Thought Catalog
February 9, 2012

5 Embarrassing Social Blunders You Have Maybe Made

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Gotten into a ‘mumblehole.’ A mumblehole is something that unexpectedly happens. As if your real-life person had some kind of volume control that was accidentally turned way down, a mumblehole is this thing you do where you can’t stop talking at a volume way too low to discern by the opposite party. I’m unsure what causes them. They’re strangely difficult to get out of. In the presence of you in a mumblehole, a person must repeatedly ask “What?” and sometimes fake like they’ve understood you by nodding and saying “Yeah” or giving some other form of inscrutable answer in the effort of stating something so general that it might apply to anything you may be mumbling, at that time. This is embarrassing for the both of you. You will feel ashamed for it for up to a month after the incident, depending on how deep your well of latent shame is.

Revealed too much in a desperate attempt to keep joking with someone. It really does seem that one of the primary ways you act in situations where you must network with individuals who are acquaintances or who you previously hadn’t known at all is to simply, constantly, joke. Not like “So a man walks into a bar,” but quick little witticisms, barb-like, attached to the end of sentences; clever expressions; references to elitist current events thrown in for bonus points. Sometimes, when in situations like these, you find yourself in a conversation where the rules are that you have to keep making up these clever little witticisms to stay in the conversation. It is like a verbal game of ping pong. If you miss the ball, the rally’s over. Some people are not good at ping pong, just as some people aren’t adept at a 15-minute verbal jousting competition. It is in this type of competition that you may, in a moment of desperation, dive for the proverbial ping pong ball and come up far, far short by revealing, say, that you wouldn’t mind having sex with the person you’re talking to, or that you’re actually feeling very intimidated right now, that you feel completely out of place here, LOL. Because somehow at that final conversational turn, you judged that mentioning an incidence in which your father spanked you as a little boy would be funny, very funny; that it’d be a successful volley and it’d be the other person’s move now, that it wouldn’t stop the conversation dead in its tracks and that you wouldn’t feel completely ashamed for it for weeks, years even, sometimes the memory ‘striking you down’ alone on the sidewalk, your facial expression reacting instantly with a terror of the memory, a passerby noticing, mildly irritated by the increasing number of ‘crazies’ that appear to be in his life these days.

Created expressions that sounded like real expressions but were not in fact real expressions. The Office channels this social blunder for comic effect — Michael Scott was almost constantly confusing the wording of expressions in desperate attempts to tie up his arguments (he says, in the Casino Night episode “Two queens on Casino Night. I am going to drop a deuce on everybody”). Sometimes you might also be afflicted by a case of the Michael Scott-isms. Sometimes you might get in a sort of competition of expressions and puns, like the ping pong metaphor I used earlier, sort of like freestyle battles for the whitest people ever, and for your verse, this time, you rap that “Sometimes you just gotta bite the big one!” The invisible battlemaster nonetheless conscious to the both of you declares your opponent the winner. You walk away in shame.

Pushed way too hard to get in information about yourself. You know that thing you do sometimes when you’re sitting there having freshly received a validating piece of news, something like a promotion or a prestigious new freelance gig and people around you are chatting and this dark need overcomes you, a need for them to hear about this one accomplishment, one that grows so strong that you are inappropriately liberal with your definition of ‘related information’ when you abruptly insert this golden nugget of ego into the conversation, such that the conversation stops and then focuses for a millisecond on that pause, and questions follow, obviously now out of politeness rather than awe, which is something you so oddly wanted — the awe of other people, which I guess is endearing and blameless in the end, which is an okay thing to be. Still — embarrassing. That’s not just me — you do that, right?

Hit on people in whom you actually had no interest. This is a very strange behavior that happens to the best of us, or maybe just to the most average of us, probably. It almost always results in super-awkward situations. The origins of this behavior are unknown. What usually leads to hitting on people in whom you actually have no interest is consumption of alcohol with one solitary heterosexual same-sex friend combined with boredom and the inebriated urge to cross the thresholds of your own boundaries. While this is somewhat ballsy and maybe halfway commendable, this behavior is really just very creepy, because I think what it looks like to the one you’re hitting on is a sort of Kafkaesque prison interrogation scene. It’s terrible and I’m never doing it again. We just thought it would be like, funny. Like we were daring each other and suddenly I found myself questioning a girl about cake and later getting directly kicked out of the conversation by her friend, (literally, like, she said “You need to leave,”) while my friend discovered that the girl he was trying to chat up was actually nodding off. Stupid shit like this happens every time I take Xanax. TC mark

image – tinou bao

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