Investigated – Second Degree Embarrassment

Posted June 22, 2015 by Emily in Investigated / 5 Comments


Urgh, second degree embarrassment. Second degree embarrassment, also sometimes refereed to as secondhand embarrassment, is when you feel embarrassed for someone other than yourself. I have mixed feelings about that. It’s as if feeling embarrassed for yourself wasn’t enough, you have to feel embarrassed for other people as well.

I get embarrassed really easily. And when I say really easily, I mean really easily. And for some reason, I happen to really emphatic and prone to second degree embarrassment to the point when PDA is kinda weird for me. Innocent PDA, like simple pecks on the check, too. You can kind see why second degree embarrassment might be a bit of a problem for me.

Second degree embarrassment is like a double edged sword. On one hand, I kind of appreciate it. To me, most of the time second degree embarrassment proves the author has done a good enough job bringing the characters to life to the point where I can feel embarrassed for them. Then again, I do experience second degree embarrassment and embarrassment in general pretttty easily…

That being said, I hate getting embarrassed and I hate, hate, hate feeling embarrassed. It’s just a really yucky feeling to me. It’s just so blah and urgh. Yuck! I hate it so much that sometimes I wind up skipping or skimming/scanning pages just because I can’t stand it. And to be honest, I have DNFed books before because I could not handle the second degree embarrassment. If I’m embarrassed so much for a character that I’m reading the book by peeking through my fingers, I’m probably not going to finish it.

How do you feel about second degree embarrassment?
Love it? Hate it? Don’t really care?
Are you like me in any way when it comes to second degree embarrassment?
(Please tell me I’m not alone).



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5 responses to “Investigated – Second Degree Embarrassment

  1. I get that way when people are embarrassing themselves on TV shows. Not for PDA, but simply looking dumb and either not knowing that they do, or realizing they do and continuing with what they’re doing, anyway. I have to cover my face or look away, because I just can’t handle it! LOL

  2. I really, really hate second hand embarrassment. Mine got so bad at one point, where if someone started doing something embarrassing on a tv show or in a book, I’d just stop watching or reading it, either full stop or for hours. I’ve kind of got it controlled now, that I’ll either carry on as quickly as possible or I’ll pause it for a few minutes and try to tell myself that it’s okay to be embarrassed.

    It’s still pretty awful!

  3. P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    I can’t really say I’ve ever experienced this before… at the most, I feel some empathy, but to be honest, I’m usually giggling or cringing at embarrassing moments, but nothing too strong. I also can be quite mellow in accepting the things I can’t change, and repressing them from memory :p

  4. I feel this so much. There are times when I’m reading a book or watching a movie and the character does something that just gets me all BLAH DON’T DO THAT. Latest example would be when I was watching The sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and literally everything Bee did I was like STOP. Embarrassment is definitely not a feeling I like either although I get embarrassed on a small scale multiple times every day that my tolerance for feeling true embarrassment is a lot greater now, if that makes sense. Like it takes a lot more for me to get truly 10/10 embarrassed.