The Science of Awkwardness

  • Published: 20 March 2015
  • awkward.........
    Sources and extra links below!
    me on twitter:
    me on instagram:
    music by

    Embarrassment and prosociality:

    Empathetic Embarrassment:

    Cringe subreddit:

    awkward hug gifs:


    The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:

    The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows (on YouTube):

    “Why Are We Morbidly Curious?” (related Vsauce video):

    social rejection and physical pain:

    Social awkwardness and genetics:

    Psychology experiments that test the breaking of social norms are called “breaching experiments”:

    Stage Fright:


    Oxytocin and fear/anxiety:

    negativity bias:

    more negative emotions than positive:

    Eleanor Roosevelt quote:

    “in you 20s and 30s…” quote:

    The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:

    The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows (on YouTube):

    “sonder” gif:
  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 17 309

  • Balkaran Singh
    Balkaran Singh  7 hours back

    It SHOULD be illegal to chew with your mouth open.

    • i want cirno in a blender

      What is awkwardness and *who is the main character of the universe?*

      • Rafael Lopes
        Rafael Lopes  12 hours back

        If you want to know what true empathy looks like, grab a man and show him a picture of any male animal being kicked in the balls

        • Pokepunk.
          Pokepunk.  17 hours back

          my new mindset is NOTHING matters. and even if it does, nobody gives a SINGLE fuck. it actually kinda helps thinking like this

          • Rolf Roffelo
            Rolf Roffelo  1 days back

            may I know your graphics settings?

            • Ashley Colvin
              Ashley Colvin  1 days back

              Great vid!

              • Firebird Don
                Firebird Don  1 days back

                I'm autistic so this is my life :D

                • Joshua Henderson
                  Joshua Henderson  2 days back

                  "These symptoms don't alleviate awkwardness ... they comPOUND it!" You crack me up.

                  • Joshua Henderson
                    Joshua Henderson  2 days back

                    He tore off a LOT of that cardboard for actions we "agree NOT to do, lest the authorities punish [us]" ... is there anything you want to tell us, Michael? ;-D

                    • A random boi that likes Trailmakers

                      Waiter: Enjoy your food
                      Me: *You too*

                      • JoshK
                        JoshK  2 days back

                        Huh. I've probably watched this video a few times now (it is over 4 years old), but I think It's exactly what I needed to hear today.
                        Thank you Michael.

                        • abdulaziz zatini
                          abdulaziz zatini  3 days back

                          Or are they

                          • yunus
                            yunus  3 days back

                            Micheal: What is awkwardness and who is the main character of the universe?

                            • The Pixel Generator
                              The Pixel Generator  4 days back

                              I think a good way to think of sonder, is when a few hundred people die on the TV, most of us think "that's terrible" but when you stop to think about it, each person had a life as complex and deep as yours. In the 2004 tsunami, 230,000 people died. at the time there were about 6.4 billion people in the world, so it doesn't seem all that much, but when you think about it, that's a lot! even if 100 people died because of an illness, Imagine if 100 people you were close to died, and then you will probably get perspective on how big numbers like these are. I don't want to speak for other people though, it might be just me.

                              • A F
                                A F  4 days back

                                I’m the kind of awkward person who would bite into a decorative apple 🍎 lol

                                • Venky Wank
                                  Venky Wank  4 days back

                                  THis guy has incredible narration skills

                                  • TJ Avagliano
                                    TJ Avagliano  5 days back

                                    The most awkward thing you can do is fuck up a hand shake with a black dude. 😂😂

                                    • SlightlySaltyTV
                                      SlightlySaltyTV  5 days back

                                      what is awkwardness? "well, you cant wear pants out of molten led"

                                      • Indi Enthusiast
                                        Indi Enthusiast  6 days back

                                        Lil vague in the end

                                        • MeliRDub Animates
                                          MeliRDub Animates  6 days back

                                          So pain and awkwardness are linked? Probably explains why I'm always in pain, haha-

                                          • Zazexter's Labyrinth
                                            Zazexter's Labyrinth  1 weeks back

                                            2:53 " most awkward for anyone "

                                            • Govinda Solanki Vlogs
                                              Govinda Solanki Vlogs  1 weeks back

                                              This is so awkward

                                              • Hgg Fhh
                                                Hgg Fhh  1 weeks back

                                                That clip of Joe 3:08 did not age well unless you are his political opponent.

                                                • Hgg Fhh
                                                  Hgg Fhh  1 weeks back

                                                  Was his fly down ?

                                                  • Awesome Random Toons
                                                    Awesome Random Toons  1 weeks back

                                                    You need to be a teacher

                                                    • Angelo Kadusale
                                                      Angelo Kadusale  1 weeks back

                                                      the reason why i found Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows!

                                                      • Cheyenne Wyoming
                                                        Cheyenne Wyoming  1 weeks back

                                                        I have a lot of empathy and I also get embarrassed very easily 🙃

                                                        • Rockstar Gamer
                                                          Rockstar Gamer  1 weeks back


                                                          • Justin Robertson
                                                            Justin Robertson  1 weeks back

                                                            Anyone else notice his zipper was down the whole time?

                                                            • The Boys
                                                              The Boys  1 weeks back

                                                              is that really how youtube looked just 4 years ago?... i

                                                              • Dylan Wilkerson
                                                                Dylan Wilkerson  2 weeks back

                                                                I think I felt enough awkwardness in highschool that im numb for the rest of my life

                                                                • Josh Yeet
                                                                  Josh Yeet  2 weeks back

                                                                  "losing friends"

                                                                  • warfstache bunny
                                                                    warfstache bunny  2 weeks back

                                                                    You know when someone doing a presentation says “I say something, and you say something”? You get so into the moment, when they make the motion to stop, or say that’s enough, they say something, and you think that it is still going on, and your the only one who repeats it?

                                                                    • Mr. Fahrenheit
                                                                      Mr. Fahrenheit  2 weeks back

                                                                      I'm watching this at a perfect moment when two other people are with me in one closed room, and the only person with a phone is me, so the rest are just looking around the room not talking to each other, I'm here distracted by my phone. 😂😂🤣

                                                                      • Mr. Fahrenheit
                                                                        Mr. Fahrenheit  2 weeks back

                                                                        Update: I coughed and I notice at the corner of my eye the two looking at me, I play an act and pretend to be completely distracted by my phone, now I'm just laughing because this is to funny 😂

                                                                    • Baylee Verzyde
                                                                      Baylee Verzyde  2 weeks back

                                                                      0:28 *exhale*

                                                                      • Thomas J
                                                                        Thomas J  2 weeks back

                                                                        In a way, feeling awkward is having respect to other people

                                                                        • Thomas J
                                                                          Thomas J  2 weeks back

                                                                          My whole life up until this point has just been a massive cringe compilation

                                                                          • Raw and Uncensored
                                                                            Raw and Uncensored  2 weeks back

                                                                            Maybe if I gave a shit about what others thought about me I would have friends and maybe a girlfriend.

                                                                            But then again I wouldn't be able to enjoy my awesomeness.

                                                                            • รc¡εภcε ɢεεк

                                                                              When someone bops their head at me, I just stare at them like they're speaking Chinese

                                                                              • a cats
                                                                                a cats  2 weeks back

                                                                                1:52 well about that

                                                                                • klfmc rjn
                                                                                  klfmc rjn  2 weeks back

                                                                                  It’s ok to be you!

                                                                                  • EmiEmin _
                                                                                    EmiEmin _  2 weeks back

                                                                                    Anxiety has left the chat

                                                                                    • Tom Willis
                                                                                      Tom Willis  2 weeks back

                                                                                      soo EEE is like 666 or kkk um btw kkk can go kill themselves for killing black people and being racist to black people plus dont hate comment me ok im part black so fudge you if you hate comment this

                                                                                      • KroolWorld
                                                                                        KroolWorld  2 weeks back

                                                                                        6:31 i cant tell if hes going to cum or shit.

                                                                                        • Jonathan Messer
                                                                                          Jonathan Messer  2 weeks back

                                                                                          let me tell you something awkwardness is like a terrorist attack on your emotion and on your brain it fucking destroys you not kidding

                                                                                          • Jonathan Messer
                                                                                            Jonathan Messer  2 weeks back

                                                                                            I always get stared at in public and idk why

                                                                                            • Make the World Beautiful

                                                                                              I am very E E E so i could hardly stand that intro

                                                                                              • Invisible Fan
                                                                                                Invisible Fan  2 weeks back

                                                                                                Mr. Vsauce, I’d like to thank you for getting me out of my rut with the final truth in this video: People don’t think about you as much as you think.

                                                                                                That’s really an inspiring and helpful thing to say to someone self conscious about the way they’re perceived by others.
                                                                                                So thanks, chief.