The world’s most awkward moment revealed


March 17, 2016
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Happy National Awkward Moments Day! Yes, it’s a real thing. The Internet says so.

And in honor of the day, we’re zooming in for a closer look at the topic. After all, an awkward moment is a type of stuck moment. And that got us wondering:

What separates the kind-of awkward from the truly awkward?

Of all the awkward moments people commonly encounter, what’s the most awkward?

Would it depend on a person’s age? gender? where they live?

Would there be a general consensus? What would it mean if there was, or wasn’t?

Is it actually possible to rank awkwardness?

To find out, we created a poll and asked anyone who wanted to answer which of 36 common but uncomfortable situations they found the most awkward.

Today, being National Awkward Moments Day, seems like the perfect time to reveal those results.

Here are the top 5 most awkward moments, ranked in order:

free guide: 40 ways to stamp out awkward moments

1. Someone asked you to review their work, but giving honest feedback might damage your relationship

2. You know your boss is wrong and you need to let him know

3 (tie). Someone keeps asking personal questions when it’s none of their business

3 (tie). Your officemate or roommate has bad hygiene or a habit that’s grossing you out

4. Someone blabs about something you told them in confidence

The poll also uncovered the similarities and differences in how we feel about awkwardness across different ages and genders and in different parts of the world.

We’ve assembled our key findings in the infographic below. In the spirit of Unstuck, and in celebration of National Awkward Moments Day, we invite you to take a look and embrace the awkward moments in life — they’re part of what makes us so wonderfully human.

Now you’re probably wondering, But where’s the advice? Unstuck loves to give advice! There’s plenty. We address every example from the poll, with tips to handle each one more gracefully, in our free downloadable guide: 40 Uncomfortable Moments and How to Handle Them.

VIEW AND DOWNLOAD THE FULL-SIZE INFOGRAPHIC: AN ANALYSIS OF AWKWARD

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Methodology: Respondents were asked to answer two questions in order to rank the most awkward moment: The first question presented nine categories of common awkward situations; the second question was based on the chosen category, presenting specific examples of common awkward moments (36 total situations across the 9 categories). The poll was communicated through the Unstuck Advice newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Results shown in the infographic are based on data provided by 342 respondents at the time of analysis. Demographic questions were optional; sample sizes were therefore slightly smaller for analyses based on age, gender, and location (302 for age, 301 for gender, 292 for location).

Sources: Map of World with Countries – Single Color and Map of United States of America with States – Single Color by FreeVectorMaps.com