There are situations where secondhand embarrassment is so intense, it feels worse than if it happened to you.
While being able to watch a humiliating moment play out in all its painstaking awkwardness can be funny, empathy and discomfort sometimes overcome the comedy to create enormous cringe.
1. From snekfer2:
Had an interviewer come into our office for an important role, and she warned us that morning that she had been sprayed by a skunk the previous week so she might "have a teensy bit of the odour lingering."
Well we got in the interview room with her and it wasn't "teensy." We were wincing, coughing, and she looks mortified saying "oh, oh god, it's really that bad? I've taken 100 showers, oh no."
Super awkward interview.
This one girl in my class was giving a presentation on the ingenue (spelling?) in musical theater and she clearly hadn’t prepared sufficiently. She spent the whole 15 minutes talking about how, in real life, she was an ingenue, and she divulged way too much personal information- the guy she was into, that one of the girls (in the class!!!) made a pass at her (which I don’t believe was actually true), the fella she fell in love with on her year abroad whom she cheated on and abandoned in Bulgaria (not the country they were both studying in) to fly home without saying a word.