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Dublin: 15 °C Saturday 11 July, 2020

Poll: Do you know the hell of second-hand embarrassment?

*Immediately looks away.*

NOT TO BE dramatic about it or anything, but I suffer quite acutely from second-hand embarrassment. But listen, don’t worry, no cards or flowers are necessary.

jlaw fall Source: YouTube/Oscars

This affliction is why I cannot watch hidden camera shows, and why I have made straight to the bar and buried my head in my phone while stand-up comedians have died on their arse.

This is also why I instantly turn away when someone does something vaguely humiliating, or why I prepare to turn away if I even sense that something vaguely humiliating is about to occur.

And it’s definitely why I have been known to avert my gaze when people accept accolades on-stage in fear that the hand-over might be anything less than seamless.

Indeed, Jennifer Lawrence’s fall at the Academy Awards in 2013 taught me I should probably start averting my gaze from the minute the winner rises from their seat.

Considering the fact I willingly broadcast all of my own most embarrassing moments – of which there are countless – to anyone who’ll listen, I seriously struggle when I see anyone else embarrassing themselves.

But what about you? Is second-hand embarrassment something you’re all too familiar with?

Poll Results:

I literally get it all the time, and find characters like Borat absolutely agonising. (833)
I sometimes get it, but it has to be an absolute nightmare of a situation for it happen. (815)
No! Let them mortify themselves; it's not my problem. (269)

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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