When you’re young, you don’t really understand anything about the world around you. You’re not exactly logical, your critical thinking skills are limited, and you’re still learning how to empathize with other people. In other words, you’re a bit of a doofus.
Everyone has a few horribly embarrassing stories of their youth, and in a recent Reddit thread, the site’s users shared some of their most humiliating moments. We found a few of the best, then edited them slightly for grammar and readability. Prepare to cringe.
Kids often hop to conclusions.
“When I was 7, my family and I were visiting Edinburgh, and we decided to go to the botanical gardens,” wrote novakw. “While there, I was drawn to these giant lily pads. I suddenly had memories of watching frogs jump on smaller lily pads.”
You can probably see where this is going.
“I thought it would be an excellent idea to try and hop onto one to see if it would hold my weight. Safe to say, it did not, and it was a long, wet walk back to the car. First, though, we gave an embarrassing explanation to the managers of the gardens as to why one of their giant lily pads had a child-shaped hole in it.”
In her defense, we also had misconceptions about lily pads when we were kids. We blame frogs, too—and Hollywood.
Video games don’t really teach you about life.
Some people learn that lesson the hard way.
“In first grade, I was a pretty normal kid who liked to play video games,” wrote X-Maelstrom-X. “Video games like the original Super Smash Bros.”
“I was often bullied by this one kid. One day, he says something to me in the middle of class, in front of everyone, that pushed me too far. I don’t remember what it was, but I decided to punch him.”
“I get out of my seat—in front of the entire class—walk over to him—in front of the entire class—and start swinging my arm in a wind up like Donkey Kong in Super Smash Bros. In front of the entire class.”
We’re going out on a limb here, but we think that this happened in front of the entire class.
“I was about to punch him, until he says, ‘You punch like a girl.’ The whole class laughed, the teacher laughed, and I walked back to my seat without ever swinging the punch. Decades later, and it still kills me to think about it.”
When you’re a kid, you don’t know the intricacies of certain…bodily functions.
“Back in 8th grade, I had just come back from lunch break and was sitting down for science class,” wrote Nozdoz. “I had been holding in a fart for a few minutes and wasn’t too worried about it.”
“Then, the urge to sneeze struck. Before you know it, I was in the middle of the class—everyone silent, every pair of eyes on me—as I came to the terms with the fact that I had just done the loudest public fart known to man.”
“Of course, I tried to cover it up by saying, ‘What? Why are you all staring at me?’ The teacher even helped me out by shifting attention away, God bless her soul. I still have nightmares to this day.”
While that’s incredibly embarrassing, at least it was an involuntary bodily function—which isn’t the case in this next story.
“I was in a small restaurant with my dad and brother and when I went to the bathroom, I decided to belt out the chorus to Weird Al’s ‘The White Stuff’ at full volume, thinking the bathroom would contain my vocals,” wrote maip23.
“I walked out realizing the restaurant was quiet, and when I sat down, my dad goes, ‘What the hell was that?’ When he saw the confusion on my face, he proceeded to explain to me that the entire restaurant heard me.”
Young love is an awkward thing.
“I liked this boy in my art class and found out through some mutual friends that he lived a few blocks from me,” wrote JunkieMcflunky. “So instead of just talking to him at school like a sane person would, I decided I’d get his attention by sneaking out of my house at 4 a.m. with a big bag of garbage, walking all the way to his house, throwing the garbage all over his lawn, then ringing his doorbell and running back home.”
“The next day at school I asked him if anything weird happened at his house last night, when he said, ‘Yeah,’ I revealed that I was the one who ‘pranked’ his family last night. He just awkwardly said, ‘Oh, okay,’ and didn’t talk to me for a few months after that. What the [heck] was I thinking?”
For what it’s worth, little boys aren’t exactly smooth Casanovas, either.
“In fourth grade, my mom took me back to the school after hours because she had some [parent–teacher] meeting or something of the sort,” wrote Grassmaster_. “With my boredom peaking, a brilliant idea popped into my head: I claimed that I needed to get something out of my desk in my classroom. I was allowed to go grab it, which gave me a few seconds in the classroom all by myself.”
“When I got into the room, I immediately grabbed a piece of paper and wrote ‘I love you Kelsie!’ and placed it in Kelsey’s desk. She was the girl I’d had a crush on and had never spoken to.”
“The next day, I get into the classroom, and everyone is surrounding Kelsey’s desk. They are trying to figure out who wrote the letter, so naturally I play along and try to decipher the handwriting to figure out this mystery crush who couldn’t even spell her name right.”
“The worst (or best) part was that my teacher knew that I was in the room by myself the day before. She never gave me up, but I know she knew.”
And while kids often expect their first kiss to be a beautiful, perfect experience, it doesn’t always work out that way.
“I’m 39, and I still think about my first almost kiss because it was so awkward and embarrassing,” wrote buffywho.
“I was 11 or 12 and at camp. We were playing spin the bottle. I was a really naive little girl and didn’t quite understand what I was getting myself into. The bottle landed on me, and I stood up to kiss the older (and far more experienced) boy in front of me.”
“I essentially unhinged my jaw and opened up my mouth really wide to kiss him. He stepped back, took one look at me, and said ‘No.’”
Sleepovers are prime territory for horrific embarrassment.
“I was at a sleepover in middle school,” wrote HereToBoopSnoots. “I had gotten new pajamas and everything. I was so excited because I really wanted to be friends with these girls.”
“Woke up in the middle of the night only to find I had wet myself. I had to sneak into her sisters room where we put our bags to find a change of pants. All I had were jeans. When everyone woke up I told them I got cold.”
“My mom told me I smelled when I got in the car to go home. I told her their beagle smelled bad and slept with me all night.”
Add culture shock to coming-of-age woes, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
“I grew up in Indonesia where people who are middle class and above typically had maids,” wrote eraser_dust. “I grew up assuming everyone had maids. Then, I moved to Singapore, where it’s more of an upper middle-class and above thing.”
“I thought a great rallying cry to unite people against crappy cafeteria food was, ‘Even my maids eat better than this!’”
“I already had the reputation for being the clueless foreigner in that school, so everyone was chill about it and a few people told me why you don’t say [stuff] like that. Every time I moved to a new school, I had to work on convincing people that I don’t mean to be a snob, I just grew up in a radically different environment and have a warped sense of what’s normal.”
We can sort of understand the confusion; children don’t know where money comes from, and that often leads to humiliating misunderstandings.
“When I was a (stupid) kid, I once went to my grandmother’s house with my dad to see her around my birthday,” wrote Mister_Akuma87. “I knew she was going to give me money because she always did, and that’s what grandmothers do.”
“I don’t come from a wealthy family, and I think I was really looking forward to this money. I must have wanted something that my 10-ish-year-old self considered to be more valuable than a good time with her (and because I could be a total piece of [trash] sometimes).”
“Here comes the end of the afternoon, and I don’t see my gift. I go to her, put my hand out like a beggar, and ask her for it directly. I must say, I have been in quite a lot of cringey situations in my life, but this one gets the high spot.”
“I still remember my dad’s face and the feeling of utter shame that followed me for the next few days. I never talk about it, even to this day, because I still feel terribly bad 20 years later.”
The real cringe always seems to happen in the classroom.
“I was in primary school, and I would’ve been about 11 at the time,” wrote flameylamey. “One day, the deputy principal was having an intense discussion in his classroom during lunch break, he seemed to be acting as a mediator to sort out a conflict between a group uncomfortable-looking kids who were all standing around him.”
“I happened to be using one of the computers in the room nearby and listened in curiously as I overheard bits of whatever drama was unfolding between them.”
“To this day I have no idea what came over me, but for some reason I decided it was appropriate to walk over, lean down, and slam my palms on the teacher’s desk like I owned the place, say “So, what’s going on here?” and look around at each of them expectantly—like they were actually about to recount the story to me in its entirety.”
“The deputy principal was this stern older guy. He just stared at me with the most incredulous look on his face for a couple of seconds and blinked.”
“’What…none of your business!’”
“Everyone stared at me in silence for several seconds and I walked off sheepishly. I still have no idea what came over me that day. This was not normal behaviour for me. I still cringe about it occasionally.”
This one is particularly mortifying.
“In elementary school physical education class, we were playing ‘Sharks and Lifeguards’ with that huge parachute-circle thing that was the source of all happiness,” wrote l1ghtn1ng_1.
We’d never heard of that game, but it sounds pretty fun.
“Five ‘sharks’ were inside the parachute at the beginning of the game, and the rest of the class—except for a few ‘lifeguards’—were along the circle with their legs and feet inside the parachute. When the game started, the sharks tried to sneak up, grab your legs, and pull you into the parachute. If you were lucky enough, one of the lifeguards would come and pull from the outside of the parachute to save you.”
“I was on the outside with of the parachute, hoping I wouldn’t get sucked inside, when some [shark] comes along. Instead of grabbing my legs or my feet, they grab my shorts and proceed to pull me in as hard as possible. I yell for a lifeguard. The lifeguard comes over and tries to pull me back.”
“Meanwhile, I’m there defenseless—both of my arms are being used to pull me out, and both of my legs are being pulled in towards the parachute.”
“To this day, I still have no clue who was under the parachute. Whoever it was pulled my shorts right off and took them into the parachute. Meanwhile, the lifeguard was still pulling, so when my shorts flew off, I got instantly pulled out of the parachute. My class laughed as I sat out in the open in my white underwear with my shorts nowhere in sight.”
“I’m probably the only one who still remembers this, but it’s still pretty embarrassing to me to this day.”
Heavy is the crown of the bee king.
“When I was 5 or 6, I thought it would be a good idea to feed the bees by putting honey on a flower,” wrote Captain_Nick19. “When my mom wasn’t looking, I stole the honey bottle and dumped it all over one flower. Sadly, no bees came.”
That makes sense…but Captain_Nick19 assumed that it somehow meant he was commanding the bees. Kids are weird.
“A year later, I was trying to show off in front of my brothers. We walked over to this beehive on the ground, and I stomped on it. Bees swarmed everywhere. While my brothers ran, I yelled, ‘I am the king of the bees!’”
“I got a lot of bee stings.”
It’s hard to be king.
Kids aren’t great at pulling off practical jokes.
“When I was in 11th grade, I became really close with a girl on my lacrosse team,” wrote bvlax217. “Since her parents were divorced, she usually spent the night at my house once per weekend. One time, she finally invited me over to her mom’s house, where her younger brother and sister were also staying that weekend.”
“She had just given me the tour of the house and left to go to the bathroom while I changed to swim. To this day, I think it’s hilarious to scare people, so naturally, I hid in her closet waiting for her to come back.”
“Except it wasn’t her closet. It wasn’t her room at all. I actually was hiding in her younger sister’s closet. All the bedrooms in the house were generic like guest bedrooms since the kids usually stayed with their dad. I just assumed my friend left me alone in her room.”
“When I heard her come back from the bathroom, I waited 30 seconds and opened the double door closet with a loud ‘Boo!’”
“Her little sister screamed, started crying, and ran out of the room. I was mortified! I had to explain to my friend—and her mom—why I decided to hide in the closet. I still had to spend the rest of the night there, and I was never invited back.”
Normally, the story would end there, but not in this case.
“Fast forward 7 years, and I am a long-term substitute teacher for the district where I went to school. I’ve just finished graduate school, and I’m extremely nervous to be subbing, especially because you never know how the kids will act. I was taking attendance for the 12th-grade class I was going to be teaching for the next few months when I saw the name of the sister on the roster! The whole three months, I never mentioned the closet situation, and I hoped she didn’t remember it.”
“On the last day of school, she asked me in front of the entire class, ‘Why were you hiding in my closet?’ I wanted to die.”