So, here are some visual and verbal clues to help us show embarrassment in our writing. The following is a combination of information I found at these sites:
The Bookshelf Muse
Let's break it down.
EmbarrassPart of Speech: verb
Definition: cause mental discomfort
Synonyms: abash, agitate, annoy, bewilder, bother, bug, catch one short, chagrin, confuse, discombobulate, discomfit, discompose, disconcert, discountenance, distract, distress, disturb, dumbfound, faze, fluster, give a bad time, give a hard time, hang up, irk, let down*, make a monkey of, mortify, nonplus, perplex, perturb, plague, put in a hole, put in a spot, put on the spot, put out of countenance, puzzle, rattle, shame, show up, stun, tease, throw, throw into a tizzy, upset
Antonyms: comfort, gladden, help, please
- An emotional state of intense discomfort with oneself, experienced upon having a socially unacceptable act or condition witnessed by or revealed to others.
- Usually some amount of loss of honor or dignity is involved.
- To become self-conscious.
- To place in doubt, perplexity, or difficulties
I also believe we experience embarrassment when we indulge in activity, comments, whatever that we personally feel is unacceptable--whether society accepts it or not. In my above example, kissing is quite acceptable between two people, but these particular characters have higher personal priorities that stand to be disrupted by becoming emotionally or physically attached to someone else. Thus their embarrassment at giving in and then enjoying it more than they think they should have. :)
- cheeks/forehead getting warm, flushing, burning, reddening
- desire to run away (fight or flight)
- lightheadedness, tingling in chest/stomach
- wish to hide
- anger at oneself, or another (misplacing blame to feel better about self)
Visual Signs: (See Bookshelf Muse for the full list)
- feet shuffling
- covering oneself: crossing arms, closing jacket, etc.
- pulling at collar
- wincing, ducking head
- fidgeting, squirming
- stuttering, stammering
- looking down/inability to meet someone's eyes
- shoving hands in pockets
- rapid walking with head down to get away
- hiding behind long hair