What makes you cringe?
A lot of things, I’m quite prone to cringing as it seems, at least internally, but today I’m going to write about one specific thing that I’ve recently been made more aware of and been thinking a fair bit about that I think is really weird how much it makes me cringe. I’ve always been aware of this being a problem more or less, but only when I read someone else (with AVPD as well) write about it, it made me think of it more and how weird it is and just observe the phenomenon in myself more closely and I learned that there’s even a term for this and it’s called vicarious embarrassment.
As you may or may not know, because of AVPD and several other things, I find social interactions, basically communicating with people, quite challenging a lot of the time – well let’s not sugar-coat it, all the time really, just sometimes more and sometimes less. – And there’s always plenty of situations where something I do or say or feel or think someone may think about me etc. etc. etc. makes me cringe. I guess that’s nothing new or uncommon or anything. Late night intrusive cringe sessions that I experience quite regularly, in which you relive all the cringey moments of your life, is apparently also something that a lot of people deal with.
The weird thing, which I’ve no clue how common or uncommon it might be, but given that it seems to do with empathy probably means that it’s not just limited to people with mental illnesses like AVPD or social anxiety, is that even observing or hearing other humans interacting and communicating, I cringe a lot too. It doesn’t even have to be objectively very cringey I guess and both sides of the actual interaction may not even care, in fact I suppose they usually don’t, and when at least one side seems to do care and actually be affected by it, it makes it all the worse for me. I mean, if there’s some kind of miscommunication, even relatively minor, I’ll pick up on it pretty quickly and it’ll make me, well, cringe. It’s like my brain doesn’t have enough of my own shit but also has to commiserate with everyone else in the world and cringe on their behalf, even when they don’t really need it because they do not cringe or think about it at all. 😀 I’m just allergic to awkwardness. I really love observing people, analysing their characters and behaviours and stuff, because people are quite fascinating, and since I most often do that from an outsider perspective, meaning I’m not directly participating in a situation so I don’t have to divide my attention between participating and analysing, plus because analysing other humans is one of the main ways in which I’ve been learning how the world and the society and single individuals work so I have quite an extensive experience in this field and seem quite good at it by now, I can often pick up on some things faster than the people engaged in the interaction. Even when it’s not the case but I just think I know what’s going on, it’ll naturally still make my brain cringe and shrink. Some random examples could be when one person clearly doesn’t feel comfortable in a situation and doesn’t know what to do, or worse does something as a result that causes some weird reactions from the other peeps. Or when one peep misunderstands another’s intentions or they misunderstand each other, in any way really, not only intentions, so that it actually has some sort of further bigger or smaller consequences, especially when they don’t even end up realising that they misunderstood because they missed something or whatever or because they were just too concentrated on getting their own point across. That happens a lot with my Mum, who has sometimes quite a peculiar sense of humour and especially loves to utilise it with strangers because it helps her test the ground and often wins people over and I guess that’s part of why so many people like her and tell her their entire life stories and stuff. 😀 However, equally many people don’t get it and it causes tons of awkward situations for her, especially on the phone (aaaah!!!). She doesn’t care about that one bit and thinks it’s funny. I also think it is, but it’s also extremely cringey. I guess it seriously must be to an extent because even Sofi often cringes at things Mum says to people. Or when someone does something that I and/or other people in this person’s surroundings find embarrassing, even very slightly embarrassing. Also even in books, or media, or online or whatever. Like someone making a blooper while reading the news. Or someone being interviewed and seeming very awkward, or when they’re asked daft questions. Any other situation when someone has to speak or do whatever publicly and seem not really in their element or are not good at it. And movies… ugh…
Your turn. 🙂