Currently viewing the tag: "embarrass"

Embarassed Shark

Life is full of little embarrassments. –No Cooperation from the Cat by Marian Babson

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: Write about something that embarrasses you.

Art Prompt: Life’s little embarrassments

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience an embarrassing story and what you learned from it.

Photo Credit: Jackie O on Flickr

I checked my watch. The cucumbers were due to start singing in about thirty minutes, but sometimes they go off early. I’m never sure exactly when they’ve gotten here, which makes the timing tricky, and that means I wasn’t about to open the door. -Susan Palwick, Cucumber Gravy (free to read online at Lightspeed Magazine)

Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene or poem about an unusual reason why your character can’t answer the door.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you were embarrassed to answer your door.

Art Prompt: Singing Cucumbers

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a funny story about why you couldn’t open the door.

Photo Credit: Dorocia on Flickr


I wish friends held hands more often, like the children I see on the streets sometimes. I’m not sure why we have to grow up and get embarrassed about it. -Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss

Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, or poem based on holding hands.

Journaling Prompt: Would you be embarrassed to hold a friend’s hand in public? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Holding hands

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a touching story about holding hands with someone.

Photo Credit: Cliff Beckwith on Flickr

Hi Anxiety

“Because social anxiety associated with the prospect of facing an embarrassing situation is such a common and powerful emotion in everyday life, we might think that we know ourselves well enough to predict our own behavior in such situations,” said Leaf Van Boven, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. “But the ample experience most of us should have gained with predicting our own future behavior isn’t sufficient to overcome the empathy gap — our inability to anticipate the impact of emotional states we aren’t currently experiencing.”

The illusion of courage has practical consequences. “People frequently face potential embarrassing situations in everyday life, and the illusion of courage is likely to cause us to expose ourselves to risks that, when the moment of truth arrives, we wish we hadn’t taken,” said George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology within CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “Knowing that, we might choose to be more cautious, or we might use the illusion of courage to help us take risks we think are worth it, knowing full well that we are likely to regret the decision when the moment of truth arrives.” –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a poem or character’s internal monologue about a situation that requires the illusion of courage.

Journaling Prompt: How do you react when you face a potentially embarrassing situation?

Art Prompt: Illusion of Courage

Photo Credit: TWINTHOMAS on Flickr


Here’s an easy way to decide if a person is trustworthy. Watch how they act when they are embarrassed.

“Embarrassment is one emotional signature of a person to whom you can entrust valuable resources. It’s part of the social glue that fosters trust and cooperation in everyday life,” said UC Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer, a coauthor of the study published in this month’s online issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Not only are the UC Berkeley findings useful for people seeking cooperative and reliable team members and business partners, but they also make for helpful dating advice. Subjects who were more easily embarrassed reported higher levels of monogamy, according to the study.

“Moderate levels of embarrassment are signs of virtue,” said Matthew Feinberg, a doctoral student in psychology at UC Berkeley and lead author of the paper. “Our data suggests embarrassment is a good thing, not something you should fight.” The paper’s third author is UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner, an expert on pro-social emotions.

Researchers point out that the moderate type of embarrassment they examined should not be confused with debilitating social anxiety or with “shame,” which is associated in the psychology literature with such moral transgressions as being caught cheating.

While the most typical gesture of embarrassment is a downward gaze to one side while partially covering the face and either smirking or grimacing, a person who feels shame, as distinguished from embarrassment, will typically cover the whole face, Feinberg said. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a scene about a character who gets embarrassed. How does he or she react?

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you were embarrassed.

Art Prompt: Embarassment

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the signs they can use to tell if someone is trustworthy.

Photo Credit: hj91 on Flickr

kids playing volleyball on the beach

It gets ugly when a parent starts living through their kid. Here’s a scene from real life.

“Later, we sat in the sand as the other kids my age played a game of beach volleyball. My father must have seen an opening of some kind, because to my great embarrassment he stood up between matches and asked if I could join in. I tried to refuse, but there was no way to do so with­out seeming like even more of a loser. I was a decent athlete—I’d played lacrosse and hockey in Baltimore—but did not understand the most basic mechanics involved in keeping a ball up in the air with my forearms.

“While the other kids set and dug and belly flopped for shots, I stood in the corner of the court, praying that the ball would miraculously avoid my jurisdiction. Finally someone spiked the ball right at me, and I did something tragic. I caught it. I glanced at my father, still clutching the thing to my stomach. His eyes were squinched up, fixed somewhere near my feet, as if he couldn’t stand to look me in the face. It took me a second to realize he was staring at my legs.

“At the time, my father’s shame was overshadowed by the disgrace I felt in front of my teammates. Now, though, when I’m watering the plants or jogging around the reservoir near my house, I’ll think of my father’s face that day and feel the punch of that ball in my stomach. I’ll fantasize about all the things I might have done, like clock him in the teeth. Perhaps—at least I tell myself this, I insist on it, because the memory still hurts me deeply—he was really making the face at himself.” -Eric Puchner, Schemes of My Father

Writing Prompt: Write about a parent living vicariously through their child.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when your parent lived vicariously through you OR when you lived vicariously through your child OR when you observed a parent living vicariously through their child.

Art Prompt: Vicarious

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a touching story about living vicariously.

Photo Credit:  Guernsey Sports on Flickr