "Back in seventh grade, I forgot a pencil and didn't have the courage to get up and ask for one. I finally got the courage, but my teacher didn't keep pencils on him, so he told me to go to another classroom and ask for one. Me being me, a shy, socially awkward teenager, I didn't get up and just sat there. He kept getting louder and louder and more aggressive, telling me to go get a pencil from another classroom, to the point where I actually started crying.
"Yes. Crying. In school. In class. In front of all my classmates. Eventually he got up, walked me outside the classroom, talked to me (I can't remember what he said, but he comforted me), and went into another classroom to get me a pencil. Still my worst memory there, but he was a great teacher."
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.