The real test of our manners comes when we are dealing with our most embarrassing moments. Here are a number of tricks to get you out of embarrassing scenarios.
You Forgot Someone’s Name
It is quite embarrassing to forget someone’s name, especially when they then greet you by your name. Don’t just carry on the conversation or skate by with a “heeeeeeyyyyy!”
If you find yourself in this scenario, it’s better to just fess up at hello. “Say something as simple as: I’m having one of those days, please tell me your name again,” or start with: “I know we met last week at the kids game”—this lets them know that you do remember them, it’s just their name has slipped your mind.
You Ruin A Surprise
Birthday party, baby shower, awesome anniversary trip meets your big mouth and now you have let the cat out of the bag and you feel bad about it. If there’s any way to attempt a quick recovery, go for it, but don’t lie—making up another ruse to cover your loose lips means you have to maintain the deception.
Instead, try to reintroduce a little question or mystery: ‘Oh, they haven’t mentioned a party to you, maybe it’s not happening or maybe I misunderstood.’ If the deed is done and there’s no way to shove the cat back in the bag, just simply accept responsibility and apologize.
In some situations, you may also want to call the host and let them know, but if the honouree would rather you not tell anybody, and says she’ll act duly surprised at the appropriate time, you can honour that request.
Sending An Email To The Wrong Person
Sending an email that was meant for your close colleague to your strict boss puts you in an alarming situation. While it’s a bad idea to rant and rave over email, especially at work: not only can it be sent incorrectly, it can also be forwarded.
But you did it anyway. Now you have to own up to it. Confront the situation as soon as you realize your mistake. Call your boss, explain the circumstances—that you were frustrated with a meeting, overwhelmed with extra work, whatever it may be—and that you were letting off steam.
Say you’re sorry and acknowledge you should have discussed your concerns directly with your boss. In general, it’s good practice to hit save, read and re-read any email before sending. And when you’re angry and need to vent, pick up the phone and call your friend.
You fart In An Enclosed or Public Space With People Around
Despite a valiant effort to keep it contained, you let one loose—but whether you take ownership depends on the situation. If it’s obvious you are the offender, a simple ‘pardon me’ is all you need to say: No one is interested in a lengthy explanation of what you had for lunch that afternoon.
However, if that unfortunate moment occurs in a group of people where the source is a little more nebulous, you might want to just let it linger. There’s no need to draw attention to an awkward or embarrassing situation if you don’t have to.