Clumsiness is typically defined as having poor coordination, movements, or actions. In less medical terms, this means you walk into things, trip over, or drop things often. Some people are just naturally clumsy while others will never be.
When you are a clumsy person, you might feel like you’re in a world of your own that your more coordinated friends just don’t understand. It is common to feel fearful when put in charge of activities that involve taking careful action, such as carrying something precious.
Feeling embarrassed is sort of second nature to a clumsy person, and perhaps you’re fortunate enough to laugh it off sometimes, but clumsiness is also closely linked with anxiety and stress.
Stress can be a cause of clumsiness, due to poor muscle function when the body is in flight or flight. Clumsiness can also be a cause of stress, due to the anxiety that you will embarrass yourself. It’s a cycle that can feel lonely, but you’re not alone.
Things Only a Clumsy Person Will Understand
1. You’re Usually Covered in Bruises
Clumsy people are regularly getting into accidents that can do some unfortunate damage to the body. Walking into things and tripping over are inevitable ways to hurt yourself and end up with some nasty bruises.
Sometimes, you might not even remember where a bruise or bump came from because you’re just so used to hurting yourself. Unfortunately, these injuries almost always look worse than the accident that caused them, resulting in some funny looks from strangers who notice your wounds.
As a clumsy person, you might also notice you always have scrapes and cuts that need patching on the go – such as uncomfortable paper cuts or scratches from branches you stumbled into. For this reason, you probably have a great first aid kit that you take great pride in.
2. You Get Given Clumsy-Related Gifts
Your loved ones know what you’re like and they love you for it, but that doesn’t stop them from poking a little fun at you in the form of clumsy-related gifts. If you’re a clumsy person, you might find yourself being the recipient of odd first aid gifts, such as kits or fun bandages.
If you slip on hardwood floors, you’ve probably received grippy socks. If you lose things often, you might have been given a chain for your glasses or wallet or a tracker for your keys and phone.
3. Your Friends and Family Don’t Acknowledge Your Accidents Anymore
It’s not that your friends and family don’t care for your well-being, it’s just that they understand that you’re a clumsy person and accidents are going to happen.
When you trip or bump into things, you might notice that they’ve stopped being so concerned. You, and your loved ones, will have come to realize that you’re usually okay, often walking away with just bruised legs and a bruised ego.
That’s not to say they wouldn’t be worried if you were genuinely hurt, but they’ve seen you fall enough times now that they know the likelihood is small.
4. Wearing White Isn’t an Option
Some people just look beautiful and angelic in a white outfit. It goes will all colors, makes your skin look sun-kissed, and gives an overall high fashion angelic feel. It is also the clumsy person’s worst nightmare. White clothes are an accident waiting to happen.
Spilling your drinks and dropping food down your front feels even more inevitable when wearing white. With the added danger of tripping in mud or bumping into a dusty wall, white is just too risky to be worth it.
5. Strangers Think You’re Drunk
Have you ever been out and about in public and felt strangers giving you concerned or judgemental looks? That’s probably because most people expect someone who stumbles around and trips over invisible objects to be drunk.
A clumsy person can be stone-cold sober and still have embarrassing accidents that would typically only happen to someone who was completely intoxicated.
You’ll probably find that these odd looks are worse if you trip or bump your head while getting into your car. Bartenders might refuse to serve you because you already seem drunk. After all, you tripped over a stool trying to place your order.
6. Your Friends and Family Expect You to Have an Accident
It can feel a little hurtful when your friends and family seem to just expect you to have an accident, just because you’re a clumsy person.
We understand that they’re just trying to protect us, but it can feel like being treated like a child. We don’t always want to hear “be careful” every time we go to carry something heavy.
Getting a warning every time you’re close to something fragile, like sitting next to your friend’s 3000-piece Lego build (just me?), can hurt. You might be clumsy, but you know when to be extra careful.
7. Your Friends and Family Won’t Let You Do Certain Things Yourself
Similarly, those friends and family members might skip giving warnings and jump straight to taking over jobs you were doing yourself instead.
Have you ever found yourself about to carry drinks back to your table or a precious item to the checkout only for the person you’re with to say “let me do that”?
Often this comes disguised as kindness, just a helpful gesture, but it is often because they know you’re a clumsy person and they fear the worst. To save the possibility of dropping what you’re carrying or hurting yourself, they intervene and take away the chance.
8. You’re Not Easily Embarrassed Anymore
Once you’ve fallen hard in front of a crowd of people or dropped a tray full of food in the middle of your cafeteria, these accidents start to affect you less and less.
Instead of desperately wanting to crawl away and hide after an incident, you’ve probably learned the signature clumsy person move, which is to laugh with the crowd. When you’ve done it enough times, even stumbling in front of people you’re trying to impress stops being a problem.
When at first you might have replayed every accident over and over in your head before bed, you now sleep soundly knowing it’s just who you are and it’s not worth getting upset over.
9. All of Your Things Are a Little Broken
Dropping things is a natural part of being a clumsy person. Sometimes, those things might never be coming back after a fall, but most can be salvaged in some way.
You might have even gotten really good at arts and crafts as a way of always being able to repair any damage done. Your phone screen is probably scratched, if not cracked, but you’ve gotten so used to broken phones you don’t even notice anymore.
You might be a whizz at getting stains out of clothes or repurposing the ones that can’t be fixed, but you certainly aren’t throwing away torn or stained clothes anymore because you would have nothing left!
10. Certain Places Are No-Go Zones
All clumsy people know that there are certain places you just can’t go. Antique stores with fragile items piled high are just not an option.
At times, being clumsy can make you feel quite literally like a bull in a China shop. You might avoid shops that are crowded or small as a way of removing the risk that you’ll stumble into a shelf.
As a clumsy person, you might also avoid restaurants that use buffets. The sheer thought of having a carry a packed tray back to your table, weaving past other people and chairs pushed out into the middle of the pathways, brings on a cold sweat.
It feels almost inevitable that things could go wrong there, so you might avoid it altogether.
11. You Forget Other People Are Better Coordinated
Do you ever find yourself wondering how experienced waiters and waitresses manage to weave in and out of tables with stacks of plates and glasses balanced on their arms?
Innately clumsy people might find it hard to believe that people can be that coordinated without being a superhero – but they exist.
You might even find yourself blown away by smaller achievements, like carrying a vase up a flight of stairs or navigating a woodland without tripping over tree roots.
We often ask our friends, “aren’t you worried about carrying that?” when transporting a table’s worth of mugs across the room at a coffee shop and are met with blank stares. It turns out, not everyone is quite as clumsy.
12. You Never Touch Anything in Certain Stores
Have you ever been in a shop, seen an item you liked but needed to get a version further back on the shelf? This might be in a food shop where you’re searching for a longer expiry date, or on a clothes rack hunting for your size.
How often have you accidentally swept all the items you don’t want off that shelf, then waited for the ground to swallow you whole?
Clumsy people swear by one rule, and that is to never touch anything unless you really have to. Unless you’re in a soft pillow shop, you probably avoid touching or moving items in stores for fear that you’ll drop them.
Usually, from the moment you walk into a store, you can identify all the areas where you could get in trouble.
If you’re an experienced clumsy person, you may have even mastered the arms tuck – a move where you keep your hands under your armpits and your elbows glued to your sides to minimize the risk.
Being clumsy is not a curse
Being clumsy can sometimes feel like a curse has been put on you. While everyone else seems to glide around like a swan, you often feel like a baby giraffe just learning how to walk. In reality, though, it’s not so bad.
So, you might have a few extra bruises along the way, but you’ve also learned to laugh at yourself. Not taking yourself so seriously is a great, healthy thing to be able to do and so many people are jealous of that ability.
It may have been literally painful to get there, but clumsy people have a natural sense of self-acceptance that some would do anything for.