Cringeworthy explores the compelling psychology of awkwardness, and explains why learning to accept your awkward moments can be a social advantage.
Have you ever said goodbye to someone, only to discover that you're both walking in the same direction? Or had your next thought fly out of your brain in the middle of a presentation? Or accidentally liked an old photo on someone's Instagram or Facebook, thus revealing yourself to be a creepy social media stalker?
Melissa Dahl, New York magazine's "Science of Us" editor, has experienced all of those awkward situations, and many more. Now she offers a thoughtful, original take on what it really means to feel awkward. She invites you to follow her into all sorts of mortifying moments, drawing on personal experience and in-depth psychological research to answer questions you've probably pondered at some point, such as:
- Why are situations without clear rules most likely to turn awkward?
- Are people really judging us as harshly as we think they are?
- Does anyone ever truly outgrow their awkward teenage self?
If you can learn to tolerate life's most awkward situations -- networking, difficult conversations, hearing the sound of your own terrible voice -- your awkwardness can be a secret weapon to making better, more memorable impressions. When everyone else is pretending to have it under control, you can be a little braver and grow a little bigger.
About the Author
Melissa Dahl is a senior editor for New York's The Cut
, where she covers health and psychology. In 2014, she co-founded NYMag's popular social science site Science of Us. Her work has appeared in Elle, Parents
and Today. Cringeworthy
is her first book.
“ A stunningly captivating, clever, and comical look at why social discomfort haunts us long beyond our teenage years. This book didn't just help me make sense of my most awkward moments. It liberated me from feeling embarrassed by them. Well, most of them. ”
Adam Grant Author of Give and Take and Originals
“ Melissa Dahl provides a fascinating (and often hilarious) examination of the underdiscussed feeling of awkwardness. Her practical, penetrating insights reveal that understanding what's 'cringeworthy' can help us understand ourselves better--and create happier lives. ”
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project
“ In this deeply researched and frequently hilarious book, Melissa Dahl shows that our capacity for cringing with embarrassment—at our own ineptness or other people's—is no mere psychological oddity. Her surprisingly uplifting message: through understanding awkwardness, we can learn to find more joy in the fundamental absurdity of being human. ”
Oliver Burkeman, Author of the Antidote
“ For anyone who's ever felt awkward in a social situation (so, all of us), Melissa Dahl's Cringeworthy is required reading. Dahl offers a thoughtful, original take on what it really means to feel awkward and how to handle them. A way to socialise better, without embarrassment? Sign us up. ”
“ This lively study explains how embracing embarrassing conversations or exposing situations can improve your life. Dahl is exceptionally good at describing emotions and the visceral physical sensations that often accompany them ... pertinent and penetrating. ”
Katy Guest, The Guardian
Cringeworthy is a scientific exploration of a specific human quirk in the vein of Mary Roach or Malcolm Gladwell, offering sharp insights into what we mean when we call ourselves “awkward”. Dahl writes with compassion and understanding. ”