18 Tiny Awkward Hells We All Experience

An assemblage of social miseries we must endure as residents of the modern age.

Written by two odd ducks flailing through their twenties, myself and Paige Danger Triola.

1. The second-door “thank you” whisper

“Thank you,” you state proudly after someone holds a door for you.

Thankssss,” you hiss in creepy Parseltongue after someone holds a second door for you.

Because uttering the same polite phrase twice at full volume just cannot be done.

2. Public restroom standoffs in which two people are waiting for one of you to leave

Sometimes, a person is out in public but needs to use the bathroom privately.

The earth splits open and hellfire pours forth when two people are in this situation at the same time, in the same public restroom. There’s just…silence. You’re both sitting in your stalls…doing nothing. Waiting…for one of you…to leave.

No one wins here, guys. There are no winners.

3. Being shown a photo of someone’s important baby and needing to summon up enough delight

When someone shows you a photo of their relevant baby and you want to maintain your reputation as not a cold-blooded monster, there are few options beyond exploding with delight.

This is true whether or not you’ve had your coffee, if you’re starving, if you’re in the middle of writing an important proposal, or if the baby doesn’t organically inspire wails of adoration.

Tell me you haven’t issued some high-pitched sound at an off moment and wondered if your delight wasn’t received with suspicion.

4. Seeing someone in person when you haven’t texted them back yet

You’re literally holding your phone in your hand when you see this friend walking toward you, judgment and betrayal marking their every stride.

“Sorry, I didn’t…” you mutter aimlessly. “I’ve been busy,” you intone in your sweatpants.

5. Awkward phone conversations that are nearly impossible to end smoothly

Let’s be real, most if not ALL phone conversations are awkward. The beauty of texting is there are no forced bursts of laughter or cringey silences to suffer through. Here’s how nearly every unwanted phone call concludes: “Wellll — ” *breathy chuckle* “Okkk. I, uh, better go. Byeeee…” *curbstomps phone*

6. Being left alone with someone you were just introduced to D;

If you do this to me, I will resent you for a very long time. It’s like a nightmarish blind friendship date I never signed up for. All we can do is blink at each other and croak out generic questions until you decide to mosey on back. You are a sadist.

7. Trying to hide your dismay as you receive a horrendous haircut

The pleasant small talk fizzles out and you gape at the mirror as you’re forced to witness an atrocity in action. The scissor-happy maniac who you foolishly trusted has transformed your locks into a mullet with homeschooled child bangs. Do you scream in rage? Do you demand your money back? Nope. You produce a quivery smile and whisper how much you like it.

8. Burping into silence only to realize you’re not alone


This would be the precise moment you realize the rows of empty cubicles in fact contain one other inhabitant.

Until we all agree to finally be cool about our human sounds, your only choice is to exit the planet.

9. Saying “Thank you” to a compliment that was directed at someone else *gun in mouth*

An atrocity such as this begets only silent horror.

10. Not understanding what someone said so you laugh, then they repeat what they said and it wasn’t even remotely funny

*Indistinct murmur*


“I said, ‘What are you doing this weekend?’”

What now? You’ve just revealed yourself to be a poor listener with no real interest in what the other person was saying. You could continue in feeble laughter like it was all part of the plan, casually following up with the answer to their question, or you can turn several shades of red and fess up to your deceit.

There’s always the third option, which is entering the witness protection program and receiving a face transplant.

11. Needing to remove someone’s conversational spittle from your face

You must keep making the same exact expression you were making, you know, before your acquaintance sent a projectile spit particle hurtling at your forehead. To acknowledge that this has happened is to threaten the fabric of society.

Quick, they’re looking away! *slaps own face in hyper-fast spit removal move*

12. Asking a question and receiving no answer. Just an interminable silence and growing shame.

Did anyone hear that?

Should I repeat it?

*spontaneously combusts*

13. Having someone rant to you about a behavior they hate — of which you are a repeat offender.

“You know what I can’t stand? When people try to be funny and write those stupid lists of awkward, relatable situations.”

“Ah, that’s the worst. Heh. Heh.”

14. Maintaining a neutral expression as someone sings badly at a wedding, funeral, etc.

Be very still. Every fiber of your being wants to unravel into laughter, but you must not do this, for that might hurt the feelings of this probably decent person. Don’t move. Don’t breathe. THINK OF DEATH. THINK OF SKIN DISEASES. ANYTHING BUT LAUGHTER.

Otherwise you and the so-called friend who laughingly dragged you down with them will be demoted to subhuman status in the eyes of your community.

15. When someone’s dog makes inappropriate advances.

Try to maintain your composure while a dog attempts to perform a thorough cavity search through your pants.

When the owner of the beast does nothing to intervene, you can either a.) shove the dog away and look like a heartless jerk, or b.) just stand there looking absorbed in conversation and totally unaware of the snout in your crotch.

16. When a child says something embarrassing and accurate about you…very loudly.


17. Realizing AFTER a social interaction that there was something horribly awry with your appearance.

I appreciate you not letting me know there was a small shrub between my front teeth. I’ll just go off and flash my tooth foliage to several other people I respect and admire.

18. Having to chuckle awkwardly as someone with authority expresses an unfortunate political view.

HA HA HA! Your hateful stance combined with your being an important person is making me want to bash my head into a wall! HA HA!

*silently vanquishes meager remainder of self-respect*

— —

We had to stop there because some kind of awkwardness vortex burst open beneath us and threatened to swallow the entire universe.

Want to feel weird about yourself?

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