Warning: secondhand embarrassment can cause intense emotional pain, facepalming, and gossiping with your friends about the intensely cringe things you saw.
The beauty of being a human being is that we tend to have far more in common with each other than we think. One of the best examples is that we’ve all done some extremely awkward, embarrassing things that we wish we could take back… or forget entirely! Perhaps it was a social media post we made years and years ago that physically hurts to look at. Or, maybe, you spilled your lunch all over yourself at school or work just last week!
A good antidote for dealing with your own embarrassment (aside from doing the mature thing and, y’know, working through your emotions) is to gently poke fun at someone who’s messed up even worse. That’s where the popular r/cringepics online community comes in. The subreddit is home to some of the most cringeworthy pics to ever be shared online. Check out the worst offenders below. But be careful your cringe-sensors might go haywire!
For some more cringeworthy pics, take a peek at Bored Panda’s earlier feature right here.
#1 Tofu Is Only For Vegans
Image credits: Arachnica
#2 Just A Post Mom
Image credits: matmoeb
#3 “Don’t Come Over”
Image credits: Eklypto__
The r/cringepics subreddit is home to just over 1.5 million members. It’s a true testament to just how successful the online community really is. As it turns out, internet users really enjoy looking at cringy stuff. Or rather, silently judging them for messing up in public.
That actually makes a lot of sense. We’ve written on Bored Panda before about how judging others is a natural part of who we are as human beings. We do it for a wide range of reasons. Unfortunately, some aren’t as wholesome or beneficial as others.
Image credits: KevlarYarmulke
#5 Just A Normal Guy
Image credits: TKInstinct
#6 Haha Thanks Mom
Image credits: WhiteWolfJon
“Judging others is something that we as humans do, both consciously and automatically, and there are a number of reasons why we do it. Comically, we are often told as children not to judge others and have stories shared about how judging others can mean we upset them or lose opportunities to see what really lies behind our perception,” a psychologist explained to Bored Panda during an interview a while ago.
#7 Time To Find A New Job
Image credits: idkmaybe61
#8 I Got Four Phone Calls From The Dealership Immediately After This, But Didn’t Pick Up
Image credits: czapatka
#9 When You Accidentally Make Two Big Announcements In One Photo
Image credits: imgur.com
“Sometimes, we judge others to feel superior ourselves, finding faults in others, highlighting them, and feeling better about ourselves in the process. Sometimes, we use it to work out where we fit in, recognizing how we want to be, where our aspirations lie, and how we don’t want to become,” the psychologist explained.
#10 Mistaking A Vietnamese Man For A Child
Image credits: MichelleMone
#11 Not A Single Spanish Player Sang During Their Anthem
Image credits: reddit.com
#12 How To Make Pregnancy Announcements Even More Uncomfortable
Image credits: theturtleprophet
“Sometimes, it’s in response to our own flaws, and we attack others for what we don’t like or don’t see into ourselves. And on other occasions, it’s to fit into a wider group who judge something or someone, and we conform and perform with the same judgment.”
#13 Just Delete Facebook
Image credits: GallowBoob
#14 What Legs?
Image credits: cubanfoodstand
#15 Jesus Christ What The F**k
Image credits: GhastlyCain
However, judging others isn’t all bad. There are certain benefits and upsides when we use it mindfully.
“It can help us to set goals, find alignment with our values, it can help us to build the self-awareness of others and it can boost our self-esteem. Add to that it can also help us to make positive social choices, and it’s understanding how and why we judge that gives us the ability to use it for our benefits instead of escaping our flaws or pulling others down,” the psychologist told Bored Panda before.
#16 Well, That’s One Way To Ruin A Friendship
Image credits: reddit.com
#17 My Friend Meant To Text Me, But He Texted The Girl He Had Just Gone On A Date With Instead
Image credits: talleyrandbanana
#18 This S**t Happens On Linkedin Too
Image credits: flaim_trees
At the time of writing, r/cringepics had been active for over a decade. The subreddit was created all the way back in mid-October 2012. In the years since then, it has documented some of the most powerful cases of awkward and embarrassing situations that hurt to look at.
Anyone with a drop of empathy can feel the secondhand embarrassment radiating from some of these posts. We cringe because we can imagine ourselves in that person’s shoes.
#19 I’ve Been Trying To Sell Something On Letgo And All I’m Getting Are Messages Like This, Wth Is Wrong With People?
Image credits: thatwishywashy
#20 That Went From 0 To 100 Real Quick
Image credits: Svilkatabg
#21 This Physically Hurts
Image credits: MustNeedDogs
When we find ourselves in an embarrassing or incredibly awkward situation, many of us might instinctively want to run or shy away from what’s happening. Some people deny that they messed up. Others shut down, completely.
The mature way to deal with these sorts of situations is to ease into it all. Embrace what’s happening instead of running away from those uncomfortable feelings. Admit to your mistakes. Accept that nobody is perfect. At some point in their lives, everyone messes up or does something embarrassing. Usually, repeatedly!
#22 Guy From High School Got The Same Tattoo As His Dog
Image credits: whoople
Image credits: alexwitwicky
#24 Don’t Let A Dead Parent Stop You From Trying Fire Pick-Up Lines . .
Image credits: sachiwtf
There are very concrete advantages to embracing your embarrassment. For one, you prevent those feelings from growing and enrooting themselves as a deep sense of shame about your past. Shame makes you double-guess everything that you do, it’s vital to fight back against it.
#25 Just Losers
Image credits: f7u12madbro
#26 Up Close With Mack
Image credits: lolihull
#27 Wow You So Beautiful. Wow Message Didn’t Send Separately. Wow Leave Group
Image credits: ddh85
Moreover, when you demonstrate that you’re actually (mildly) embarrassed rather than hiding this, you improve your reputation with others. People tend to be a lot more sympathetic toward you if you’re being genuine.
Which of these pics did you think were the most cringeworthy, dear Pandas? How deeply did you feel the secondhand embarrassment? What’s the most awkward or embarrassing experience that you’ve ever had? Scroll down to the comment section, and share your thoughts.
#28 * Excessively Starting To Sweat *
Image credits: UnfunnyInSanAntonio
#29 It’s My Birthday Today And My Best Friend’s Scumbag Dad Messaged Me This
Image credits: savinglatin
#30 Excellent Service
Image credits: Bild
#31 Coworkers Brought Binoculars To Work To Perv On Young Beach Goers Today
Image credits: good_interiors
Image credits: elonmusk
#33 These Gushy Posts And I’m Offended!
Image credits: DumbassJ
#34 Mlm Forgot To Change Her Recruiting Template While Messaging Strangers On Fb
Image credits: ejzimm
#35 “Daddy Delivered His Load” Found On Facebook
Image credits: iniwuqe
Image credits: reddit.com
#37 16 Year Old Me On The Far Left At A Birthday Party I Wasn’t Invited To 
Image credits: SeptimiusSeverus_
#38 You Would Be Loud Too If I Was Riding You
Image credits: toriimonster
#39 On This Day John Lennon Died, Spotify Didn’t Know That
Image credits: MinglingToads
#40 This Guy Found Me On His Wife’s “Suggested Friends” On Facebook Then Googled Me And Used My Business Number To Text Me. Gross
Image credits: LadyKakes
#41 Incel Thinks Sex Is A Transaction And Not A Mutual Agreement
#42 Bernie Living On Elon’s Mind Rent Free
#43 Went On A Date With This Girl… This Was Her Response After
#44 My Sister Is Trying Online Dating
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Author: Gabija Saveiskyte