Cringeworthy Defined




causing feelings of embarrassment or awkwardness.

“the movie was fair because the dialogue was quite cringeworthy”


The end of last night’s Oscars was cringeworthy. I didn’t subject myself to the show at all, but I had to watch the recap of the fiasco this morning on YouTube. What a gaffe!

There are many things we encounter in life that are cringeworthy. Reading my old poetry from high school would definitely be high on my list.

The time I asked a college boy(friend) to go to my sorority formal with me and he said no probably ranks high on that cringeworthy list.

And for sure, the time I couldn’t finish a speech on the topic of speech anxiety (ironically) in my Communication Process class during the spring semester of my sophomore year at Towson University left me almost incapacitated and mortified for the entire summer.

These aforementioned cringeworthy moments in my life never defined me. I write decent poetry and fiction now; I married someone who would never say no to something that mattered to me; and I taught public speaking for nine years. I got over my blunders that made me cringe just as you have done the same (or indeed, have the power to do the same). Remember: they don’t define you.

But do you know what those cringeworthy moments give us?

Great stories.

Everything that happens to you–good or bad–has the potential to help someone else by sharing your stories. I tell tons of personal stories in my college classroom. They are meant to be helpful. I also incorporate some of life’s experiences into my writing, as I did a lot with my second novel, Baseball Girl (which was loosely based on my life working for a Major League baseball team, the Orioles). It was therapeutic to translate reality into fiction to share a lesson.

These life experiences do eventually teach us something.

Let’s hope the Academy Awards learn from its mistake.

And let’s hope we learn from things that have made us cringe in the past and are able to find a way to help us move forward.


imageStephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of the newly released Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt. 
To visit Stephanie’s Amazon Author page and see her books, click here.



Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: